Kholisile Dyakala was 33 when he was hanged by the apartheid government‚ and his family never got a chance to give him a proper burial.
Now‚ 31 years later‚ the United Democratic Front (UDF) political prisoner’s family will finally give him a decent funeral and find closure.
Dyakala is one of 13 UDF prisoners who were sentenced to death and hanged at Kgosi Mampuru Prison.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha will on Monday hand over the exhumed remains of the UDF prisoners to their families in Port Elizabeth.
“The group was hanged at the Kgosi Mampuru gallows for incidents that took place during the period of intense political turmoil in the Eastern Cape between 1985 and 1986‚” the department said.
“The handover is part of the gallows project‚ which entails the exhumation‚ handover and reburial of the remains of 83 political prisoners who were hanged at the Kgosi Mampuru gallows and buried in unmarked graves.”
A total of 130 political prisoners were hanged at the gallows between 1960 and 1990.
Fezeka Dyakala‚ Kholisile’s sister‚ said her brother was arrested in 1985‚ sentenced to death and hanged in 1986.
“He was arrested when he was 33 years old. He was married with five children. The youngest child was only three years old when he was hanged.”
She said her brother got into politics because he wanted a better life for his family.
“He was a very responsible man. He was very handsome and a charmer.”
Fezeka said the family was relieved that Dyakala’s remains will be reburied.
“We are very happy and grateful that we will finally get to give my brother a decent funeral. We did not have a funeral when he was hanged. We only gathered as a family and prayed.”
Kholisile and other prisoners’ bodied were exhumed in August. All families were present and given an opportunity to view their graves and remains.
“That was a very emotional moment for us‚ because we could see how they were buried and how the bodies were placed. We also got to see the gallows where they were hanged.”
Fezeka said her brother will be buried next his parents in Port Alfred on 25 November.
The other prisoners whose remains were exhumed for return to their families are Mangena Boesman‚ Raymond Gwebushe‚ Ndumiso Siphenuka‚ Makhezwene Menze‚ Benjamin Gxothiwe‚ Zwelidumile Mjekula‚ Thobile Llyod‚ Siphiwe Lande‚ Lungile Rewu‚ Tsepo Letsoara and Sipho Mahala.