The Rivonia Trialists today

first_imgBob Hepple still lives in England. Ahmed Kathrada is now retired.(Images: Lucille Davie)MEDIA CONTACTS • Sello HatangCEO and spokespersonNelson Mandela Centre of Memory+27 11 547 5600.RELATED ARTICLES• Madiba’s legacy is forever• Mandela posters show world’s respect• Liliesleaf remembered 50 years on• From Liliesleaf to Robben Island• Travelling the Mandela RouteLucille DavieHe was Accused No 1, and he was the last man to be released from jail. Nelson Mandela stood accused with 10 others in the Rivonia Trial in 1964, all on trial for sabotage, which carried the death penalty.But they didn’t go to the gallows. Instead, eight men got life imprisonment, serving from 22 to 27 years. At the trial, Judge Quartus de Wet said: “I have decided not to impose the supreme penalty, which would usually be death for such a crime. But consistent with my duty, that is the only leniency which I can show. The sentence in the case of all the accused will be one of life imprisonment…”Mandela’s fellow accused were Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Raymond Mhlaba, Walter Sisulu, Elias Motsoaledi, Govan Mbeki, James Kantor, Lionel “Rusty” Bernstein, and Bob Hepple.Bernstein and Kantor were acquitted in late 1963, and charges against Hepple were withdrawn, after which he fled to England, where he still lives.But where are the trialists now?Nelson MandelaMandela became South Africa’s first democratic president in 1994, stepping down in 1999. He joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943, and was one of the group which formed the ANC Youth League in 1944. He was the Transvaal president and national volunteer-in-chief of the 1952 Defiance Campaign. He was arrested and tried for treason with 156 others in 1956, and acquitted in 1961. He was detained under the state of emergency in 1960, and on his release, went underground. He co-founded Mkhonto we Sizwe (MK, Spear of the Nation), the ANC’s military division, and was its first commander-in-chief, leaving the country for five months in 1962 for military training. After 17 months on the run Mandela was arrested in August 1962 for leaving South Africa without a passport, and for inciting workers to strike. He was serving five years’ imprisonment on Robben Island for these crimes, when he was charged with sabotage, along with those arrested at Liliesleaf. He was the last Rivonia trialist to be released from prison, on 11 February 1990. He celebrated his 95th birthday in hospital on 18 July 2013, being treated for a recurring lung infection.Ahmed KathradaKathrada or Kathy, Accused No 5, was released in 1989 and became a member of parliament in 1994, and served as adviser to Mandela during his tenure as president. He joined the Young Communist League at the age of 12, and was a member of the South African Communist Party (SACP) central committee. After frequent bannings, arrests and house arrests, he went underground in April 1963, but was arrested at Liliesleaf in July of that year. While imprisoned on Robben Island he obtained four degrees. After 1994 he was appointed as parliamentary counsellor to President Mandela. From 1997 to 2006 he was chairman of the Robben Island Council. He has written three books and received many awards. He is now retired and consults to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.Andrew MlangeniAccused No 10, Mlangeni was released in 1989 and became a member of Parliament, a position he still holds. He was a trade unionist and was active in the bus boycott and strike in 1955. He joined the ANC Youth League in 1951, and was a member of the SACP and MK. He was sent for military training in 1962, and was arrested on his return in 1963. Mlangeni received the ANC’s Isitwalandwe Award in 1992 for his contribution to the liberation struggle.Raymond MhlabaA former commander-in-chief of MK, Mhlaba was Accused No 7. He was released from Pollsmoor Prison in 1989 and in 1991 was elected to the ANC national executive and the SACP central committee, becoming national party chairman in 1995. In 1994 he became premier of the Eastern Cape and served in this role until 1997. He was then appointed high commissioner to Uganda and Rwanda, retiring in 2001. In 2003 he had a stroke and in 2004 was diagnosed with liver cancer. He died in 2005 in Port Elizabeth. Mhlaba received the ANC’s Isitwalandwe Award in 1992 for his contribution to the liberation struggle, and the Moses Kotane Award in 2002 for his contribution to the SACP.Walter SisuluWalter Sisulu, Mandela’s great friend, was Accused No 2. He was the former secretary-general of the ANC, and very influential in the movement. He moved back into his small four-roomed house in Soweto after his release in 1989, at the age of 77. He took up ANC duties but after democratic elections in 1994 retired from politics. Sisulu and his wife Albertina moved into the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, because he needed to be closer to his doctors, his health now