When Apla cadre Kenneth Motsamai walks out of the prison gates in Boksburg today, he will walk into a new political environment to what it was when he was imprisoned 27 years ago.
He will be welcomed by members of his own organisation the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) and those of the new political kid on the block, the EFF, singing alongside one another.
There will be no apartheid police casspirs and white police officers carrying teargas canisters and heavy machine guns to mow them down. It is a democratic environment where demonstration and protest are constitutionally guaranteed.
Motsamai is a PAC member, while his daughter, Busi, is an EFF activist.
Motsamai allegedly shot and killed a white policeman, for which he was sentenced to two life sentences.
But according to wife Mantombi Motsamai, that was later changed to armed robbery so that the sentence did not qualify as a political offence in order to prevent her husband from being classified as a political prisoner.
Motsamai is one of more than 100 Apla cadres said to be in prison to date. Many unsuccessful representations were made for their release since 1994.
Busi, whose mother was pregnant with her when her father was sentenced in the 1980s, blamed the ANC government for her father’s delayed release.
Busi says she joined the EFF because it came to her aid when she was campaigning for Motsamai’s release. The party gave her transport money and food to travel to visit her father at the Boksburg correctional facility.
Motsamai was expected to be released at about 11am, but there was a delay.
Prison officials were standing guard outside the prison gates while PAC and EFF members sang freedom songs and toyi-toyied together peacefully.