Ashley Kriel remembered 30 years after killing
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.