About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

07 Dec 1999: Moosa, Mohammed Valli

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

POM     Nice to see you. Tell me about the new job first. You love it, you enjoy it?

MVM     I certainly do enjoy it. It's very difficult when you're a minister in one administration and election time comes and you've got to wait to see what new portfolio you will be allocated, or whether you will allocated a portfolio, or whether you would become a back-bencher. I can't say, again because I've never been back-bencher, it would have been a new experience for me. In the private recesses of my mind I was hoping that I'd be made Minister for Environmental Affairs & Tourism but being the sort of person that I am I did not share that with people for two reasons, one because if you don't get the post then people know that you are terribly disappointed and I would prefer to keep my emotions to myself. So if you then get allocated a different portfolio or no portfolio they wouldn't know that you've been disappointed. The second reason is because I thought if I do go around telling people, because lots of people ask you, they say, "Would you prefer to go on in the same portfolio? What is the ideal portfolio you'd like to be in, etc.?" If you tell people that, there's a fine line between doing that and to be seen to be lobbying for a post and I didn't want to be doing that. I thought it's not a nice thing to do. It's not a dignified thing to do to be lobbying for a cabinet post. So when I did get the post I was very elated.

     Of course it was probably 2.30 am in the morning when the President said to me that he would like me to be minister for Environmental Affairs & Tourism and I said, "Wonderful. You did know that I'm an environmentalist didn't you?" And he said, "I would like you to concentrate on tourism, I'm very worried about what's happening in tourism." I said, "Thank you very much. I have a deputy minister?" And he said, "Yes you will." The deputy minister of course is Joyce Mabuda-Fhasi whom you should have been interviewing over the years if you haven't been. She and I have been associated for almost two decades in the struggle. I know her very, very well, she's from the Northern Province. She used to be in the Northern Transvaal UDF in the old days, heydays of the struggle in the eighties and we have a long association. She's put me up, whenever I was in the Northern Province, at a house. When she was imprisoned in Pietersburg and I in Johannesburg we secretly exchanged letters and communicated with each other to keep each other going.

POM     How were you able to do that?

MVM     As detainees we were allowed to receive a limited number of letters from family and the prison authorities would, of course, read the letters and censor them if need be, blot out or cut out some parts which they think shouldn't be in such a letter, if it's not obviously family related, or they would not give you the letter at all if they didn't feel like it and they would stamp it with the prison stamp and you would then receive the letter. Obviously one prisoner could not communicate with another prisoner in terms of their rules so she would write a letter to me pretending to be a relative, sign off as a relative, she would smuggle the letter out of her prison, get somebody to go to a post office in Pietersburg and post the letter to the prison in Johannesburg. It would arrive there as a relative from Pietersburg and I would get the letter and I would reply to her, smuggle it out of Johannesburg Prison and post it to her prison and she would receive it. Of course prison warders were not like you, university professors, they were prison warders and they were not necessarily trained to understand that one could say a great deal using the language that the brother would use to a sister or a cousin to a cousin.

     I of course also had very hectic correspondence with Trevor Manuel who was in Victor Verster when he was detained and we had a similar sort of arrangement with each other and we used to write to each other. It's just a great pity that I lost all of it because, as you know, I escaped from prison.

POM     I know, that's what I want to talk to you about.

MVM     I didn't take all of the stuff I had.

POM     You didn't collect all your say I'm going to take all my files with me?

MVM     No I lost them. I tried to smuggle them out, when I knew I was going to escape I tried to smuggle out as much as I could but I can't for the life of me remember now what the complicated arrangements were. I think somebody who knows me has got some of my letters. I don't know. Perhaps my daughter's mother may, she's the only person other than my mother who was allowed to visit me. Of course we were not involved with each other but I listed her as a common law wife, I thought I could get away with doing that especially if we had a child together. She wasn't my common law wife, she wasn't even my girlfriend. But she used to visit me, she was a comrade of course, and I still think that maybe she's got it, maybe she's forgotten what she's done with it.

     Anyway, so in short I like this job, I'm happy that I have this deputy minister. It's very important for a minister

POM     Is she concentrating on the environment side?

