Family's shock to find brother's remains
THE family of ANC Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) cadres who died in a combat with apartheid forces in 1978 said they still cannot believe that they lived for 34 years not knowing that their brother's remains were buried "just next to them".
Bheki Hlatshwayo, alias MK Bismarch of Mahikeng, and another combatant, Vuyani Goniwe, alias MK Jorrissen of Alice in Eastern Cape, formed part of a unit that skipped the country to join MK.
In October 1978 they left Lusaka and crossed into South Africa over the Botswana border.
They entered Masutlhe village outside Mahikeng, North West. They were camped on a farm under an acacia tree when they suddenly heard helicopters hovering above them. They were fatally shot.
A fellow unit member, Tladitsaga Molefe, alias MK Ncosi, was shot in the leg and captured the following day.
He was later charged in the Pietermaritzburg treason trial and imprisoned on Robben Island.
The skeletal remains of Hlatshwayo and Goniwe were squeezed into one coffin and buried in an unmarked grave at the old Mmabatho Cemetery.
Their remains were exhumed on Friday in Mahikeng after a long search.
Hlatshwayo's sister, Sarafina Hlatshwayo of Tloung village in Mahikeng, said she could not believe that for the past 34 years her brother was buried where she lived.
She said the search for her brother was painful but now she was relieved.
She said in 1994 she went to Luthuli House (known as Shell House) and was told that his brother died in South Africa. In March 2011 she received the shocking news that her brother was buried in Mahikeng.
The family, with the help of the police and National Prosecuting Authority, found the grave in April this year. About 10 graves had to be excavated in search of the two.
North West provincial spokesman Lesiba Kgwele said forensic experts had conducted DNA tests to determine the identities of the two as their remains were fragmented by an explosion.