The body of South African Nokuthula Simelani – 23 years at the time – an underground agent for the military wing of the now ruling African National Congress, working against the apartheid regime, was never found, since her disappearance in 1983.
The country’s National Prosecuting Authority recently announced that the policemen who had admitted to kidnapping and killing her some 33 years ago will be prosecuted.Her 75-year-old mother, Ernestina Simelani recalls how she found out about her daughter’s death.
“And then my husband woke and went to buy the newspaper. It’s then that we saw, ‘MK cadre trapped and killed by the police’.”
She says she cannot get over her daughter’s death, especially since her remains have not been found. She reminisces about how hell-bent Nokuthula was to free South Africa from white rule. She says she knows what her daughter had been up to.
“She was involved. I know that. She was wanted by the police. She was… they even came here at home, asking us when will she be coming. By that time it was clear that even in Swaziland that she was part of the MK (ANC military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe), helping them.”
Many cases like that of Simelani exist and the whereabouts of many family members involved in the struggle remain a mystery.