MVM     Let me tell you firstly, we complement each other's skills very much. We're of a slightly different generation, she's probably 15 years older than I am, she's a woman, I'm a man. She's lived in rural areas all her life, I've lived in the centre of Johannesburg all my life. So we bring different perspectives I think which is quite useful. She has served as a back-bencher on the Environment Portfolio Committee of parliament for the past five years so she knows a great deal more than I do about some aspects of the subject matter and she has a passion for it. I deal with tourism because I thought that was what the President meant that morning. I deal with it myself. It's the first time in our history that a cabinet minister deals with tourism himself, but also because it's a national priority.

POM     Jobs?

MVM     I think that the country expects that. Our election manifesto had sorry, my usual wandering ways but I'll come back to what I'm saying. Our election manifesto is the first thing that we would concentrate on, jobs more than anything else because that's what our voters were telling us. Coming close to that was crime but jobs was the highest. The Job Summit out of which the Business Trust arose and the Business Trust has put together a billion rand. Two areas of concentration to create jobs are (i) education to improve the school system, and (ii) tourism. That's the Business Trust, it's raised a billion rand from the private sector to put into tourism, so you can see that it's not just our voters but it's a consensus in society. So I've got to take it on myself, we've got to give it high priority and I've got to take on not too much other stuff in my portfolio so that I can concentrate on this. I've been putting 75% to 80% of my time into tourism.

     The Deputy Minister deals with a number of important environmental matters, especially those that require global international interactions, climate change, all of the air pollution related stuff would go on there, waste management related matters she deals with.

POM     Coastal management.

MVM     The Weather Bureau and recently Marine & Coastal Management, the fishing industry but also more broadly Marine & Coastal Management. I deal with bio-diversity because that's quite closely related to nature conservation, areas of our country, the national parks, the Kruger Park, all of those sorts of things. One, I have quite a passion for that but also it's very closely linked to my tourism work so I do that and so the other environmental matters would fall under the deputy minister. But we also work as a team on most things, areas of concentration, but we tend to work as a team and she has a flair and a passion for those areas so it works out very well and I'm very fortunate because it's not easy for a minister and deputy minister, both politicians, both of whom want to get re-elected, want to have their pictures in the newspapers, want to make the important announcements that need to be made, want to take credit for what the ministry or the department is doing. It's not always easy I've found in our experience in the past few years and speaking to ministers I interact with from other parts of the world, it's not an easy relationship. So I'm very fortunate and I'm very happy that we have this. The most important thing is there's a relationship of trust because we know each other for a long time. I don't think the President knew that we were that close to each other. He expressed surprise the next day when we were being sworn in when I told him.

     We genuinely go a long way back. I remember going to the north to visit her in hospital when the regime had planted a bomb at her bedroom window while she was asleep. They used to use a nail bomb which dispersed these little nails and she had countless number of pieces of steel all over in her body, bruised right through. I spoke to her the other day, some of it hasn't been removed completely. The few that are left in her body would come to the surface at times and she would be able to feel it and then take it out. It's a most horrible, all over her face, most horrible.

POM     I must interview her.

MVM     You'll find her actually quite an interesting person. Apart from the struggle thing everything else about her, she's very interesting.

POM     But you're in an area where if SA can't create jobs in tourism, it can't create jobs? It's almost, not quite as far as that but

MVM     You know I think that's quite a lot of expectation that tourism will be the new gold and that's why I'm working my backside off. But I must tell you, Padraig, I had to ask myself the question: is this hype for real or does everybody say tourism is going to create jobs but they haven't done their homework, they haven't done their numbers, that it's not going to work? I have to ask myself that question and I am quite satisfied that the scope is phenomenal, the scope is phenomenal to create hundreds of thousands of permanent jobs in the economy over the next few years through tourism. I am pretty confident. Provided we get our act together and that's what I'm busy doing, we're trying to get our act together.

     We spoke to a wonderfully clever Irishman the other day who was down here for a workshop that we had, a two-day workshop, I attended half of it, ministers are never present at a whole workshop.

POM     What was his name?

MVM     I can't remember. I find Irish names very difficult.

POM     Was he from the Tourism Board?

MVM     Yes.

POM     He was from the Irish Tourism Board.

MVM     Irish Tourism Board, he was responsible for heading up the turn-around and the building of the tourism industry in Ireland over the past ten years and he walked us through this wonderful journey that Ireland went through and what it took and how they started off with the same terribly negative bad press that SA has, violence, unfriendly people, unsophisticated: what the hell are you going to do there? I think we've probably got much more going for us than Ireland had at the time. They didn't have a new nation being born, a new democracy. A lot of people they are just like us because they like SA, lots of people round the world for all sorts of reasons. They didn't have a Mandela-type figure looming so large, but they did it very well and he walked us through that journey. But that's what we're going to do, Padraig.

