Of the revolution
know, it’s going to get to the point that I am going to rape you. And it’s going to be very easy to rape you … and I know there is no way that you are going to stand in front of all these people and say I raped you.”
Mtintso also spoke about how men in leadership positions would be in love with someone’s wife and would label the husband a mdlwembe (enemy agent). They even influenced the wife to divorce the husband because of the label.
In his response to the TRC, General Andrew Masondo’s dismissive reaction to these allegations of rape and sexual exploitation could be viewed as a tacit condonation. “In Angola, at one time there were 22 women in a group of more than 1 000 people,” he said.
“There was an allegation that commanders were misusing women. The law of supply and demand must have created some problems.”
That there was no apology for the rape allegations, but instead a cavalier response from Masondo, was harshly criticised by then TRC commissioner Hlengiwe Mkhize, who said that “the submission fail(ed) women”. She was right. There were many MK women who lost their lives in action, some of whom were very young. In Cape Town in 1989, Coline Williams, a 22-year-old activist from Bonteheuwel in Cape Town, and Robert Waterwitch – both members of the Ashley Kriel MK unit – were blown up after a defective limpet mine they planned to place at the Athlone Magistrates’ Court detonated prematurely. In 1988, Makhosi Nyoka, Lindiwe Mthembu and Nontsikelelo Cotoza were driving to Piet Retief in Mpumalanga, on a reconnaissance mission with Lenny Naidoo, when they were ambushed by Eugene de Kock and mowed down while sitting in their Toyota Corolla.
Both these incidents resulted from tip-offs to security police from informants within MK.
With many lives lost, and even more people emotionally and psychologically damaged, are there any regrets by the women who chose a path of violence to end apartheid? Neither Mohale nor Richer regret joining the armed struggle.
Richer says: “I do not regret being involved in the armed struggle. There are small decisions I would have done differently. I made a conscious choice that I was willing to kill and be killed. I did not kill anyone, but I might have been instrumental in giving someone else the tools to do it. I would not feel bad about killing someone like Craig Williamson, who had done immense harm to courageous, good people in the struggle and was responsible for the deaths of many.”
Mohale, too, has no regrets. Does she believe she achieved the dream she almost sacrificed her life and sanity for?
“Not 100%. 45%. There are still a lot of imbalances as far as education is concerned. You know, money is the root of all evil. We are politically free. We should be economically free and socially free. But that is a challenge. Unfortunately, things are happening the way we never planned.”
Mohale is still involved in her ANC branch, which she says is wracked by factionalism. She calls for a renewal of the values the ANC initially stood for. “Should we fight again for things to be done, or how should we do it?
“How do we break the chain? We have a challenge. This pie is sufficient for all of us. Can’t we share, piece by piece for everyone, and have a healthy country?”