This is my last message out of the civic prison of Glenmore.
I am Vellie Ben Mafani. My Afterlife Long Ago…
Road to the freedom, my historical background on this world. On behalf of my will I would like to say to all of the people who helped me, well done, we made it.
Mr. Whisson Prof. Tel. 046 6223382
Mr. David McGreger Daily Dispatch Cell. 082 335 4764
Mr. Jock Adv. Cell. 083 444 8231
Mrs. Johnson. Mother of mother. Cell. 082 268 0223
Mr. Paddy. Father of the father. Cell. 076 916 1166
Miss. Michelle. Well done. Go forward to your career. God Bless you.
I request all my assistants to bury me after life. I have no insurance, I am disadvantaged. I have no one to bury me because all of my family died. So I request all my friends, God’s voice to help me. Also Miss Michelle you must deliver this letter to all these people I mention in the letter. I request you to contact all my chosen children namely:
· Monde Willton 071 029 9081
· Nomeliknaya 073 247 844
· Rubbin Pin-Pin Mafana
· Nolekie 073 510 5456
· Nonto Pheta
· Mabuti Pheta
All these people after my life you must contact. They are all my friends and they must follow these cases and also put pressure on the government with regards to the people that died in the Fish River. The government must dig up the innocent people otherwise they will have no rest and no freedom. All these cases reference as following.
All these cases I submitted to the Presidential Office Pretoria Hot Line (17737). Case references:
1. No. 273514
3. No. 3405891
4. No. 3406132
5. No. 3492168
My ID. Number is 5312275537086
My Cell Number is 083 541 0535
Place, Ngqushwa Munipality at Glenmore. Any person must follow up on all these cases after my life has ended. The terrible crisis and murder, the corruption in Glenmore Township.
You call the Hot Line (17737) and wait for instructions. Give them my Id. No. and Cell No. Place, Ngyushwa Municipality.
Me, Ben Mafani, never met Piet Kloornhof, he died in 2006, at the age of 82 years. But I hope to come face to face with Kloornhof in the after-life because I have a question. Why did the Apartheid cabinet minister forcibly remove us from the land where God knows we were born and we belong with God? I want to know why my family and thousands of other people were forcibly removed from the white South Africa three decades ago and dumped in plank houses at Glenmore on the edge of the Ceskie. It has been my question from that day in April 1979 when the police arrested me at my house in Coega near Port Elizabeth and officially destroyed my home and trucked away my family and my people. During this time Kloornhof was the minister of what was euphemistically called the Department of Co-operation and Development and as such bore political responsibility for the forced removal programme. Kloornhof was no stranger to forced removals, in 1971 after a visit to one of the most notorious dumping grounds in the Eastern Cape he declared there would be no more Dimbazas. I am not prepared to have in humane treatment on my conscience I said. But it was also on record that I say South Africa was a white man’s land and that instilling in the Bantu a longing to join his own people in the homelands was a white man’s patriotic duty to President Thabo Mbeki, to the Department of Justice and to the Public Protector.
The replies have always been vague on my eyes playing hide and seek. Nobody took this crisis in Glenmore seriously so in 2004 I decided on illegal action as a way of drawing attention in the High Court. I took a 47km taxi ride to Grahamstown and stood in High Street and threw a rock through the window of the High Court. I was arrested and spent several months in prison awaiting trial but the case was dropped. I was denied my day in court. I contemplated over the matter for several years.
In September in 2007 I went back to the high court and threw another brick and again in 2008. This one I have now is carefully painted black to show that the people of Glenmore are sitting in a black Civic Prison, painted with red showing that I cry the blood of my family and people of Glenmore. People comment and complain. They say in the eyes of the law I am a convicted criminal but to the people of Glenmore, of the forgotten community that was dumped in the veld during Apartheids forced removals 30 years ago, I returned home, welcome, after being tested for insanity and jailed for months.
I tirelessly campaign for a better life for my people. Long ago I earned the reputation of the Mandela of Glenmore. I say sorry, I am no Mandela. I am the son of God, son of blood, son of the nation. I lost everything I treasured, my wife and my children, my cars, wealth, cattle, dignity and eventually my freedom after I was dumped in the former Ciskei until now. I visited to the Ngqushwa municipality on the 20 May 2013 and the person dealing with the matter Mr. M. Voko (040 6733095 – fax – 040 6733771) said, “attention Mr. Vellie Ben Mafani: Glenmore site – ERF 355 according to our records the abovementioned ERF is registered under Ceskei government”. I refused to give up the fight for justice on which I have spent decades and all the money I had lobbying Presidents Premier and anyone else I could think of that may create change with no success.