POM     Do you have studies done or at your disposal that would show the multiplier effect? Given a new hotel

MVM     The World Travel & Tourism Council did a study in 1998 which was released at the World Economic Forum two weeks after I came into this job in the middle of this year. World Economic Forum held in Durban, it was quite something because tourism was a big issue in this WEF meeting. I was two weeks in the job, you know that I haven't been an expert at tourism, certainly not, and there I was having to speak in this global forum authoritatively about tourism, confidently. But I did that, that's what I get paid to do, and they released this report in which they said that for every 17 international tourists that come to SA, one permanent job gets created in the tourism industry and for every 7.8 international tourists that come to SA one permanent job gets created in the economy as a whole. They've worked out this whole thing in terms of the economic models that they use and even if that is only half true, in other words if you double the numbers for every 16 tourists one job gets created in the economy and for every 34 one job gets created in the tourism industry, I think it's phenomenal. So there have been those sorts of studies.

POM     Now who released this again?

MVM     World Travel & Tourism Council. It's somewhere around, I don't know if they publish it on their web site.

POM     Five years from now if you haven't created 300,000 or 400,000 jobs, chopping block!

MVM     Well I wouldn't see it that way but I think, I would feel I think that's the least that we can do as a country. I feel quite confident. I must tell you, you cannot believe the time and energy that I'm putting into this thing and getting the support of everybody. Tomorrow morning at ten o'clock in Soweto we launch a campaign, a domestic campaign, aimed at South Africans to get South Africans to understand what tourism could mean to our economy if we do the right things and to get South Africans to be welcoming of tourists. So it's a kind of a welcome campaign aimed at South Africans and we would be telling them things like did you know for every eight international tourists one job is created? Let's welcome tourists. Because we're launching internationally now and it's going to peak between January and March, the biggest ever international marketing campaign this country has embarked upon, to market SA as a tourism destination. Over the next few years we're going to build on that even more. It's a joint campaign between government and the private sector. The Business Trust has put R50 million rand into the campaign, the government has put quite substantial sums into the campaign. To complement that, if we say tourism is going to be one of the fastest growing industries, then we need to begin to behave as a country like we're serious about it. I think we've been mouthing for many years that tourism is important, it has all this potential but we haven't been behaving like we're serious about it and that's one leg of what we need to do.

     We're launching a massive human resource development programme early next year, skills upgrading, learnership programmes, etc. UCT has two months ago launched a post-graduate degree in tourism. We're speaking to the Grahamstown School of Journalism to set up a special unit to train travel journalists. I had a meeting with Professor Guy Burger this morning on it. Wits University is interested in doing something of that sort. We offer Travel & Tourism as a matric subject in 64 high schools now and I hope we will be able to expand on that. If it's to be a growing industry you need to have the right skills base. I've been looking around for an economist who can speak to me intelligently about the economics of tourism and it's been hard to find anybody who is an expert in that field.

     So there's a whole range of things to be done over and above the product development that we're doing. My department has allocated R60 million this year for developing the Soweto Heritage Route because we're finding that there's a great deal of interest amongst tourists, not just in our wild life and our natural beauty but in the people of SA. There are now 1600 tourists that go to Soweto every day, which I think is quite a good figure, and so we're putting money into developing that route, encouraging more of that and at the same encouraging new entrants, particularly blacks to get into the industry because it's a very white dominated industry. So apart from the constitution imperative that we have to bring about equity it's also bad for tourism because more and more tourists come to Africa to have an African experience. I think if you go to northern KwaZulu/Natal, to the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park area, it would be a much better experience if you have a trained professional tour guide who grew up and lives in that area to take you around and to tell you about everything rather than to have a white conservation officer who grew up in Johannesburg or Pretoria taking you around telling you about it, sort of area. Even from that point of view we need to - but I don't know if this is all what you want to talk about Padraig? Because this is my job it's what I talk about all the time. I'll go on for ever.

POM     I've just one comment on your last comment, it's that when people come here as tourists, subconsciously even, even though they've come to enjoy themselves, they look for signs of change, that is they look for blacks to be in positions of authority and to be running things, not to be the waiters in the restaurants or whatever, because then they come away with the impression that not really a lot has changed. It's more subconscious than conscious.

