Number 43, Trelawney Park, a modest house in a suburb of Manzini, Swaziland, was for many years a vital base of operations for the ANC. The house was known as KwaMagogo (“place of the grandmother”), after Rebecca Makgomo Masilela – the author’s mother – who provided sustenance and support to the cadres who operated from Swaziland during the liberation struggle.
The book tells the stories of the ANC and PAC cadres who passed through Number 43, revealing their hopes and fears, and highlighting the high price that was paid for liberation. There is also fascinating background on high-profile operations, such as the Church Street bombing, and the activities of Eugene de Kock, Craig Williamson and Dirk Coetzee, as well as the defection of Glory September – ‘turned’ by the security police in 1986 – which unleashed a reign of terror in Swaziland. Rebecca Makgomo Masilela was recently bestowed with Order of Luthuli: Silver for meaningful contribution to the struggle for democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice and peace, and conflict resolution.
Masilela offers a glimpse of what life was like in exile. The reader gets to know about the sacrifices made by young people, the tensions of living in a situation always fraught with danger … as well as coming to terms with betrayal.