However, some of the top legal brains rallied behind me when I held a symbolic protest by smashing three small windows at the Grahamstown High Court and I waited patiently to be arrested in September 2007. After languishing in jail and facing a stint in a psychiatric hospital I grabbed headlines when the presiding magistrate was moved to say in his judgement that he hoped doors would now finally open for the forgotten community in the eyes of the community. He said that the hero had finally scored a major victory by finally telling the world about their heart-wrenching plight although only 47km from Grahamstown.
I am mainly desperately poor. Supporters could not attend my trial and I kept up with a lone crusade by sharing snippets from dog eared newspapers. Arriving at the dustbowl in an open Bukkie on Tuesday I was immediately whisked off to a community meeting without even being given a chance to wash or unpack my bag. Hailing me as a hero, rich and poor from across the political sphere. Flocked to the Glenmore community and plotting a way forward for the whole community and praising me. ANC ward committee member Xolisile Khaas said to the Daily Dispatch that I was an unsung hero who had the support of the community. “The people of Glenmore salute you. We thank you for your struggle and we hope that you carry on for us.”
The Mafani ordeal moved one elderly man so much that he said he was prepared to dig into his own pocket to try to fund the fight for justice. “I am poor but will give whatever money I can to try and help you fight for justice for all of us.” During the meeting it was agreed that a delegation be sent with Mafani to land affairs in East London to get the case by handing over documentation, their plight of being forcibly removed at gunpoint in 1979. Many of the elderly people who turned up for the welcome had expressed shock when they first heard that only one section of the community from Klipfontein had been included in land claims. Several other communities in Glenmore had apparently missed the deadline even though a delegation allegedly made the application on behalf of the whole village 10 years ago. What about Coega, Colchester and the others? We are all here together and must all be included in the land claim. My focus is on all the people of Glenmore that were forcibly removed. If you were moved in 1979 you must be part of the claim.
Retired Rhodes University anthropology professor Michael Whisson, who helped run food parcels through to Glenmore when 3500 people were dumped in tomato box shacks under minister Piet Kloornhof orders, vowed to continue the fight for people to go home. Whisson said it was hoped a commission of enquiry would be held into the forgotten people of Glenmore. He also urged a delegation to accompany Mafani to Land Affairs in East London to hand over the documents relating to their plight. The magistrate pushed open the door and said “it is up to you and the leader to go through. It is said Ben Mafani is a leader like Mandela,” he said to murmurs of approval from the crowd. While some hoped for financial compensation the community however was divided on whether they should leave the rural hamlet and return to their rightful homes. Those who wanted to stay called for investment in the area to help properly farm the lands.
I do not want to be here alive but I remember my children and my wife and all the children of Glenmore and I cry. My heart is in pain. I dream of those people in the graveyard and they talk to me in my sleep. They say “why do you leave me like this? and where did I get my backbone? I cannot rest as one of my concerns is that the graveyard is in the Fish River and will be washed away in a flood. But the dreams are more complex and raise the question of development and unfulfilled promises. I am a devout member of the old apostle church where I serve as a brother encouraging the community to attend church. I believe God has given me the power to keep going despite only reaching standard 6 (grade 8).
Mafani he will be found at his tiny two room home at his table from 10pm to midnight penning letters to all and sundry demanding they visit to Glenmore and bring development. One of my requests is for young girls and boys to be lured away from the shabeens and be given recreational programmes to be productive. My letters have frequently asked President Zuma and Eastern Cape Premier to simply visit. I have also demanded that there needs to be a full inquiry into corruption and maladministration. But not a single government official has visited and most of them do not respond to my letters. My list is also aimed at ordinary members of the public. Books for the three schools, rugby and soccer balls and stuff to keep teenage girls entertained.
Occupied Glenmore has a complex history; its residents have been seen as outsiders since the day they arrived. R26 million which was budgeted for development has gone missing. My actions were carefully planned and thought out coming as they did after more than thirty years of peaceful resistance to the attack on my community. The campaign has drained me from holding a good post as a security supervisor at the Port Elizabeth Airport. The forced removal to Glenmore has reduced me to a casual labourer doing odd jobs. I owned a car and a township home in Port Elizabeth. Both were sold to finance for the campaign. It has been so hard that neighbours occasionally have to give me a plate of food. But I got out there. Not just to the politicians, I fired off letters to the Human Rights Commission, the Scorpions, the Public Protector, the National Prosecuting Authority, it’s quite a list. I do not see myself as a trouble maker or criminal. I say I will accept help from anyone.
My last words and message to all of South Africa:
I am going to die in the prison of my life. Thank you. God bless all of them.
From Villie Ben Mafani