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Walter Volker

Mbokondo. Inside MK: Mwezi Twala - A Soldier's Story - Twala, Mwezi & Benard, Ed

Mbokondo. Inside MK: Mwezi Twala - A Soldier's Story - Twala, Mwezi & Benard, Ed

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Mbokodo is a Xhosa word which means 'the grinding stone.' This name was given to the security branch of the African National Congress's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, because it 'ground' people in the same way that the grinding stone crushes corn to meal.
Mwezi Twala was born in 1944. His parents were staunch supporters of the ANC and he was brought up with a strong sense of personal worth and dignity. The cruelty and humiliation of apartheid were the crucible in which his spirit was forged to resist tyranny wherever he found it.
He left South Africa in 1975 to join Umkhonto we Sizwe. He was trained in the USSR and worked as an MK instructor in Mozambique, Zambia, and Angola before being incarcerated in Quatro, the 'rehabilitation camp' that he had helped build.
After working as an instructor for some time, he had realised that the ANC in exile had lost the spirit of Albert Luthuli and that the armed struggle had failed. The leaders in Lusaka lived well while the cadres - underfed, suffering from malaria and other tropical diseases, and prevented from following their desire to join the liberation struggle in South Africa - rotted in Angolan camps. Cadres who dared to complain about their enforced inactivity and poor conditions were brutally punished and labelled as dissidents, as were those who attempted to resign from the ANC in order to fight the apartheid regime on their own. Eventually, they had risen in revolt.
After escaping from Dakawa camp in Tanzania, he returned to South Africa and became a founder member of the Returned Exiles Coordinating Committee, a group that endeavours to protect the interests of victims of the Mbokodo. He now works as an organiser for the Inkatha Freedom Party. His story is one of indomitable courage in the face of adversity.

Jonathan Ball Publishers, Johannesburg, 1994, 1-86842-016-7, Hb

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