Families of Matola Victims to Find Closure (allAfrica.com)

The families of people, who were killed in Matola, Mozambique, during what has come to be known as the Matola Raid on 30 January 1981, will finally find closure.

This as their contribution to a democratic South Africa will be recognised in an event to be attended by President Jacob Zuma next week.

The event will honour the lives of cadres of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the former military wing of the African National Congress (ANC), who were killed during the raid will take place on 11 September as part of the Heritage Month activities.

President Zuma will be accompanied by Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, who will unveil the Matola Memorial and Interpretative Centre in Maputo.

Rajnund Rabilal, the brother of Krishna Rabilal, who was killed during the Matola raid, said he was happy that government was giving the people who died during the raids in Matola recognition.

“There are a lot of comrades that died… people who lost their loved ones who have been buried in foreign countries, still have no closure.

“I think this monument being open and the families being invited to it will, bring closure to the families,” Rabilal said.

The monument will not only be a reminder of those who died during the raid, but will also act as a testimony to the supreme price the people of Mozambique paid to help liberate South Africa.

The SA Defence Force carried out a raid on ANC houses in Matola, Mozambique on January 30, 1981. Sixteen South Africans and one Portuguese national were killed.

Krishna was 28-years-old when he passed away in 1981. He had been living in exile for five years where he did military training in East Germany, Angola, Botswana, Tanzania, Swaziland and Mozambique.

He said his family found out about his brother’s death in the newspapers as the ANC was banned at the time.

“Things were so secretive then… . you couldn’t talk to anyone from the ANC.

“We knew there were attacks on the ANC in Mozambique but we never thought that my brother was involved,” he said.

The Rabilal family was shocked when they found out about the raids.

“Initially we didn’t tell our parents that my brother had passed away. We told them he was injured and we were going to see him in Mozambique,” Rabilal said.

When his parents found out about his brother’s death they were shattered but remained calm and composed.

“When my brother died my parents never criticized the political parties that were involved. They accepted that this was his calling, something he chose,” he said.

Rabilal’s parents have since passed away.

Last year, President Jacob Zuma visited the Rabilal family and told them about Krishna’s life as well as provided the family with some details of what happed during the raid.

Rabilal described his brother as a man who was committed to fighting against injustices.

“He had a fantastic personality, there was nobody that did not like him, he was shy and reserved. He was also involved in a number of community organisations,” he said.

Rabilal will be going to Mozambique next week with his wife, brother and some people from the Krishna Rabilal Foundation.

“The memorial is long overdue, we appreciate that it is happening. The family is very excited to be going to Mozambique. I have been to Mozambique a few times while the monument was being built,” he said.

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