Saturday Star

Salute to women in the Struggle

“ONE time we refused to move away from the cell and the police called in reinforcements. They came in with Alsatians to force us out. The only thing we could do was strip naked, all of us stripped and then they left us for a while. Otherwise the Alsatians would have attacked and torn our garments. If you were naked, they wouldn’t be able to bite.”

The group of women huddled in Winnie Mandela’s cell, waiting to go to court during the trial of 22 of 1969. Usually all were in solitary confinement, with this brief dystopian solidarity only through security organisation in the Pretoria Central Prison before they were viciously led into police vans.

Related by Joyce Sikhakhane-Rankin to author Shanthini Naidoo, the raw scene

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