A tribute to freedom fighter and hero Mzondeleli Nondula
The book has closed on a real hero of SA’s struggle for democracy, a man who was sentenced to death for his activism
I arrived quite early at Pretoria Central Prison. When visitors were allowed in I was among the first. My destination, Death Row, had no other visitor at that time. I was escorted through a maze of prison doors that were opened and locked as soon as my escort and I had passed.
Death Row was a faraway place within the vast complex of this maximum prison. I had read a lot about Death Row: the desolation, the quiet of the place, of the anguish of the night before those final 52 steps to the noose, of the screams of fear of the awaiting rope and the chants of defiance by the brave.
I was in the belly of the beast and despite having spent enough time behind prison walls to understand the routine and the smells, my heart was racing with each step. I had last seen Mzondeleli Nondula and Mthetheleli Mncube the day they were sentenced to multiple death sentences in the then Messina (Musina) Circuit Court in May 1988...