About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.


From Gemma [Zarina]: Harare 4 Dec 1988, sent as 2nd message on 7/12/88.

Dearest Adam [Mac], This message will have to reach you through TC as I am experiencing some difficulty in undoing TK. I felt a compromise through TC would be a good idea. As you know, I have been very much out of my stride since the 7th October when I was admitted to UTH after a road accident. I was subsequently flown to Harare for surgery. Fortunately the ribs have all healed and so has the shoulder blade, and the pain I my arm and shoulder has at last begun to lift, making me quite optimistic about the surgeon's prediction. He says that one I have the last two operations (on Dec 13 and June 1989) to remove the screws from shoulder blade and arm and collar bone, I will regain most of the mobility in that region. Robin assures me that you will be kept informed through a copy of the surgeon's report, which Reggie has already seen. The good thing is that I will overcome the limitations in current mobility in my left arm through physiotherapy – also it is my left arm and not my right one, thank goodness. As you can imagine this has been a trauma and a severe blow to the strides I was making in my PTA job. Suffice it to say for now: Once I presented Bax with the technical evaluation of the system developed by Geneva, and explained that on professional and political principles, and even under threat of being sacked, I had refused in Geneva to install that system, he put all his trust and confidence in me. Together with Mengustu, my direct boss, Bax assigned me the task of redeveloping the entire system from scratch for installation by the same deadline as originally planned, viz June 1989, for fear of losing face to the member states.

Sent Thurs 8th Dec 1988

Part two and last: Now I have lost 3 months and do not feel up to the same intense momentum. I understand that Geneva promised them an alternative consultant but they said they preferred to wait for me. That was in November, though, when they expected me back in Lusaka for a couple of weeks. So I do now know whether it is fair to the PTA not to advise them to get a new consultant, even though I will be returning to Lusaka in January. The good news is that the children are here with me now. Milou had apparently taken the accident badly, withdrawing into a shell. But now he is as chatty, buoyant and provocative as ever. Joey is as usual full of bounce and excitement and they never stop talking about you. Needless to say, we miss you very much indeed, and hope you remain safe to return to us in one piece. S is returning to your end within a few weeks. Things went sour after you left. In a rational moment she explained that she was too old to handle such boisterous youngsters and after what they had been through with their own kids, all they now wanted was peace and quiet. The details of what triggered the final decision to leave are not so important now. Her decision was actually made some time ago. It has just been a question of waiting for your return. So now I really do not know about the PTA job – even if they decide to shift the deadline, which is unlikely, I can't take it up because of the kids. Next time I will let you know of the details of how things deteriorated. But L was a fiercely negative force in all this. I really look forward to undoing your message and hearing from you again. All our love. Gemma [Zarina] and the kids.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to theThis resource is hosted by the site.