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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.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 Thursday 5 January 1989, TC A1
Ken to Adam (2nd Jan) :
(a). Happy New Year! & thanks for kind remarks in your last msg.
(b). Had long chat with Gemma last night. She sounded strong and in v. good spirits which amazed me after explaining what she'd been through. She arrived home on 26th but leaves for SU today for few weeks treatment for 'traumatic cataract' in right eye – caused by trauma of incident. Experts say eye will be OK. Operation on 13th Dec. went v. well – wires & pins removed from collar-bone and shoulder. Thrilled with treatment she's had: despite injuries to arm & face there now no visible traces. Left hand OK for typing but can't lift to head yet. Will be permanent problem with arm but should regain 90% use. Says people, esp Reggie (who even cancelled his holiday) & Soviets, have been wonderful & kids taking it really well. Employers refused to accept resignation & Sec-Gen spoke to her personally to dissuade leaving. However, they still want her to meet deadline for completion of project. She was busy preparing TK msg for you but said it would not be as long as yours as she's had so little time. Said you should get it directly + 10th. She received your birthday present (& card?) & TK msg, all of which made her v. happy. Sends love, best wishes & congrats from self & kids.
(c). Keen to know if TP decoder I sent last time works. Phone my TS [(90944) 836 268088] from yours after receiving this msg. I'll answer with repeated '*'. Press '1' repeatedly if TC msg received OK. Do this even if you don't have your decoder.
(d). Please indicate how urgent disk Umseb etc. so we can plan if to send courier or you prepared to wait for John. Can probably get flight booking at short notice if we get expensive one.
(e). Resent PART 2 of Maphumulu report you sent to Eddie. SHUT
Sent Thursday 5th January 1989, TC A1 (also to Richard 6.1.89)
PART 1 OF 2 : Reg to Adam, 3/1/89 :
1.. Amendments to Jan 8 statement :
Ø. p2. para 2: put comma after "Lucas": delete "and" before "Sicelo": & after "Dhlomo" add following : "and John Gaetsewe." The list of names should therefore read: "…Hector Nkula, Michael Lucas, Sicelo Dhlomo and John Gaetsewe."
Ø. We're informed Valdez's real surname is "Sam", not "Grootboom" (para 4).
Ø. P8, para 3, line 4 : replace "readiliy" with readily": replace "people" with "military personnel".
Ø. P8, para 3, last sent: "regional services" not "service": "Provincial Executive Committees" instead of "Provincial Councils".
Ø. P9, para 1, line 3: after councils remove comma & add "and committees".
Ø. P25, lst para, 3rd line: put comma after "others" & than between "others" & "have" insert "like the great MK commander, Ashley Forbes": after "sentenced" remove full-stop & add "imprisonment".
2.. The 'team' to Adam & Silvester: on the occasion of the new year we look back on past 6 months with sense of profound excitement & achievement on what is indeed breathtaking advances in our struggle. We humbly share gigantic effort you're putting into fulfillment of your tasks. We look forward in coming year to greater achievements on part of us all in name of national liberation movement. On our part we'll jealously continue to strive for greater productivity, timely service; we'll continue to strive for greater secrecy & ceaselessly guard your noble efforts. To you watchword for 1989 must be "extreme vigilance & caution". All power to the people. PART 2 COMING (URGENT)
Sent Thursday 5th January 1989, TC A1 (also to Richard 7.1.89)
SECOND & last::
III to Enrico-Adam:
(a). We seek confirmation on your availability to do pick-up at Rahim's for period 20-23 Jan. Arrangements for meeting will be same as those for aborted Dec. meeting. Plse anticipate big load. Early confirmation is absolutely necessary since we want to be in place early.
(b). Enrico met Maureen as per fallback arrangements. She'll be in place as from Jan 3rd & ready to be contacted. She's employed as teacher by Sandton private school : Redhill Pre-primary School, Summit Rd (near Rivonia), Morningside. Tel 883 3441, switchboard 783 4707. Her residential address : 18 Garth Mansions, 90 Twist St, cnr Esselen St, Hillbrow. Tel 724 4111. She now has work permit until end June. Lives alone in bachelor flat. She's been advised that present place of abode is not best; that between now and end Jan she should try to acquire small cottage, pref in S suburbs. Needlessly she's reported that recently group of uniformed persons (has not established of what persuasion) have occupied flat opposite. We advise great caution when contacting her. Place does not seem to offer any possibility of semi-permanent base. We also advise that check be kept on her before contact since she moves primarily between 2 points. She'll need to be assisted financially to furnish house & is also in desperate need of transport. We've referred all her problems to you on the supposition that you'll either deal with them directly or seek our assistance when needed. Contact arrangements are those that have been made with Adam. FIN
Sent Tuesday 10th January 1989, TC A1
FIRST of TWO :
1.. Urgently require responses: (a) to Enrico re Rahims; (b) to Ken re sending disks etc.