failing. In May 2003 he died peacefully in Albertina’s arms at his home, at the age of 90.Denis GoldbergAccused No 3, Goldberg spent 22 years in Pretoria Central, isolated from his fellow Rivonia trialists because white prisoners weren’t sent to Robben Island. In 1985 the government offered to release any political prisoner who renounced armed struggle. Goldberg accepted, and after visiting his daughter briefly in Israel, moved to England, where he represented the ANC at the UN’s Anti-Apartheid Committee. He founded Community HEART in 1995 to help poor black South Africans overcome the legacy left by apartheid. Goldberg returned to South Africa in 2002 and became a member of Parliament. He lives in Cape Town, and after serving for several years as a special adviser to the ministry of water affairs and forestry, has now retired.Elias MotsoalediMotsoaledi was Accused No 9. He was a trade unionist and a member of the Council of Non-European Trade Unions. He was banned after the 1952 Defiance Campaign and helped establish the South African Congress of Trade Unions in 1955. He was imprisoned for four months during the 1960 state of emergency and detained under the 90-day detention laws of 1963. He was released from Robben Island in 1989, and elected to the ANC’s National Executive Committee on his release. Motsoaledi He was awarded the ANC’s Isitwalandwe Award in 1992 for his contribution to the liberation struggle. He died in 1994.Govan MbekiThe father of former president Thabo Mbeki, and Accused No 4, Mbeki was a teacher, trade union organiser, journalist and writer. He joined the ANC in 1935 and the SACP in 1953. He was a member of the SACP central committee, the ANC national executive committee and the MK high command. He went underground in November 1962 and was arrested at Liliesleaf. After his release from Robben Island in 1987, he was elected deputy president of the Senate, the precursor of the National Council of the Provinces, the country’s second parliament. Mbeki was also a recipient of the Isithwalandwe award. He wrote several books: South Africa: The Peasants’ Revolt, The Struggle for Liberation in South Africa and Sunset at Midday. He died in 2001 in Port Elizabeth.Bob HeppleCharges were dropped against Hepple, Accused No 11, and he was released. The prosecution was hoping he would turn state witness, but he immediately fled to England with his wife, to be joined there by his parents with his two young children. He went on to have a long and distinguished legal career in that country – he is an international expert and activist in labour law, equality and human rights; emeritus master of Clare College and emeritus professor of law at the University of Cambridge in England; and has received several awards and honours, including a knighthood in 2004. He has just published a book, titled Young man with a Red Tie: a memoir of Mandela and the Failed Revolution 1960-1963. It recounts his escape to avoid testifying against the Rivonia trialists.Rusty BernsteinRusty Bernstein, Accused No 6, was acquitted in the Rivonia Trial, but arrested again soon after and released on bail. He fled the country and lived with his wife Hilda and family in England, working as an architect until he died in June 2002. Bernstein remained a member of the ANC until his death at the age of 82. He joined the Communist Party in 1938, and was a founder member of the South African Congress of Democrats. He was the principal drafter of the 1955 Freedom Charter. After 1994 he made several trips to South Africa but continued to live just outside Oxford in England. In 1999 he published his autobiography, Memory against Forgetting.James KantorAccused No 8 was Kantor, a lawyer but not a member of the ANC or MK. He was one of the trialists, possibly because his brother-in-law and business partner was Harold Wolpe, who had been arrested at Liliesleaf, and was a member of the ANC and the SACP. When Kantor was acquitted at the trial, he fled the country, and died in London in 1974, at the age of 47.Wolpe escaped from the Marshall Square Police Station, together with Goldreich and Mosie Moola and Abdulhay Jassat, and after hiding out in Johannesburg for two months, Wolpe and Goldreich escaped across the border, and flew to London. Goldreich moved to Israel in 1964, where he died in 2011. Wolpe lived with his family for 27 years in London, where he became an academic. He remained an active member of the ANC and the SACP. In 1991 he and his wife and son returned to South Africa, settling in Cape Town, leaving their two daughters in Europe. He died in 1996 at the age of 70.Mosie Moola and Abdulhay Jassat made their way to India after their release, but ended up back in South Africa. Moola served as ambassador in various embassies, and is now based in Johannesburg. He works in the department of foreign affairs. Jassat (who still suffers from epilepsy as a result of his torture) was in exile for 32 years. He is now a businessman in Johannesburg.last_img read more

