In 1985, Phila was recruited into the ANC. She became an MK fighter. 3 years later, she was abducted in Swaziland by Apartheid police. She suffered unspeakable horror and was tortured, in an effort to turn her into an informer. One always gets the sense that the fight against Apartheid, was a masculine one.
To a certain extent we can not fault people for thinking that it is only men, through the sacrifice of their bodies who liberated this country, because somehow history chooses to ignore the women who fought alongside glorified men. Phila Ndwandwe was breastfeeding, when she was abducted, with a makarov in one hand and a baby in the other. Her family was made to believe that she had eloped to Tanzania, when the shallow grave of their child was a mere 10 kilometers from where they lived.
Her death and grave came to be known, when her killer asked for amnesty for her brutal murder. Her killers testified before the Truth & Reconciliation Commission that she was repeatedly beaten and kept naked for 10 days, until she made herself a pair of panties using a plastic bag. When they realized they weren’t going to get the Commander to betray her comrades, her killers blindfolded her, took her to a veld and shot her in the skull. When her remains were unearthed, the bullet hole in her skull was clearly visible and her killer testified that she had been shot while kneeling.
Other articles have suggested that she was hit over the head and shot while unconscious. One of the men who murdered Phila, described her as “Brave. Very brave”.
Her selfless dedication to the emancipation of our people, should not be undermined. It should not be forgotten! One can only hope, that her targeted body is dancing free and light. This is Phila Ndwandwe…the Woman who refused to betray her comrades.
Her memory lives on!!!
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