2.. New codes from Oscar : Silvester = Isabella; Ben= Tony; Minor= Junior; Reg = Alphons; Robin = Janet; Ken = Charles; Gemma = Elsa; Lennie + Bea; Patrick = Leo; Enrico = Rocky; Eddie = Simon; Maureen = Graham; Solly = Sello; Grace = Zola; Howard = Freddy; Rahim = Dick; SD = Tessa; Irene = Cathy; Oscar = Raymond; FRG = Mona; Cyril = Roger; Madiba = Sipho; GM = Rachel; Jabu = Creole; Painting = Tapestry; Video = Photographs; Book = Studio; Travel Bureau = Ale; Not heart = Exposed; Received = Developed.
3.. Following + transcript of phone mesg from Gemma in Moscow : "Dear Adam: After much deliberation I concluded that I owe it to the children to send you this message. Initial tests reveal that my right eye's blindness is not merely the result of the traumatic cataract but of certain possible damage done to the nerves affecting that eye during the 12 hour period of unconsciousness following the accident. So I shall have to undergo further extensive tests before any proper diagnosis is made, which means a minimum of one month here possibly leading to two. I am deeply disturbed by the traumatic effect this long absence of both of us is having on the children who are after all only 6 and 4. As you know children's psyches are highly vulnerable & even though they are now in the care of a woman who is really good, she is nevertheless a stranger & they have never reacted that well to strangers….CONTINUES
Sent Tuesday 10th January 1989, TC A1
It takes time for them to adjust, especially now that they are home. Robin passed through here accidentally for one day & I have asked him to get hold of my sister to check if she can go to Zambia for two months to help ease this very heavy burden such young people are having to bear on their own. I deliberately had not revealed this on my previous communications to you the extent of their recent pining but I think in these new unforeseen circumstances you have to be aware so that in your planning of time schedules for the various phases & tasks of your project you may try to strike some sort of a balance if at all possible that takes into account these new circumstances. Of course if I or my sister or someone totally acceptable to the kids were there now there would be no need for this message, but it is only fair to them to let you know their emotional state especially with S's sudden disappearance. Since you have better access to Ken than I have, please keep track of what is happening there. I only hope that my sister can make it there to see us through this patch. Hope you received my TK message date 1st January 1989. Wishing you evermore strides in your endeavours, all love, Gemma. PS. (Couldn't hear name) is aware of these new developments so perhaps you'll hear from him at some stage or other.
Received Saturday 14th January 1989, TC A2
14.1.. Ein : Have had to p/pone meet with Rocky & Dick cos of lack of time to arrange travelers. Are in middle of process setting up RPC. Have just emerged from 3-day session with RPC!
14.2.. Have not had time to sort out what went wrong re A1 while Tony was at Sello's. Will report more fully on this asap. At one stage seemed data disks went out of alignment. At last stages found recorder malfunctioning – request you send us two recorders with John.
14.3.. Advise when to expect John. We hope to prepare extensive reports on disk to give to John – for Janet side & for Alphons/Janet side.
14.4.. Pls send Umseb in film form. Do not still have copy of Umseb. Leo's man sent disk from Freddy's but for some reason did not send Umseb!
14.5.. All reports meant for Rachel have been dispatched – awaiting confirmation of receipt.
14.6.. Many thanks re Jan 8th – advance copies sent to leading activists levels at Sello''s & Zola's. Busy with preparing for large scale distribution at Zola's in English & Zulu.
14.7.. Many thanks re msg from Gemma. Pls advise who is looking after kids & whether Janet saw Gemm's sister & with what results. Urgent as Tony would like to respond to Gemma msg.
14.8.. When will next installment of funds be ready? Regards
Received Sunday 15th January 1989, TC A2
15.1. One : Last night collected your msg & sent you one from us. Ours was on A2 'cos we're having probs with A1. Hence expected yours in A2 also but A2 read out starts b y reporting 50 set left 7 then presents garbage. But efforts to read via A1 present '50 sets left' and then readout is a blank screen. So we're unable to read yours. Pls send it in A2.