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It Isn’t Supposed to Be Easy

first_imgIf reaching your goals were easy, you wouldn’t appreciate the struggle.If it were easy to reach your goals, there would be no reason to chase them. They wouldn’t be goals; they’d just be something that you do.If it were easy to accomplish something worthwhile, then everyone would be doing the same. There wouldn’t be anything special about the accomplishment.The fact that your goals stretch you, that they force you out of your comfort zone, that makes them worth experiencing. It’s these experiences that cause you to grow, to exceed your current boundaries and limits and become something more.Even when you fail to reach your goal, you get the satisfaction of the struggle. You get to push against the way things are. You’re reminded that you are acting on the world; it’s not acting on you. Accomplishing the goal isn’t the thing anyway; it’s what you become through the struggle. It’s the rough and tumble parts when you feel like you are making no progress where you grow.Remember, the struggle is not supposed to be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is.last_img read more

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Don’t forget Pragya’s ordeal in jail, says senior RSS leader

first_imgDefending Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur for her remarks on slain Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad chief Hemant Karkare ahead of the Lok Sabha election, senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar on Wednesday said one should not forget her ordeal in custody at the hands of the Congress government at the Centre then.“No one denies that Mr. Karkare is a martyr,” said Mr. Kumar, national executive member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. “But, don’t forget the injustice perpetrated on Ms. Thakur by the Congress as part of a larger conspiracy.”Malegaon blast accused Ms. Thakur in April had said the death of Mr. Karkare in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks was a result of her curse after being treated “very badly” by him while in custody in the 2008 case. “Hemant Karkare falsely implicated me. He died of his karma. I told him, he will be destroyed. I told him his entire dynasty will be erased,” she had said. Speaking at a meeting of the RSS-backed Forum for Awareness of National Security in Bhopal, he said: “Don’t stoke sentiments of those who revere cows. Remember, what led to the mutiny of 1857 and eventually galvanised into the freedom movement. Playing with the sentiments of people could take the form of mass movements.”Stating that attacks on those indulging in cow slaughter were being singled out as lynchings when there more adverse forms of lynchings, he said: “Don’t forget the massacre in Jammu and Kashmir that led to the exodus of hundreds of people from there and the political mob lynchings of opposition workers by the Trinamool, the Congress and the Left in West Bengal and Kerala. Moreover, don’t forget those who raised slogans at universities to divide the country. Even the Supreme Court is delaying the Ram Mandir issue. Isn’t that lynching of democracy?” Mr. Kumar, however, added that those involved in any kind of lynching should be punished.‘Scrap Article 35A’Demanding that Article 35A of the Constitution be scrapped, he said that especially after the strikes following Pulwama and Uri attacks, at least 70% of the people believed that like the rest of the country was open to people from Jammu and Kashmir, even its door should open to them.last_img read more

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Government Steadfast With Plans To Improve Health Sector

