“I had horrible nightmares and woke up screaming in the night. I discovered I spoke aloud when I thought of my children and literally held conversations with them. I cried almost hysterically when I recalled their screams on the night of my arrest.
I just cannot get this out of my mind up to date. I spent the whole day walking up and down my cell hoping to exhaust myself so that I could sleep at night. (c) I realised that although I was not sleeping I did not either feel tired or drowsy during the day. I could not bear the glare of the light day and night. I was growing more and more tense each day.
(d) I suffered from loss of appetite and because I ate so little, my colleagues’ food was reduced to almost a quarter of our daily rations. This was enough for me but serious punishment for my colleagues. I then decided to throw my food in the sanitary bucket. [Unnamed accused] suffered most as she is a heavy eater.
I told No. 9 and 7 who were also poor eaters to dispose of their food as I did if they had not finished it. We whispered to each other at night. (e) The blackouts which I have now had for the whole year of my detention grew worse and lasted longer.
If I stood up suddenly I fell down. When I recovered I felt the blood rushing to the upper part of my body especially the head. I would then put my head between my knees. (f) I filled the long and empty endless hours by reconstructing the story of my life in my mind.
I was nine years old when I lost my mother, I can hardly remember her but I longed for her and cried bitterly when I thought of her. I remembered my hard childhood years without her, how poor my family was although my father was the school principal.
I recalled how I had to wash his khaki shirt and iron it overnight, his baggy trousers often full of holes and I ironed them so badly because I was too young. The secret childhood tears I shed when the school children teased me about my shabbily dressed father.
Mother’s illness had drained his pockets and we were nine children. Mother was ill for years and every penny was spent on doctor’s fees all over the district. When she died I had to nurse my three-month-old baby brother. All this came to my mind as though it had happened yesterday.
I cried when I remembered how I cried as I was forced to leave school, put my baby brother on my back and go to look after cattle. Father could not afford even to hire a herd boy which was common practice those days.
(g) I could feel the blood pressure was dropping again. My pulse was raised and I had the attacks of breathlessness even during the day, this I never had before. I often had these at night if I lay flat. (h) I worried a great deal about how I felt and worried more about the ‘boys’ in our group.
I thought endlessly about how I could save my colleagues from this mental agony. I felt it was my duty to do something to save them no matter how drastic it would be as long as Nelson and my people would understand.” Extract from the book ‘491 Days: Prisoner Number 1323/69’
Amidst the pain, suffering and indignity that Black people in South AfriKKKa and elsewhere, continue to be subjected to.
Admist the indifference, arrogance, greed and treachery of the Black neoloconial elite.
Amidst all this, we pause to remember that today 5 years ago, Black people globally, lost a Warrior Queen, Mama Zanyiwe Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela.
We remember how, inspite of all the torture and humiliation by the enemy, she remained defiant.
We remember how, inspite of the Stratcom smear campaigns and betrayal by her own Comrades, she remained steadfast.
We remember how she gallantly fought the enemy with every ounce of courage that her body could summon.
We draw inspiration from her courage and deep hate for injustice. We pledge to continue mentioning her name, even when its makes our own kind uncomfortable.
Continue rising in Black Power Mama Zanyiwe Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela.
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