July 11, 2014

On this day July 12th

DARC Ethiophile Chronicles

On this day

July 11, 1988 the "Sharpeville Six" narrowly escape executions.  

On 11 July 1988, Duma Khumalo, Oupa "Scotch" Diniso, Ja-ja Sefatsa, Theresa Ramashamola, Francis Mokhesi and Reid Mokoena, better known as the "Sharpeville Six", narrowly escaped their scheduled hangings by fifteen hours.  

A huge sigh of relief came to the "Sharpeville Six" after Justice Minister Kobie Coetsee granted them an indefinite stay of execution.  Initially there were eight people charged, but Christian Mokubung and Gideon Mokone were released earlier. “The Sharpeville Six” were found guilty of murdering Sharpeville Deputy Mayor Jacob Kuzwayo Dlamini, who was beaten and burnt to death by an angry mob on 3 September 1984.  They faced execution once convicted.  

Before the murder of Dhlamini, Sharpeville residents were protesting against rent increases by the town council. The rent boycott was also a general protest against corrupt councilors and the unjust apartheid system. Three months after the incident the "Sharpeville Six" were arrested, tried and sentenced. They spent four years on death row.  

Their death penalties were later commuted to prison sentences, ranging from twenty-five years to life. Reprieve came in 1991 when negotiations between liberation organizations and the apartheid government led to the release of all political prisoners. The "Sharpeville Six" were granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) but were never compensated for their ordeal in prison.

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