first_imgThe Government remains steadfast with plans to effect significant changes to the country’s health care sector, as it strives to create a first world system, Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says.He notes that a balance between accessibility and optimal care must be the hallmark of Jamaica’s health care sector.The Minister was addressing residents of St. Catherine on July 9, during the eighth in a series of consultations on health financing, held on the grounds of the Spanish Town Hospital.“We believe that the provision of quality and affordable health care services and improvement in access can help us to achieve our national development objectives,” the Minister said.Among the changes to be made, he said, is the implementation of a referral system for persons seeking treatment in hospitals. Under this arrangement, individuals would be referred to the primary health system, such as clinics and health centres.The referral system is being established to reduce unnecessary costs at the secondary and tertiary level. In this vein, the Government is seeking to revitalise the primary health care system, which is considered the priority sector.As such, the Ministry of Health, since last year, started work on four regional Centres of Excellence at the primary care level. Dr. Ferguson noted that work is far advanced on three of these specialised facilities, which are located at the Isaac Barrant Centre in St. Thomas; the Santa Cruz Health Centre in St. Elizabeth; and Darliston Health Centre in Westmoreland.He informed that Government will be breaking ground “very soon” for an additional centre in Claremont, St. Ann. “These four Centres of Excellence will represent best practice in terms of primary health care in the country’s four regional health authorities,” the Minister said.Other initiatives to improve the country’s health care system, Dr. Ferguson said, involves “closing the gap” which now exists as it relates to a shortage of the necessary health care professionals in the public sector.He explained that while the Government aims to improve this aspect of the system, it must resort to the temporary recruitment of some health care professionals, including primary care nurses and doctors from Cuba.“Shortly we will be bringing in some dentists to help to close the gap. We will also be bringing in three pathologists very soon to help improve the turn-a-round time with respect to the examination of specimen and delivery of results from the National Public Health Lab. All of these are temporary arrangements, but must be done in the short run, if we are to alleviate the problems our people face,” Dr. Ferguson said.The Minister informed that within another month, there will be an additional 44 Cuban medical personnel in the public health sector including 29 nurses, eight doctors (including three pathologists), six dentists and one cytology technician.Additionally, the Ministry has also worked to upgrade and improve the services at more than 100 health centres across the island. Dr. Ferguson informed that this year, the Government completed work on 20 health centres at a cost of some $54.8 million.The Minister further pointed out that one of the Government’s main objectives is to find sustainable means of generating revenue to finance the public health sector.Dr. Ferguson noted that the ideal is for at about 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to be committed to health care. Jamaica currently commits approximately 4.7 per cent.He pointed out that whatever model of financing the Government adopts for the public health system, must be one that is not only sustainable, but also encourages a balance between access and quality care.“There is no point in saying we want to create access at the expense of quality,” the Minister emphasized.Dr. Ferguson noted that this is the main aim of the public consultations, which form part of Government’s efforts to review the no user fee policy, but also aim to look broadly at options to finance the public health sector.The Government has so far completed eight consultations, including talks with the Opposition Spokesman on Health, Dr. Ken Baugh, health groups and associations, staff of the Ministry of Health and other internal stakeholders and members of the public in all four Health Regions.According to the Minister, among the possible streams of revenue for the health sector is the provision of specialist services within the public system at a competitive cost.“Services such as plastic surgery, or going beyond the normal fillings and extractions, such as cosmetic dentistry, will be used as streams for those who can afford to pay,” he said.Other measures to be considered, according to the Government, include strengthening the billing mechanism to maximise revenue from payments by private insurance companies, addressing inefficiencies in drug procurement and distribution, and developing a mechanism to institute 24-hour per day service delivery.Dr. Ferguson pointed out that as part of plans to improve health financing in Jamaica, the Government will be introducing a Government of Jamaica (GOJ) Health Card on a phased basis.He noted that the introduction of the unique card will yield significant benefits through efficiencies in service delivery and overall patient care. The GOJ Health Card will be tied to the individual’s Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN). The Ministry, through the National Health Fund (NHF) will facilitate a simplified and on-going registration process and the card will facilitate better monitoring and identification.The card will also take into account private health insurance, so that instances where charges arise can be adequately and quickly covered, he said.“The GOJ card will, by a single swipe, identify persons who have health insurance, so we are not going to be depending on the honesty of patients or clients to tell us whether you have insurance or not,” the Minister stated. The card will also help hospital staff identify PATH beneficiaries, he informed.Another source of income for the public health sector, which is being considered, is the introduction of private wards, the Minister said.“We have also taken the policy decision that in hospitals across the country, where there is the possibility, we will look at private wards as an option for revenue that will offset the most vulnerable in our society,” he said.Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Bakerlast_img read more

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