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AMASINYORA (article first published : 2001-10-5)

KwaMule Museum is currently presenting the exhibition Amasinyora and Comrades: Crime or Politics.

During the 1980s and early 1990s the township of KwaMashu was engulfed in violent conflict which had both political and criminal undertones. Like many of the townships in South Africa during the 1980s, KwaMashu experienced heightened political resistance.

This political resistance was, however, faced with intense counter-revolutionary measures applied by the apartheid state. It was within this context that a politico-criminal gang called amasinyora emerged in KwaMashu township with K-section as the centre of their activity.

Since amasinyora fitted within the state's counter-revolutionary scheme, the amasinyora gang also received support from the KwaZulu Police (KZP) and the South African Defence Force (SADF). Some members of these state organs were active members of amasinyora, which provided the gang with resources and enabled it to recruit more members and intensify its reign of terror in K-section.

The activities of the gang continued even after the beginning of political changes in 1990 and the worst killings occurred on the occasion of the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990.

The gang, with the continued support of the security forces, continued for some time although by the early 1990s the political terrain was changing rapidly and the claims of “black-on-black” violence and the state's contra-mobilisation strategies, which legitimised their existence, were being exposed. With the use of photographs, documents, eye-witness testimonies and dramatic murals, Amasinyora: Crime or Politics highlights some of this complex history.

Kwa Muhle Museum is situated in Ordnance Road. More details from Lorelle Royeppen on (031) 311-2235 or 083 234-4598 or fax (031) 311-2224 or e-mail: loreller@crsu.durban.gov.za




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