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Nokuthula Simelane: Will the family ever know what happened to her?

18 August 2020 2:50 PM

#UnResolved investigates the disappearance of Umkhonto we Sizwe operative Nokuthula Simelane, who was abducted 35 years ago.

In this episode of UnResolved, Karyn Maughan investigates the abduction of Nokuthula Simelane by the apartheid Security Branch in 1983.

Listen to Azania's chat with Karyn Maughan below:

I pray that maybe one day before I die I will know what happened to Nokuthula.

Ernestina Simelane, Mother - Nokuthula Simelane

This is the prayer of the mother of former Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) operative Nokuthula Simelane, who disappeared 35 years ago.

Simelane was 23 years old when she was abducted by the Special Branch of the apartheid police in September 1983.

In 2019, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria declared Simelane dead after futile efforts by the family to find her.

I am sick, I might die without knowing whether she really died or maybe she is somewhere where I cannot know.

Ernestina Simelane, Mother - Nokuthula Simelane

Nokuthula Simelane joined MK and became an activist in Swaziland for the African National Congress (ANC).

She worked as a courier server for the MK and her parents suspected that she was doing underground work for the ANC.

Simelane travelled from Swaziland to meet with Special Branch police officer Norman Khoza at Carlton Centre in Johannesburg and she did not return home from that encounter.

It is constant pain and anguish that never ends not knowing what happened to her.

Thembi Nkadimeng, Sister - Nokuthula Simelane

Simelane's mother says her daughter joined MK to fight for liberation.

She was fond of people and she could not just sit and watch people suffer.

Thembi Nkadimeng, Sister - Nokuthula Simelane

Her family not knowing that Simelane had been abducted, travelled to Swaziland for her graduation from the University of Swaziland only for her brother to receive the certificate on behalf of Nokuthula.

I pray every day that before I die at least I must know. It is a very painful thing, I don't wish it on any parent. It is hard.

Ernestina Simelane, Mother - Nokuthula Simelane

In my growing up my mother has been a very sad person.

Thembi Nkadimeng, Sister - Nokuthula Simelane

My mother refuses to let go of all her clothes, she says you do not do that to a human being, you only do that to a person who is no more and conduct a ritual.

Thembi Nkadimeng, Sister - Nokuthula Simelane

Nokuthula Simelane was arrested and transported to Norwood where she was tortured by various policemen.

Later she was taken to Vlakplaas where she was tortured until she died.

Listen to The Unresolved podcast series here, then subscribe to receive updates.


18 August 2020 2:50 PM

More from UNRESOLVED - unsolved Apartheid-era mysteries, exclusive to 702

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