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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.


Sent Thu. 18th May 1989

From Elsa [Zarina] (Dictated msg):

1.. Thank you for your messages and the two lovely cassettes. Surprised you still haven't received my Jan disk as it was taken abroad for dispatch to you ages ago.

2.. We are longing to be with you. Mistake perhaps to have told kids already as hey are now terribly impatient and fretful about dates. With my unbroken stay at home over the past seven weeks I am still on sick leave. Joey's condition has improved dramatically. She has also become more manageable temperament wise and is a real pleasure again. Milou is solid as ever- a rock in my life but they still fight each other like hell.

3.. A last attempt to reconstruct my shoulder joint has also failed. I am reluctant to undergo a fifth operation- the third one to my shoulder since in any case I get none of the crucial aftercare here. Big S might be a better bet but it depends upon the Harare surgeon's advice when he phones me early next week. If a further operation is suggested, and if it can wait, then Big S around the 2nd of July may be my best way forward since anyway the last two weeks of school are more for fooling around. What are the chances that if necessary your dates could coincide.

4.. Alphons we are looking for Mandela and Sisulu manuscripts but I couldn't help him. Had myself been wondering about their whereabouts. What did you so with them after clearing Kabulonga study?

5.. [blank here]…. Things that have been going on starting as far back as my medical evacuation from UTH. Late as it was, thank god the UN intervened when it did. I would have been a cripple otherwise. Even in this kind of mileu it seems that one has to be strong enough to ride the occasional waves of human pettiness!

With love Elsa [ Zarina] and the little people

Sent Thu. 25th May 1989, TC KW

= Thurs 25th

Dictating by Elsa Wed .24th

"News from Harare surgeon is that if dislocation becomes too painful I pts for a third shoulder operation or just live with the dislocation. {Blank}… UN resident representative here is shattered by this news and has offered to evacuate me for treatment to Ken, all my personal & medical expenses paid This may well be a better bet than Big S in terms of latest techniques and for later follow –up etc. I'm not sure. When is the earliest we can sagely meet at Ken's .Already discussed this new medical development with kid's teachers who are being very supportive. Kids are bursting with joy at prospect of being re-united with you. Let me know soonest how your schedules look. Love Elsa [Zarina]"

Received Thursday 1st June 1989

Dearest Elsa [Zarina]. Am addressing this to you though I expect you to share many parts with Janet so that together they can be worked through. Many thanks for message. Am worried as to how, when I can exit safely etc. So far am waiting for local passport (whose use can only be limited to exit/entry and exit can only be to safe point, e.g. up to Big S. When I am going to get this is another matter – though have been promised I would get it "soon". Meanwhile the ff have to be addressed and attended to by you folks:

1.. Can you trace my Indian passport under my real name and ensure that it is renewed and validated by the Indian High Commissioner (preferably Lal). I last used this to go to Big S, hence it should be with Leo and Co. if not in my goods that were returned from Big S. If it can't be traced, get my old passport photos and ensure that Janet and Co. with intervention of Nzo get the High Commissioner to issue one.

2.. This passport will require a UK visa. The old one had one, but it may require renewal. Can this be done without my presence? Discuss with Janet – maybe Elsa can apply saying I am in SU in hospital – but then they may insist that I personally go to their embassy in Moscow and we don't want that to happen. Anyway how and when to act on this will depend on first getting hold of (1) above. Please let me know re progress etc re (1) and (2) above.

3.. If I exited and reached Big S. how would I proceed to UK and what legend would we then use there, e.g. that I have been released temporarily and have come to help and be with you and kids and would be going back. Then what pressures would arise that I also travel to Raymonds. Janet and Co. have to work out something on this and advise. Have only touched on some urgent aspects here. Will get back on further points. All my love to you and little people – all of whom I miss desperately. Tony [Mac].

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