Daveyton residents join hands to remember fallen Amabutho heroes

Daveyton residents yesterday came in their numbers to pay tribute to members of the slain self-defence unit – Amabutho – who 32 years ago were mowed down by the apartheid police, soldiers, and allegedly IFP-aligned hostel residents.

The commemoration service took place at Timken Hall, Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, near the area where the massacre took place.

The number of people who died on the day is officially placed at 13, but according to the event organisers more people who were injured, and who fled the scene of the massacre, are known to have died.

“We only have the official number, but more people died who have not been accounted for, and the numbers of the dead could easily run into 30s or more,” the event spokesperson Siphiwe Khalimashe said.

Speaker after speaker expressed gratitude for the bravery of Amabutho in “repelling the enemy camp bent on exterminating our people”.

“We extended an invitation to all Daveyton residents, including our former political enemies, the IFP, so that we can demonstrate to the world that it is possible to forgive, and to learn to work together harmoniously with those we do not agree with politically.”

Former MMC for human settlement at Ekurhuleni Aubrey Nxumalo said: “This day marks 32 years since our comrades and defenders of our community were killed by reactionary forces as an attempt to stop the revolution. We have come to honour the liberation heritage route … freedom was not free. We remember with fond memories those who laid down their lives, protecting their communities, so we may have freedom.”

Other dignitaries included former general secretary of the National Council of Trade Unions Mahlomola Skhosana and veteran civic leader James Ngubo.

The South African National Civic Organisation and the SA Communist were also represented.

“We want to implore the local government to erect in this place a heritage site and a memorial stone with their names inscribed on it. The commemoration is about remembering the fallen warriors, most of whom were hostel dwellers and migrants, who took cudgels when they saw innocent members of the communities terrorised by those on the side of injustice.”

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