Mashaba visits Hector Pieterson and Mbuyisa Makhubu families

This past week, ActionSA President, Herman Mashaba, met with the families of Hector Pieterson and Mbuyisa Makhubu, brave young people from Sam Nzima’s iconic image of the 1976 Soweto uprising. On that day, Pieterson was shot and killed when apartheid police opened fire on protesting black students.

Following the families’ request for assistance from ActionSA, after decades of neglect and victimisation at the hands of the ANC, Mashaba met with Lulu Pieterson and Nontsikelelo Makhubu, sisters to Hector Pieterson and Mbuyisa Makhubu.

During the meeting, Lulu Pieterson and Nontsikelelo Makhubu recounted how, despite their families’ contributions to the struggle for South African’s freedom, they too have never experienced the promise of a better life, which so many South Africans hoped would come after 1994. Instead, they have watched in dismay as the ANC continues to rob South Africans – particularly the poorest of the poor.

While the ANC has used the memory of both Hector Pietersen and Mbuyisa Makhubu for their own benefit and enrichment, the families have been left out in the cold. Like many South Africans, Lulu Pieterson is an unemployed single mother, living in an RDP house in Bram Fischerville, struggling to make ends meet. While the ANC government works to capitalise on the Pieterson’s name, no support has ever been provided to the family. Instead, the ANC has sought to parade the family at every June 16 commemoration, with little regard for their wellbeing. This is the same level of disregard which the ANC continues to serve South Africans across the country.

“Being an unemployed single mother, who goes to bed with hungry kids, not being able to provide for them or pay for their school fees and transportation to school, while the ANC government continues to loot in my brother’s name, really breaks my heart,” said Lulu Pieterson.

Indeed, the same disregard has been meted out to the Makhubu family. The Makhubu family, living a stone throw away from the Hector Pieterson’s Museum have also been systematically side-lined by the ANC. Nontsikelelo Makhubu, now a pensioner and the eldest remaining member of the family, continues to fight to have her brother returned to South Africa after he fled in 1976. Mbuyisa fled South Africa after apartheid police increasingly harassed him and his family following the international recognition of Nzima’s image as a symbol for the student uprisings.

In 2013, the South African government failed to repatriate a man – whom the family believe to be Mbuyisa Makhubu – detained in Canada for close to 17 years on immigration charges.  It is the family’s belief that Mbuyisa suffers from mental illness and needs assistance. To date, the South African government has failed to help the family. Equally, the South African government has refused to repatriate the remains of Mbuyisa Makhubu’s father, Lawrence Wantini Makhubu, who also died in exile during apartheid.

“As a family, emotionally and mentally tired. We have knocked on every door but have received no help from the ANC,” says Nontsikelelo Makhubu.

This coming Wednesday, South Africans will commemorate June 16, honouring the class of 1976 – young men and women who stood up against the apartheid government and laid down their lives for a dream that all South Africans could one day live prosperously. But this coming Wednesday, we will have little to celebrate.

The ANC government has killed the dream of a prosperous South African through their corruption and disregard for all our people. It has equally forgotten the sacrificed of all those who fought to see all South Africans free.

ActionSA will continue to meet with Pietersen and Makhubu families to ensure that the legacy of their loved ones is secured against a corrupt ANC.