Ma Mashinini's TRC Testimony
In her moving testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Tsietsi's mother tells of how she lost her job following Tsietsi's disappearance into exile. Accused of being a communist, she was detained for 197 days, but that didn't stop the search for her son.
"Tsietsi left in September. When he left in September my other children followed, and when they followed the police wanted to - I mean they said we are recruiting for military training; that is why our children have gone out. I tried to explain that they have gone out of the country because the police are terrorizing the children in the house. That is why they went out of the country. That is true; I was telling the real truth.
"I lost my job because they said we are communists; no company should take us. I was detained for 197 days. I was in Standerton - in Standerton Prison. My husband never knew where I was until two months before I came out. It's then that he started visiting me, but I could not see him because they did not want me to meet my family. He used to bring me food. The greedy police used to take my food and eat it and give me a loaf of bread only.
"The raids never stopped and informers who tell lies because they wanted money. They would tell the police that we saw Tsietsi - Tsietsi is in the house. Now they would come, open wardrobes, they wanted to find Tsietsi under the beds, under ballpoints, under a watch, under everything, searching for Tsietsi, and Tsietsi would never be there because he would never come, he would never come."
- Mashinini, V. TRC Hearings on Human Rights Violations: Soweto. 22 July 1996.