14 September 2015
The Matola Monument and Interpretative Centre was unveiled in Maputo on Friday in a tribute to the anti-apartheid activists killed by security police in a raid on 30 January 1981.
The South African Defence Force of the apartheid government raided the African National Congress (ANC) safe houses in Matola, Maputo and killed 13 members of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and one Mozambican national.
The Mozambican and South African presidents, Filipe Nyusi and Jacob Zuma, both attended the inauguration of the centre. The monument is an effort to redress the historical imbalances in heritage sites, as well as aid social cohesion and nation building.
“The unveiling of the memorial will enable South Africa to pay homage to the fallen soldiers and also acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions made by the Mozambicans towards a free, non-racial and democratic South Africa,” the Presidency said.
Three red pillars in the centre of the monument are inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives in the raid. The multimedia information centre contains photographs and documents chronicling the anti-apartheid journey, and the joint effort of Mozambique and South African freedom fighters to end apartheid.
Nyusi said that through the raid, “the apartheid regime once again showed its true cruel and inhuman face”. He described the attack as “a clear affront against our territorial integrity and sovereignty, our peace and all forms of human rights”.
Zuma added: “The opening of this monument stands as a witness of freedom and it also stands as a testament to the resilience of our people. This monument is our testimony to the world that we have conquered in trying times.”
Ties that bind
The monument was also a symbol of the strong bonds of friendship between South Africa and Mozambique, Zuma said. “We must together grapple with the strategic questions facing our peoples, such as unemployment, inequality and poverty. We must work together as we face these challenges.”
Earlier in the day, the two presidents laid wreaths in Llhanguene Cemetery, at the graves of the victims of the raid. They also unveiled a large collective gravestone for the South African freedom fighters who died at Matola.