Mothers of Ten depicts my imaginary view of the grieving mothers of ten black youth, aged 14-19 who were brutally killed on June 26, 1986 by the Western Transvaal Security Branch.  The youth who were suspected of being activists, had been recruited by the Security Branch on the pretext that they would receive military training and then were brutally murdered in one of the most notorious cases to appear before the TRC.

  30" x 40"  Oil & Charcoal                                                                                 (2000)


The TRC provided counsellors to work with the mothers to help them prepare to testify.  The TRC also took the mothers to the alleged place where their sons were killed and held a ceremony for burial although their were no remains.

This case, known as the Nietverdiend Ten, involved Sgt. Joe Mamasela who had recruited the ten youth and then drove them in a mini-bus towards the border with Botswana.  They stopped en route to pick up an escort which was a car loaded with members of the Security Branch.  They entered a dense bushy area; the mini-bus was stopped and the youth were instructed to climb out and lie face down, surrounded by a group of soldiers all dressed in camouflage uniforms.  The youthís trousers were removed and Commandant Charl Naude injected them with a sedative or other chemical substance.  The victims were loaded onto the vehicle which was driven to a selected spot in Bophuthatswana, a neighboring homeland.  The mini-bus with the victims inside was left to roll down a steep hill, crashed into a wall and was blown up. 

Four AK-47ís were placed in the destroyed vehicle and a number of political pamphlets by Azapo were scattered around the area.  It was not clear when the victims died - on impact; from the explosion of the car, or from the injected substance.  The bodies were so charred they could not be identified.  

Brigadier J. Cronje who planned the operation was congratulated by a General in the SADF and Sgt. Mamasela was given R1,000 bounty money and two weeks holiday in reward.

In testimony to the TRC, Brigadier J. Cronje stated:

ďI donít think I have to say Iím sorry and Iím not going to say it for what I did.  Iím sorry for the relatives and the victims, yes, but what I did Iím not sorry about, cause I was doing my job and I thought it was right.Ē

The victims, based on information from their families are believed to be:

    Abraham Makolane Samuel Masilela
    Sipho Philip Sibanyoni Tomas Phiri
    Jeremiah Magagula Morris Nkabinde
    Matthews P Lerutla Stephen Makena
    Elliot Sathege Rooibaard Geldenhuys

Joe Mamasela was an Ďaskarií (term denoting a former ANC or PAC member working for the South African police.  Arabic-derived East African name for soldiers or policemen.) stationed at Vlakplaas (headquarters of the C1 Unit of the South African Police).  Mamasela turned Stateís witness and by his own admission was involved in dozens of killings of political activists.  A typical strategy was to infiltrate a group of youth, pretend to recruit them for military training and then lure them to their death as in this case.