Remembering Nokuthula Simelane:
Most young adults are waking up ready to embark on the journey of life. Excited or apprehensive about the future but nonetheless it is a future they have.
They have not been struck down, viciously tortured and brutally murdered by people who walk free and to this day refuse to divulge details about this young woman’s murder.
For her remaining siblings and mother there will forever be unanswered questions. There will never be grandchildren from her. She will not be walking through the door of her home smiling and enjoying the freedom she fought for. She will not be talking about the crush she may have on someone, the dreams that she may have had to better her life or simply sitting with her family enjoying a meal, talking about some tv show or laughing and playing with her nephews and nieces.
She’s simply a casualty of “war!” A “war” she became part of simply for being black. That “war” did not end in 1994 with the “dawn of democracy” in this country, because if it did her family would know the whereabouts of her remains and they would have the opportunity to bury her and pay their respects.
Instead June 6 this year (yes, 2019), her family has won its first bid for her to be declared presumed dead following her disappearance 36-years ago while captured by the apartheid police.
The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria agreed with the Simelane family application that they have provided the court with enough evidence showing that Nokuthula was no longer alive since being captured by the apartheid police outside the Carlton Centre in Joburg in 1983.
Nokuthula was abducted in September 1983 in what was known as Operation Kopdraai. As an ANC operative, the apartheid security branch officers wanted to turn her into an informer.
“The black officers testified before the TRC that Nokuthula was severely beaten until she could not walk on her own. She was beaten until she urinated and soiled herself,” Adv Varney said.
“We have tried to find out what happened to Nokuthula but do not have answers. The Security Branch officers who murdered her have cruelly refused to disclose the
whereabouts of Nokuthula’s last resting place,” her family said.
Her torture and murder was not enough for some people!
The answers her family need will never be told!
Her remains will forever be shrouded in secrets that those responsible for her death simply refuse to talk about!
She had no peace in life fighting for her right to live, to love, to be free and she had no peace in death either because in Bethal, a life-size bronze statue of Nokuthula Simelane that was erected in 2009, (to honour her), was desecrated and stolen.
In January 2011, the statue was broken from its base and a rope was tied around its neck. It was then tied to a vehicle and dragged through the streets of Bethal. Two white men were arrested and 25-year-old Bethal resident Cornelius van Tonder was found guilty of malicious damage to property.
What could possibly make these people cause the family and community more pain by doing this other than hate? Hate perpetrated by young men that didn’t grow up during Apartheid, that knew nothing about it other than what they were taught by their parents and community.
Telling people of colour to “move on,” to stop living in the past is cruel, insensitive and quite simply hateful when the past keeps recurring in the present.
This is history that even in death cannot be laid to rest.
(Courtesy of sahistory)