     A couple of things I wanted to talk to you about, one, I remember one evening yourself and Terror Lekota were having dinner, you were both recounting the stories of your escape. His being caught with Popo and you escaping with Murphy Morobe and how you got out and went to the American Consulate and almost forced your way in and much against their wishes and desires said, "Here we are." I'd like to hear the story as a story. It's a nice story.

MVM     I've told you the story Padraig.

POM     You have?

MVM     Haven't I told you the story before?

POM     I don't think so. I'm pretty sure. That was the evening I first heard it.

MVM     Well what part of the story do I tell you?

POM     Tell it as a story, how you did it, how you got in and

MVM     I've got my eye on the clock here. Time is going to be up if I tell this story. It took a very long time to plan. When we were in prison, at the Johannesburg Prison, we were very highly organised, we had committees for all sorts of things.

POM     Were you allowed to interact with each other or were you confined to cells?

MVM     We were allowed limited interaction with each other during the times when they took you out into the courtyard for exercise, we were able to interact with each other. The other times I was in a single cell and a number of us were in single cells, some were in communal cells of up to 30 people. We had a leadership structure, we had all sorts of very well organised - running a little democracy over there for all sorts of things, political education, school education for the children who were detained with us, all sorts of lessons going on and all sorts of plotting and planning. And of course we had an Escape Committee whose responsibility it was to decide on all matters related to escape. So you could only attempt an escape if the Escape Committee said you could attempt an escape. If the Escape Committee said you will attempt an escape you had to attempt an escape. That was a highly regimented, disciplined approach you use when you're in prison.

     Anyway, four of us, Murphy Morobe, Vusi Khanyile and Zwelaki Sisulu, were instructed to escape. Of course I didn't need much encouragement to be part of the escape and together with the Escape Committee we started planning the whole escape and preparing ourselves. I must say that at times it's quite a daunting thought and you do think at times, well I'm now in prison and they will release me at some point in time, the interrogation is over, they're not troubling me any more, they're just keeping me here now, do I need this trouble in my life because it's unpredictable, you don't know what would happen, you don't know whether you will get shot in the process of escaping or whether you will get caught or whether things would become worse for you or whatever else. You go through, everybody goes through moments of weakness, you go through that sort of thing.

     The long and the short of the story is that we had a million and one scenarios of course which we had to play out in our minds and settle on one of them eventually after long lengthy debates because we had all the time to debate in prison. The one that we settled on was that was the time when for certain ailments we worked out a way of the prison hospital, the District Surgeon who was responsible for the health of the detainees referred you to an outside hospital, outside the prison, in this case the Johannesburg Hospital. One of those was for psychological treatment or psychiatric treatment, another was for broken bones and stuff like that. I suffer from ankylosing spondylitis, quite genuinely I've suffered from it all my life, it's a terrible arthritic sort of disease of the spine, I'm on anti-inflammatories all the time. I got the District Surgeon to refer me for physiotherapy to the Johannesburg Hospital, so once a week the Security Police would come to the prison, handcuff me, transport me to the Physiotherapy Ward at the Johannesburg Hospital and I would be treated there. It was a wonderful break, it was like a nice outing, and of course you met real people there, the physiotherapists and over a period of months you got the physiotherapist who likes you and to wonder why a decent , intelligent, sensitive person like you was being treated in this horrible way, sort of a sympathy, an empathy would develop over a period of time and of course the Security Police who took you were more or less the same group of people, slight variation here and there. So you had lots of opportunity to interact with them, present yourself as a gentleman, as somebody who's here to make their life easier, who empathises with their situation and certainly wouldn't do anything to cause them an upset, you're not a wild revolutionary type of person.

     Then Zwelaki Sisulu and I got the District Surgeon to refer us for psychological therapy and it was easy for us because we were quite prominent people. All you would do is go to the District Surgeon and say, "I'd like to see a psychologist", and he would say, "I'm not referring you to a psychologist. For what purpose?" So you would say to him, "I have sent a message to my lawyer yesterday. I told him that you would come into the prison today, I'm going to see the District Surgeon and I'm going to tell him that I'm suicidal and I need to see a psychologist, and if you say no, if anything happens to me you're going to be in big shit." So he would refer you to a psychologist, so Zwelaki and I were going once a week to see the psychologist,  a wonderful woman Ruth Benjamin, a Hasidic Jew, used to see me and we got to know each other quite well. I was more interested in the life and times of a Hasidic Jew because I had never come across such a person before.

