Mark Minnie, the co-author of The Lost Boys of Bird Island, alleged to have committed suicide, is believed to have addressed his co-author Chris Steyn in an apparent suicide note.
In what Minnie called his “last piece of writing,” he told his friend and co-author that he was tired and “looking forward to eternal rest”, according to a statement issued by Tafelberg Publishers on behalf of Steyn.
Minnie also urged Steyn to continue with the work they were doing.
“Chrissy‚ don’t give up now,” he said.
“The pitiful cries of the lost boys of Bird Island have haunted me for the past 31 years. At last their story is out. Chrissy‚ don’t give up now. You are almost home. No government officials preventing you from investigating this time round,” he said.
According to Tafelberg Publishers, the rest of the note is addressed to Minnie’s family.
Steyn, in the statement, included a moving response to the late author’s letter.
“Mark‚ I will keep going. You knew that. I just wish you could have been here to go through all the new leads with me. If only you were still alive to see all the information and incredible confirmation that has come in since the book was published. You would have felt some vindication at last.
“But I have good news‚ Mark. There is already enough to start building a new docket. Once we are ready‚ we will hand it over for further action. That was all you ever wanted. A proper investigation. But you don’t have to worry about it anymore. And nobody is going to steal this docket. Chrissy,” she said.
Not everyone believes Minnie’s death was a suicide.
Last week a relative and long time family friend of Minnie, Tersia Dodo, told the SABC on Wednesday that she did not believe Minnie committed suicide, saying his life was in danger and that she believed the suicide note found at the scene either to be false or not exist at all.
She was allegedly told by Minnie not to believe it if he was reported to have committed suicide.
“My reaction was that it was definitely not a suicide, and it’s the same reaction that we all have had,” she said of Minnie’s family.
“This supposed suicide note was either written under duress [or forged], and I would like to see it before I will believe that it was written by Mark.”
Later in the interview, Dodo mentioned that the alleged suicide note had not been seen by anyone other than the police.
“I don’t believe that a suicide note exists at this stage.”
“I spoke to a couple of my cousins today, and to all of them, he expressed that his life was in danger, and that if anything did happen to him, we must know that it was done to him, not by himself,” Dodo said.
Minnie was found last week by a friend who owns the smallholding where he was last seen alive, in the bushes near the house. He had a gunshot wound to his head. The firearm was next to the body.
Police later claimed to be in possession of a suicide note. Whether this is the same note referenced in Tafelberg’s statement is unclear.
Minnie and Steyn’s book, The Lost Boys of Bird Island, exposes an alleged paedophile ring, implicating two powerful apartheid officials and a businessman.
Since its release, some of Malan’s former colleagues as well as a former newspaper editor have rejected the book’s claims of the apartheid politicians’ involvement in the sexual abuse.
The book tells of “fishing excursions” organised by former minister Magnus Malan, wealthy businessman and police reservist Dave Allen – who died in an apparent suicide at the age of 37 – and National Party environmental affairs minister John Wiley – who also died at 80 by alleged suicide weeks after Allen was found dead with similar gunshot wounds to the head.
On these “fishing excursions” by apartheid government officials, the men were always accompanied by young boys, and a book coming out today reveals why: the boys were given food and booze just before they would be sexually abused.
The boys were flown out on helicopters belonging to the then SA Defence Force (SADF), and the connection becomes clear once one understands that one of the men implicated in this elite ring of paedophiles was the minister of defence, a man who was at the time one of the powerful men in the country, possibly second only to then president PW Botha.
According to the book, the boys were mostly coloured and the rest white, and they were in their early teens. In one gruesome incident, a coloured boy was critically injured when Malan, according to sources, stuck a pistol up the boy’s anus and fired a shot. The child was secretly taken to the white side of a government hospital, guarded by men in suits. Family members and hospital staff were paid to keep quiet.