Transitional Justice, Martyrdom and Liberation
The Lecture Series seeks to highlight the new frontiers and challenges facing the culture of democracy, peace, safety and human rights in South Africa and globally.
Professor Thenjiwe Meyiwa, UNISA Vice-Principal: Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialisation, Professor Kgomotso Masemola, Executive Dean of the College of Human Sciences and its Institute for Social and Health Sciences in collaboration with the Psychological Society of South Africa, the Pan-African Psychology Union and the Apartheid-Era Victims’ Families Group cordially invite you to the
15th Annual Peace, Safety and Human Rights Memorial Lecture
Moderator: Professor Saths Cooper
As a young man, Saths Cooper identified with the Black Consciousness movement and was arrested as a student in 1976 for organizing anti-Apartheid rallies. During this time Saths spent nine years banned, house arrested and jailed, including over five years in Robben Island where he shared a cell block with Nelson Mandela. He was four times elected President of the Psychological Society of South Africa, served as President of the International Congress of Psychology which was held in 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa, was elected the first African President of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS), and the first President of the Pan African Psychology Union (PAPU).
Alegria Kutsaka Nyoka
Alegria is the elder sister of student Activist Caiphus Nyoka who was brutally killed on 24 August 1987 by the apartheid security force at their parents’ home in Daveyton, East Rand. Their father, Abednego Moses Nyoka was bitterly disappointed at the findings of the inquest proceedings in 1988 that found no one responsible for his son’s death. He passed away in 1992 without getting justice for his son. As the elder sister, Alegria, took over the baton and represented the family when she testified at the TRC hearings in Benoni in 1997. The family was saddened that the TRC failed to apprehend the killers of Caiphus and he was declared just another victim of apartheid atrocities. The Nyoka family continues seeking justice for Caiphus who was killed. Why was Caiphus not arrested if they had information that he had hand grenades and other explosives in his possession? Why was he silenced before he revealed his alleged sources? How many times was he shot – nine or twelve times? One of his killers, Sgt Marais, confessed in a newspaper in 2019 that he killed Caiphus. Why has the State taken so long to charge Marais? The family, community and the country demands to hold those accountable for the cold-blooded killing of Caiphus Nyoka.
Imtiaz Ahmed Cajee
Imtiaz Ahmed Cajee was 5 years old when his uncle Ahmed Timol was killed in police detention in October 1971. Visiting his grandmother during the school holidays, he would engage with her to know what happened to his uncle Ahmed. Reading the newspaper cuttings that the family kept on his uncle’s death and the subsequent inquest held in 1972, Cajee pieced together a picture in his mind about his uncle. In 2005 he published a biography on his uncle titled, Timol, Quest for Justice. During this year his second book titled The Murder of Ahmed Timol, My Search for the Truth was published. Cajee dispels the police version that his uncle was arrested by chance at a police roadblock. He also contrasts the 1972 and 2017 inquest finding that ruled that Timol did not commit suicide, but was murdered in police detention. Timol’s murder accused Joao Rodrigues’s legal team has petitioned the SCA in Bloemfontein to overturn the 2019 ruling of a full bench of the South Gauteng High Court that dismissed his 342A application for a permanent stay of prosecution. A ruling from the SCA is awaited. Cajee is now working with other families demanding truth and justice for all martyrs killed by the apartheid regime. They have formed the Apartheid-Era Victims Family Group representing the voices of families.
Motheba Unathi Mohapi
Motheba Mohapi is the eldest daughter of Mapetla Frank Mohapi, a political activist who died in detention in 1976. Motheba was two years old when her father died and as such has no memory of her father. She remembers frequent raids at their home by “the system” (the police of the time, mainly white) to satisfy whatever it is they sought to achieve at the time. She also remembers staying with different aunts at various intervals before the age of six due to her mom being detained.
Her mother was the first person to testify at the Eastern Cape leg of the TRC. The inquest into their father’s death had found that no one was responsible for it. As a family, they had high hopes of getting some answers from the TRC process, like who was responsible for their father’s death and how he actually died. Who knows, had someone come forward and shown remorse for their actions, the family may have forgiven and found peace. It is difficult to forgive someone who does not seek your forgiveness. Inspired by the Ahmed Timol case, the hope and quest for the truth were renewed. Motheba and her family would like their father’s inquest reopened, and the perpetrators brought to book. Their father did not kill himself, he was killed, and history must record that correctly and justice must be served.
Alegria, Imtiaz and Motheba and other families have formed the Apartheid-Era Victims’ Family Group to seek transitional justice.
Date: 10 October 2020
Time: 14:30 – 16:00
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