Today marks 36 years since the killing of the so-called Cradock Four by apartheid state security forces.
Fort Calata, Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkonto and Sicelo Mhlauli were on their way home from a UDF meeting in the then Port Elizabeth, now known as Gqeberha, when they were apparently ambushed.
Their burnt car and mutilated bodies were found a week later. Fort Calata’s son, Lukhanyo says through the Fort Calata Foundation they make sure that the legacy of the Cradock Four is never forgotten.
“We want to assure them that their deaths were not in vain and that we will continue to fight, we will continue to try and ensure that their legacy lives for all eternity, but that also those people that were responsible for their deaths are brought to book, are prosecuted and that those found guilty spend the rest of their lives in jail. We honor their sacrifices of the Cradock Four today and we hope that their legacy will be a blessing to each and every one of us in South Africa.”
Garden of remembrance
In 2019, some widows of the slain anti-apartheid activists described the official opening of a garden of remembrance for their loved ones as a bitter-sweet moment for their families.
Then Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom officially opened the Cradock Four Heritage Garden of Remembrance in Cradock in the Eastern Cape.
The widows of Goniwe and Mhlauli, Nyameka Goniwe and Nolitha Mhlauli, say they have mixed emotions.
“It is long overdue, this site has been standing empty for so many years, and we even thought it would never be realised. It is a dream realised instead of being deferred for so many years. We are excited about it not only because it is opening today (Thursday) but what it could be for the community,” says Goniwe.
Mhlauli says, “I remember my dad, my father in law because he is the one that was expected to go down to Port Elizabeth to identify the body. Talking alone, talking to himself saying how can they kill my son so gruesomely.”