Nelson Mandela led not only the African National Congress, or ANC, but also Umkhonto we Sizwe, the Spear of the Nation, its armed wing:
In 1983, the Church Street bomb was detonated in Pretoria near the South African Air Force Headquarters, resulting in 19 deaths and 217 injuries. During the next 10 years, a series of bombings occurred in South Africa, conducted mainly by the military wing of the African National Congress.
In the Amanzimtoti bomb on the Natal South Coast in 1985, five civilians were killed and 40 were injured when MK cadre Andrew Sibusiso Zondo detonated an explosive in a rubbish bin at a shopping centre killing five people, including three children, shortly before Christmas. In a submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the ANC stated that Zondo acted on orders after a recent SADF raid in Lesotho.
A bomb was detonated in a bar on the Durban beach-front in 1986, killing three civilians and injuring 69. Robert McBride received the death penalty for this bombing which became known as the “Magoo’s Bar bombing”. Although the subsequent Truth and Reconciliation Committee called the bombing a “gross violation of human rights”, McBride received amnesty and became a senior police officer.
In 1987, an explosion outside a Johannesburg court killed three people and injured 10; a court in Newcastle had been attacked in a similar way the previous year, injuring 24. In 1987, a bomb exploded at a military command centre in Johannesburg, killing one person and injuring 68 personnel.
The bombing campaign continued with attacks on a series of soft targets, including a bank in Roodepoort in 1988, in which four civilians were killed and 18 injured. Also in 1988, in a bomb detonation outside a magistrate’s court killed three. At the Ellis Park rugby stadium in Johannesburg, a car bomb killed two and injured 37 civilians.
The TRC found that torture was “routine” and was official policy – as were executions “without due process” at ANC detention camps particularly in the period of 1979–1989.
South African police statistics indicate that, in the period 1976 to 1986, approximately 130 deaths were attributed to the Umkhonto we Sizwe. Of these, about thirty were members of various security forces and one hundred were civilians. Of the civilians, 40 were white and 60 black.
Wikipedia’s suggested further reading is literally Communist propaganda:
- Vladimir Shubin (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences), “Unsung Heroes: The Soviet Military and the Liberation of Southern Africa”, Cold War History, Vol. 7, No. 2, May 2007
- Vladimir Shubin, Moscow and ANC: Three Decades of Co-operation and Beyond
- Rocky Williams, see articles in the Journal of Security Sector Management and others