15.2. Have y/u recd ours of last night?
15.3. Pls send fresh A1 program & data disk per John as it seems present set damaged, as well as send two recorders.
15.4. Hope you have not forgotten to put that booklet on u/g propaganda work on disk – want to use as training manual on various aspects of propaganda work.
15.5. Will report more fully on probs wh arose with A1 while at Sello's once I have time to check out. Presently deeply engaged with setting up RPC & sub structures & developing a work programme for them together with RPC. Greetings.
Sent Sunday 15th January 1989, TC A2
Raymond to Tony (recd by Charles 13/1):
1.. Plse pass one copy of 'World Apart' video (which will be sent to you via Dick) to Rachel.
2.. We've opened comms channel to you through Abdul. We intend that it be used only for propaganda on disc & other discs & not for briefings etc. Plse indicate whether OK.
3.. Have in possession manuals on engineering + fire arms. Also have M.I. data, will send to you via Dick.
4.. Re Junior : has now driving lessons. Proceeding to Europe mid-Feb. Should be back from mid-end Feb. Target for entry mid-end March.
5.. Re pick-up at Dick's : need confirm. On dates, we prefer now Jan 28-29-30. Times at 11.00 & 16.00. Meeting place: Nomathatha Shopping Centre, which is on road from Gaborone Sun to Broadhurst. Your person to wear black t-shirt/sweater & to park in front of shops, buy an of coke & sip, standing at door of driver's side. Rocky'll wear white t-shirt/sweater & will initiate. Will ask whether he/she knows Siva. After affirmative, will introduce himself as Charles. Your person to use the name James/Jenny. [NB Charles passed on your TV msg recd 12th re postponement but Raymond recd it after sending above].
John: Will visit Sello on 24th Jan so Chas needs to get disks etc to him by 19/20th. Please indicate promptly if able to meet, & if so what arrangements. Usual? \\15th.
6.. 1. Sending new version TO which has option of disks or keyword. Also allows much longer messages which can be formatted.
2. Raymond asks : "Re pick-up at Dick's : please give at least 2 weeks' notice".
3. Charles is in contact with Elsa so you can send msg any time, but he's finding who kids' minder is. TODOS
Received Monday 16th January 1989, TC A2
1.. We're redoing msg we attempted to send today, cos although tested before going to phone , we subsequently found tape had two breaks wh make receiving impossible.
2.. Wld like to keep pick up date at Dick's as per you msg dd 13.1. Give us 2-=3 days to get back to you on this re confirmation or otherwise. But will only collect small load cos of nature of vehicle being sent. Will guide re priorities. This shld include manuals, MI date + hardware eg explosives that fit + some videos.
3.. John will be met in parking lot at hotel. John shld get there sans other prior contact.
4.. Will advise re Abdul later – for present still want you to send latest Umseb in film form. We still don't have full text of Umseb + haven't found anyone who has copy!
5.. RPC at Zola now in existence. Urgent – urge response to our need here for a mil. Commander to organize. What response to our suggestion re Charles ex-Tessa? If any probs. Then pls suggest another.
6.. Has Janet seen Gemma's sister? What response?
7.. Pls obtain copy 'How to be a Good C-ist' by Liu Shao Chi for us. Alles van die beste
Sent Monday 16th December 1989, TC A2
Ray to Tony:
1.. Kids being looked after by cde from women's secretariat, chosen by Alphons.
2.. Janet has seen Elsa's sister, she initially agreed to come down & stay for 2 months, however, informed us recently she can only stay for 2 weeks. Instead suggests kids to go up with her to Cathy's. Elsa's sister'll arrive here Tue 17th & we'll discuss. Meanwhile Janet has undertaken to send msg to Elsa to ascertain her response.
Janet to Tony :
1.. Would like all Rivonia cdes to send individual msgs to congress. Deadline : March 20 '89.
2.. Roger has requested meeting with Janet & cie to exchange views etc. Janet thinks that small delegation of the union (of course unofficial) should meet with our delegation. Would like Tony's input.
3.. Harry Gwala :
(a). He's requested medical treatment. We would like to know what is med. Opinion & how would H leave the country for treatment if external treatment is necessary.
(b). Janet had meeting with Linus Dlamini. HG asked him to speak to Janet only & to take whatever instructions there are given. Linus revealed that he was also in touch with Marsha + Curnick. Janet told Linus that future comm. Will be via Marsha. Effectively this means that we recommend that Tony & Marsha integrate Linus. We await your response. \\Chas : will send you Umseb on disk & in bookcover. Will send Umseb negs later to doctors'. Haven't been able to do negs as other cde using equipment at moment. See you.
