In an act that shook the United Nations, 30 South African exiles and 12 Lesotho nationals were wiped out by SADF commandos under the guise of 'fighting terrorism'.
Nomabali Mapela was a toddler on December 9, 1982 – the day South African Defence Force (SADF) soldiers killed 42 people at Ha Thamae village.
In an act that shook the United Nations (UN), 30 South African exiles and 12 Lesotho nationals were wiped out by SADF commandos under the guise of “fighting terrorism”.
Those killed during the SADF cross-border raid, which was described by then Lesotho foreign minister Charles Molapo as a “dastardly, cowardly and barbaric act”, included women and children.
Dr Norman Ngcipe, who was among those who died at the Maseru Massacre. Picture: Supplied
But little did six-year-old Mapela, who lived with her grandmother in the Eastern Cape town of Somerset East, realise that her father, Dr Norman Bantwini “Totose” Ngcipe, a South African doctor who was an ANC underground operative was among those killed.
Yesterday marked the 37th anniversary of the Maseru massacre and for Mapela, remembering her father invoked loss and courage.
She said: “My father sacrificed his life for the liberation of the poor masses. This day reminds us of the many unsung and forgotten heroes of the liberation struggle.
“It reminds us how selflessness has helped this country move from brutal apartheid to democracy.
“My dad was a selfless, peace-loving and humble soul. Life would have definitely been different for me in terms of the opportunities I would have had, having a father who is a medical doctor.
The grave of Dr Norman Ngcipe in Somerset East. Picture: Supplied
“I have definitely learnt that living goes beyond just the self.
“My father could have decided to focus on his medical career but he chose to fight for the liberation of his people. He may be dead but his life lessons continue to give hope to the youth of Somerset East.”
In her father’s honour and as his legacy, Mapela has launched the Dr NB Ngcipe Foundation. The non-profit body “is dedicated to driving positive change in the lives of South Africa’s youth through educational programmes”.
“It is my hope and dream that our programmes will one day produce doctors, engineers, artisans and community leaders with moral values and integrity.”
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