POM     So you were going now to two different therapy sessions?

MVM     Two different therapy sessions. Murphy had developed a genuine knee problem. He needed to have some fluid removed from his knee. It's the sort of thing that people go to, you walk in and out, you hardly see a mark, it's not like they cut you up or anything. Of course he went in for that and he couldn't walk, so he said, after that and he needed to be on a crutch. So he came back to the prison hobbling on his crutches and the usual regime with that is you go for the operation and two or three rounds of physiotherapy and you're done, but of course every time he went to the physiotherapist his knee just didn't recover so he just went endlessly for therapy and he kept on hobbling on his crutches for ever.

     With Vusi Khanyile I coached him to fake the condition I have and he was going to the physiotherapy ward. Then things didn't work out too well because Zwelaki was still only going to the psychologist and eventually he too was going for physiotherapy. I then said to the head of the Physiotherapy Department two things, I got to know her very well, we would discuss books and literature and all sorts of things, and I said to her that we're very close friends and the prison authorities never, ever allow us to see each other or even greet each other and if you schedule our appointments on the same day at the same time we will at least get to see each other and you will be making a tremendous contribution. I played on her heartstrings of course and I said to her that she has the authority to determine when her patients come to see her, she is king of her castle, Security Police are not entitled to tell her when she is to see her patients. So she did that.

POM     Was she white, black?

MVM     A white woman, Pam Duke. Of course she had us all coming at the same time on a Thursday morning, I think it was, so we were there at the same time and I said to her that in terms of the law I can't remember which law I quoted, that she is entitled to say to the Security Police that they are not to be present next to the patient when they're receiving treatment, especially not for physiotherapy because the treatment isn't going to work if there's a policeman standing next to the patient.

POM     Psychotherapy?

MVM     No, no, this was physiotherapy. We were all now going for physiotherapy at the same time, the same day of the week, week after week, very predictable. There is no change in it. And I said to her that if you say to them that I've got to see my patient next week Thursday at this time, in terms of the law they're obliged to bring the patient. They cannot terminate the treatment nor can they vary it because the law is on your side in this one. I also said to her that she is to tell them to wait at the door of the ward, it was a huge physiotherapy ward, and not come inside. I said to her, "You're king of your castle, the law entitles you to tell them that they're not to come into your ward." She said that to them and of course she was quite an authoritative woman, she was in command of a workforce of physiotherapists, she was head of a department, she was a matronly sort of woman and she said to them, "I'd prefer it if you stand there." So we went into this ward with no security policemen and we were there week after week.

     There was of course an exit, a way to get out of the ward, exit from the bathroom off the ward itself which would lead you to the fire escape stairway which goes down and they had about three layers of car parks below this massive Johannesburg Hospital. You must have been to that hospital. Then of course we needed to set up the rest of it, the support system from the outside. The only way to do it was if I could get myself admitted as a patient, as a full time patient in the hospital. So I said to Ruth Benjamin, the psychologist, "Look, I want to be admitted to the psychiatric ward, would you recommend to the head of the Psychiatric Department that your patient now needs psychiatric treatment and you recommend that." She said, "But how can I do that? You're obviously not a psychiatric patient. What reasons will I give and they're going to interview you and they'll assess you and they'll know that."  So I said to her, "Will you recommend that I be assessed and leave it to me?" She did that. The head of the Psychiatric Department, they do like a two-hour assessment, they have quite  a long list of very intelligent questions which they go through. They ask you about things and see how you respond. Initially I thought I would try to respond the way in which a psychiatric patient would respond but the head of the department was such a wonderful fellow, he just came across as a decent person. After about half an hour I felt a bit embarrassed bullshitting him so I just left it all and just answered the questions quite honestly and spoke to him in quite a normal way. So another half an hour later he said to me, "Do you think you're a psychiatric patient?" So I said, "No I don't think I'm a psychiatric patient." He said, "Well, what's this all about then?" I said to him, "Put yourself in my situation, if there was half the chance that you could relieve yourself from prison life for a few days and be admitted into hospital with a change of scenery and environment, you would take that chance and that's what I'm doing." And he admitted me to the psychiatric ward. Of course he didn't tell the nurses in the psychiatric ward what he thought, or probably he thought I did need treatment. I don't know. They treated me like a psychiatric patient there, they gave me pills every day which I had great difficulty in trying to hide and not take, those sorts of things. They came to check up on my sleep patterns every half an hour and make notes and whatnot.