Received Wednesday 18th January 1989, TC A2
1.. Can now confirm that we shall may it for the pick up at Dick's for 29-29 per arrangements you suggested.
2.. Pls advise, since we are sending vehicle wh can only make small pick up, whether Rocky & Co can stay around at Dick's to service another similar pick up the following weekend also i.e. 4-5 Feb? This would help us a lot & enable us to collect bulk of whatever is available. We plan to send a different team with a different vehicle for this second pick up. Se security wise, it would be fine for us, & from your side, it Rocky & Co could be around, it would save too much back & forth movement.
3.. In addition to Junior & suggestions made in yesterday's msg re Charles ex Tessa (or another) could we consider sending in Jabu to us? We cold do with his services (without his getting to know structures & people here) & preparatory to his deployment at Sello's. We are pretty over-taxed work wise. Plus we see how we could use him securely & at the same time acclimatize him to conditions.
4.. Hope to send a sample of our local production of Jan 8th with John to give you idea of production capacity here. Keep well.
Sent Saturday 21st January 1989, TC A2
Sat : New codes from Ray for phones : month = subtract two (Jan = Nov); Time = sub tract one hr; phone no = subtract 111 from last three digits using no carry method (883083 = 883972).
Leo to Tony:
1.. We sent via Abdul 1 disc with part 5 of draft progr. Part 5 = Path to power; 2nd disc with old brief for Rachel. This brief wasn't sent to Rachel but read by Revd X who was to pass content to R. Third disc was Jan 8th & two copies Umseb (the 3 discs we're sure of, the 2 Umseb were to be added by a cde in Freddy. Pls tell what you received.
2.. Re msg Congress : like to get video msg of H Gwala, Rachel + Marcha (if not attending).
3.. Re Jabu: Not recovered from injury, still having physiotherapy. Left hand not OK.
Ch to Tony :
(a). Saw John yesterday. Since girlfriend in Kenya walked out he's back with us ++. But when you met give much encouragement & tell what important job he's doing. When John looks at what he's taking you he can't understand what's big deal.
(b). Didn't send new modem with John as we're expecting new ones any day now. Hopefully we can get them to work at 1200 bps which is 4 times faster than 300 bps we're using now.
(c). Elsa just phoned : Says sister on way to kids. After assessment eye problem not serious & will see again OK after operation. Operation delayed as they're waiting for inflammation to go. Only simple cataract; no nerves affected. She waiting desperately for your reply & can't understand delay. Says she's lonely cos can't venture out as snow up to window ledges!
(d). Inform us soon as seen John OK. Will you be trying TS again? Please start using new TC as soon as received. LOGOFF
Received Sunday 22nd January 1989, TC A2
1.. Tony expected to be at Sello's for current week. Hence Isabella will be in contact via A2 at Zola's Once John delivers diska tony will also be in contact5 from Sello's.
2.. Appointment with John confirmed.
3.. John will bring you disks to be collected soonest and confirm receipt.
4.. When can be we expect further funds?
5.. We received everything via Abdul except Umsebenzi. Ends.
Sent Wednesday 25th January 1989, TC A2
Isabella : Several items from last few days, mostly relating to Tony. Asked Tony via TV if OK to send to him but got no response so sending to you.
24/1/89 Leo to Tony:
1.. Team'll be in place and prepared to loading both (29/30 and 4/5). Plse confirm before Thurs.
2.. Any news on Maureen?
Leo to Tony : 25th Jan/ Elsa is OK operation planned. Kids are OK, going to school etc. Auntie with them now. Shanty is here as well. So there are several options. No decision taken yet.
Letter from Elsa dated 12.1.89 : "Having been seen by 2 senior ophthalmologists here (Moscow), I was finally seen today by the Professor, Chief of the Eye Dept., himself. This is what they have decided: After proper treatment of the inflammation in my right eye, they will do an operation to remove the cataract. Since there is no damage, as previously thought, to the optic nerves or retina, my eyesight will be restored, but they will give me a contact lens to increase visual acuity there. The operation will be done only in about 2 or 3 weeks time. It then takes between 6 to 12 weeks before the stitches can be removed, whilst the eye heals properly after the operation. Since they are aware of my deep concern about the children, they have decided that once the eye is properly healing, I can wait out the remaining weeks back in Zambia, if there is a qualified ophthalmologist there to remove the stitches. There are such people in Zimbabwe, so I won't have to stay here for more then, say, till about the second week in February. The great news is that my blindness is temporary, and they are determined once and for all to knock out the inflammation. Love etc"
Please ask Tony to respond to Elsa soon as it's becoming embarrassing to tell her on phone each time that there's been no response. Fin
Received Friday 27th January 1989, TC A1 (V.5, 1)
1.. Using new program disk. Hope we get everything working, incl TS. If TS works then I could take a string of msgs from you as apptmnt for tonight fell through at last minute.
