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Hambani kahle, maqabane

On 2nd April, people in Selcourt came together at the Catholic Church – like they did every week. They came together to learn to read and write in English and Zulu. Their teachers, Vivian Mbambe and Conasia Mankayi were there to help them.

Just as the class was finishing at nine o’clock in the evening, a man in a big coat arrived. He said that he wanted to learn English. Mme Conasia called Bra Viv to speak to him.

Bra Viv told the man to come to his class. The man followed Bra Viv. But before Bra Viv got to his class, the man pulled out a gun and shot Bra Viv dead.

The man then turned and ran. But he had to pass Mme Conasia to get out of the building. As he ran past her desk, he pulled out his gun again and shot her three times. Mme Conasia died the next morning.

No-one knows who this man is. But we know that people threatened to kill Bra Viv before. Bra Viv worked at the Zincor mine. Bra Viv believed that people must join unions. He brought NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) to the workers at Zincor.

Trouble started at Zincor at the begining of this year. Twenty eight people started work there. They did not want to join NUM because they were members of UWUSA – Inkatha’s union. People say that the bosses brought UWUSA because they were frightened of NUM.

At the begining of March there were big fights at Zincor and three NUM members were killed. The UWUSA people had guns. The Zincor workers went on strike. They said they did not want UWUSA fighting with them in their hostels. So the mine bosses moved the UWUSA members to another hostel.

During this time Bra Viv was frightened to take his group in Selcourt. He was frightened that when he walked through the velt, the UWUSA people would catch him and kill him. But he never thought they would come and kill him in front of his class.

Both Bra Viv and Mme Conasia were migrant workers from the Transkei, far away from their loved ones. They died because they care about other people. We salute their families who have lost a caring father and a caring mother.

And we join the literacy teachers of Learn and Teach, the workers at Zincor, and NUM in saying good-bye to Bra Viv and Mme Conasia – people who were never too tired after work to stop thinking of other people.


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