     Anyway, I spent three weeks there. It was much worse than being in prison. It was terrible. I hated it. But I was able to establish contact with comrades outside and set up the whole support system outside. What they were to do was to leave a motor car parked for us in the parking garage which is in the basement of the hospital in a particular spot, because each bay is marked, at a numbered bay, we would know the number. We would go into the physiotherapy ward, we would get out of there with the police waiting for us at the entrance, go to the motor car and drive off.

POM     So you'd go to the exit in the ward?

MVM     Yes.

POM     Down the stairs.

MVM     Go down the stairs, get to the parking bay, get into the car. They would leave the key in a certain place in the car, the key to the car. The doors would be open and the parking ticket you get when you come in would be left in a certain prearranged place in the car so that we would have a parking ticket to go out as we go and of course we had money, we had to smuggle money in because you're not allowed to keep money when you're in prison. So we would have money and pay to go out of the parking garage.

     Four of us were there. Everything was set up, on our way and as we were going I don't know whether it was one or more of us had a feeling that somehow felt that we had been noticed by the Security Police. So as we were going down, talking what the hell do we do, because quite clearly we were not going to be able to get away if they were in hot pursuit because we were unarmed, besides we're not soldiers. So we quickly took the decision - let's go back. So we went back into the ward, smuggled ourselves back into the ward, pretended to finish the physiotherapy treatment and they went back to prison and I went back to my psychiatric ward which was three floors up. The following week came and there were a huge number of Security Branch members guarding me on that day for some reason and because there were a larger number than we'd expected it was quite clear that we were not going to be able to make the escape with all of them swarming around there. The only way to do it would be for me to go back to the psychiatric ward because the bigger number would follow me back and then the usual crowd would be there and the rest of them could then go. So I said goodbye to them, bye-bye, felt terrible about it, went up to the psychiatric ward, waited for the Security Police to come for me because they would think I've had a hand in the escape and I would be interrogated, etc., etc. Of course they didn't come, nothing and I had a terrible long wait, long night wait wondering did they escape, did they not escape.

     Next morning I got a message from the prison that they didn't escape and what happened was that they got out, they went to the car park, they went to the bay at which the car was supposed to be and there was no car. There was a car in the bay next door but that wasn't the car that was meant to be there. They thought anyway let's try it. The doors were locked, they tried a few other cars in desperation, perhaps it's a mistake, perhaps it's a different car. All of the cars were locked. So they went back to the ward and back to prison.

POM     Had they been missed?

MVM     They weren't missed by anybody, came back in and went back to prison.

POM     Great security.

MVM     So we tried a third time. The third occasion they came with a message from the Escape Committee to say that if we failed this time I should escape on my own because I am in the psychiatric ward and I should work out a way to escape and go. But on that occasion there were lots of uprisings around and the Security Branch were very busy on that day so they didn't have enough personnel to pick up the patients from the hospital so they came there and they only picked up Murphy Morobe and Vusi Khanyile and for some reason they left Zwelaki Sisulu behind. They said, "We're just short of manpower." The poor fellow complained to the warders at the prison about how terribly, desperately, he needs his treatment because he knew this was now the third attempt and there probably wasn't going to be another attempt. They left him behind.

     These two came. The three of us were there. We went down and we found the car, found the key. Murphy did the driving. Of course that decision was a product long debated about who would be the best and calmest driver and it was decided Murphy would be the person. He drove us out, the route was marked out. On the way the car was dumped and we were picked up in another car by a comrade, dropped off at the Johannesburg Consulate. It was already about 12 o'clock. I think they closed their public section at about 12.

POM     This is the US Consulate?

MVM     Yes, where you apply for visas and such things. We were walking into the public section, we didn't exactly have an appointment. Then we arrived there and I'll tell you the rest of it next time Padraig. Our time is up and I've got another appointment. I genuinely do.

POM     Will I see you before I go?

MVM     When are you going?

POM     I'm going on the 16th.

MVM     Of December?

POM     I'm coming back on 10th January.

MVM     For how long?

POM     Till the end of the month, probably the beginning of February.

MVM     I'll give you the rest of it then. It's a good ten minutes of talking. Now that I've been giving you the whole lot I may as well do it properly.

POM     Yes, that's right.

MVM     You will remember where I stopped?

POM     I'll keep the tape.

MVM     Because it's a nice story what happened after that.

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