2.. Seen Graham & begun process to sort his probs.
3.. Hope John returns more enthusiastic. Have agreed that he could come every 5-6 weeks. John states may come end Feb but will expect confirmation from you – early the better, then we here can arrange to have reports on disk in time.
4.. Many thanks for goodies and docs on disk. Look forward to notes re propaganda work as it will help shorted our work considerably. From quick look t docs, appears you still have to send rules re probation ex Janet.
5.. Any news re Elsa sister?
6.. Hope matter of pick up been sorted out between Isabella & Raymond.
7.. Plan to leave here this Sunday. Cheers for now & greetings.
Sent Friday 27th January 1989, TC A1 (V.5, 1)
Here follows assortment of msgs from Elsa (Fri 27th)
1.. Leo to Tony (25th) : Elsa is OK, operation planned. Kids are ok, going to school etc. Auntie with them now. Shanti is here as well. So there are several options. No decision taken yet.
2.. Letter from Elsa dated 12.1.89 : "Having been seen by 2 senior ophthalmologists here (Moscow), I was finally seen today by the Professor, chief of the Eye Dept., himself. This is what they have decided: After proper treatment of the inflammation in my right eye, they will do an operation to remove the cataract. Since there is no damage, as previously thought, to the contact lens to increase visual acuity there. The operation will be done only in about 2 or 3 weeks' time. It then takes between 6 to 12 weeks before the stitches can be removed, whilst the eye heals property after the operation. Since they are aware of my deep concern about the children, they have decided that once the eye is properly healing, I can wait out the remaining weeks back in Zambia, if there is a qualified ophthalmologist there to remove the stitches. There are such people in Zimbabwe, so I won't have to stay here for more than, say, till about the second week in February. The great news is that my blindness is temporary, and they are determined once and for all to knock out the inflammation. Love etc"
3.. Phone 26th : "Operation confirmed for next Wednesday. Have meanwhile had the time and mind to absorb your superb TK installment and birthday card. Paul briefed S extensively before she went down there to your end in case of questioning so don't worry unduly about this. Longing to hear from you. Alongside you forever, Gemma." (Also received telegram today saying much the same thing.)
4.. Seems you didn't get following (21st phoned) : Says sister on way to kids. After assessment eye problem not serious & will see again OK after operation. Operation delayed as they're waiting for inflammation to go. Only simple cataract; no nerves affected. She waiting desperately for your reply & can't understand delay. Says she's lonely cos can't venture out as snow up to window ledges!
5.. Expecting more telegrams in following days. Please respond to Elsa as she's worried.
6.. Dick on line as arranged.
Received Saturday 28th January 1989, TC A1 (V.5, 2)
28 Jan :
1.. TS working! Though it seems that some problems with plug that connect to lighter socket. Will sort it out. Are a/cs paid?
2.. Unless you have pile up of material (wh it would be better to receive on TS. Since it does not mean all the running around that is involved at Zola's) over current 24 hrs I pan to head to Zola tomorrow.
3.. Pls read Elsa. enc sent with John & get it off to Elsa soon. Meanwhile, a few ore words to her: Dearest Elsa, I share your elation & am delighted to hear that blindness will be cured & the inflammation knocked out. I presume they are going to embed the contact lens. Also pleased with news that Shirene is with kids, & that Shanthee has also joined them. Do you think Bax will now release you? Like you, I have been frantic about the kids, and as much or more about you. All my msgs back and forth leave me with deep gratitude for all that cdes have been doing for us in this period of great stress and difficulties. And it also appears that your current hosts (and I suppose big S personally) have been as accommodating . Am truly buoyed and humbled by your sentiments of deepest love and support. When you have the chance to do so safely, advise whether the TK installment stopped after dealing with crossing or at the start of it. I feel I may be able in the near future to continue the writing. Need to know where to pick up as I did not keep copy! Hope the op goes well & will be back with kids soon. Meanwhile I hug & caress you. And when you see the kids squeeze them for me. All love, Tony ends. PS to Charles, Pls advise at any time today if you have anything to send Cheers & thanks for msgs from Elsa.