Ash­ley Kriel re­mem­bered 30 years af­ter killing

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - OKUHLE HLATI

IN HON­OUR of Ash­ley Kriel, an MK sol­dier who was shot dead by apartheid po­lice, mem­bers of the MK vet­er­ans, se­nior ANC mem­bers and fam­ily mem­bers had a wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mony at his gravesite in Mait­land, Cape Town, to mark 30 years since his death.

Kriel, then a young stu­dent ac­tivist from Bon­te­heuwel, was killed in 1987 in Hazen­dal, Athlone.

The 20-year-old Kriel had re­turned home af­ter re­ceiv­ing mil­i­tary train­ing in ex­ile.

Apartheid po­lice­man Jef­frey Ben­zien re­ceived amnesty at the Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion for his death.

“The cer­e­mony opened old wounds and brought back many mem­o­ries of my brother. He was still young and had not lived his life to the full. For the first time we have clo­sure. Peo­ple don’t un­der­stand why we are still cry­ing af­ter all this years. This is spe­cial and sig­nif­i­cant. He made an ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice for our free­dom and this shows that he is not for­got­ten,” said Michelle As­sure, Kriel’s sis­ter.

As­sure said Kriel’s fam­ily and friends never got the chance to pay their re­spects prop­erly as po­lice pres­ence was high, with some not al­lowed to at­tend the fu­neral.

“I can still re­call how chaotic it was – one po­lice­man came to us car­ry­ing a gun and said: ‘Maak klaar en be­grawe die vark gou’. He never got a dig­ni­fied fu­neral.”

MK chair­per­son Fu­manek­ile Booi de­scribed Kriel as “a noble and ded­i­cated man”.

Na­dine Cloete, a film di­rec­tor, who made the doc­u­men­tary Ac­tion Kom­man­dant, about the life of Kriel, said speeches about him touched many, and those who didn’t know him got to hear about the brother, son and sol­dier.

“It was an hon­our to share the mo­ment and learn more about him, I just wish more young peo­ple were there, be­cause they need to know our he­roes.”

Cloete said the doc­u­men­tary about Kriel re­flected his sac­ri­fice and com­mem­o­rated his death. It showed how he was highly re­garded.

The screen­ing, meant to be af­ter the wreath-lay­ing, was post­poned due to an ANC me­dia con­fer­ence, which se­nior ANC mem­bers had to at­tend. The screen­ing was resched­uled for the end of the month, and public screen­ings will be held in var­i­ous ar­eas for free in the next few days.

Booi said MK had ap­proached Hu­man Set­tle­ments Min­is­ter Lindiwe Sisulu and Arts and Cul­ture Min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa about the Hazen­dal house where Kriel was killed to be turned into a her­itage site, and they showed a will­ing­ness to do that.


IN ME­MO­RIAM: Michelle As­sure and oth­ers pay trib­ute to Ash­ley Kriel at his grave as they com­mem­o­rate the 30th an­niver­sary of his death.

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