What Was Happening When

Hostage Waterfront Film Studios

1980 – Hostage 

+ Jan 14 The local community at Soekmekaar resists forced removal and damages the police station.

+ Jan 25 Three Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorists, Stephen Mafoko, Humphrey Makhubo and Wilfred Madela, kill two civilians and hold the staff and customers in a bank in Silverton in Pretoria hostage. The siege ends in a shoot-out with the police in which all three terrorists are killed.

+ March 12 In Pretoria nine people are sentenced to five to seven years imprisonment for training as guerrillas outside South Africa and recruiting others to undergo training.

+ March 26 A mine lift cage at the Vaal Reefs gold mine in South Africa falls 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles), killing 23.

+ April 4 Umkhonto we Sizwe attacks the Booysens Police Station in Johannesburg with grenades, rocket launchers and AK47s.

+ April 21 More than sixty coloured high schools, teacher training colleges and the University of the Western Cape start boycotting classes.

+ Oct 14 The Soweto community calls for a stayaway to protest against rent increases.

+ Oct 15 A bomb damages a railway line in Dube, Soweto and Piet Koornhof, minister of co-operation and development, visits the scene.

+ Nov 21 A terrorist is killed in Chiawelo and a child is injured by police in the process.

What Was Happening When

Fishy Stones Stills-6

1980 – Fishy Stones

+ 12 January The British Sports Council begins a three-week fact-finding tour of South Africa to investigate racial discrimination in sport

+ 25 Jan Three Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorists, Stephen Mafoko, Humphrey Makhubo and Wilfred Madela, kill two civilians and hold the staff and customers in a bank in Silverton in Pretoria hostage. The siege ends in a shoot-out with the police in which all three terrorists are killed

+ 12 Jan In Pretoria nine people are sentenced to five to seven years imprisonment for training as guerrillas outside South Africa and recruiting others to undergo training

+ 6 May Thozamile Botha, an activist living in the Port Elizabeth area, breaks his banning order and escapes to Maseru, Lesotho

+ 10 May The British and Irish Lions begin an 18-match tour of South Africa despite protests from anti-apartheid groups. The tourists lose three of the four Tests

+ 4 June Patrick Makau, Umkhonto weSizwe member, and his child (9) are killed in a bomb attack on two houses in Manzini, Swaziland

+ 15 October A bomb damages a railway line in Dube, Soweto and Piet Koornhof, minister of co-operation and development, visits the scene

+ 30 October A bomb explodes at the Transkei consul’s residence in Port Elizabeth but no injuries result

What Was Happening When….

What was happening when (1)

Welcome to the “What Was Happening When” series – an interactive weekly series telling you what was going on in South Africa when each of our films was made. Feel free to ask questions, do more research on your own + share this history on your social media! This week we’re looking at “Abathumbi”.

A mysterious gangster known only as “Boss” infiltrates the home of a local pastor with a devious scheme to abduct the pastor’s nephew. In order to get a heavy ransom from the boy’s wealthy father, he is let down by the ineptitude and incompetence of his two underlings.

The young nephew, together with his two cousins, work cleverly together and with the help a good Samaritan neighbour manage to defeat the crooks.

Abathumbi South African Cinema

1980 – Abathumbi

+ 25 Jan Three Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorists kill two civilians and hold the staff and customers in a bank in Silverton in Pretoria hostage. The siege ends in a shoot-out with the police in which all three terrorists are killed

+ 26 March A mine lift cage at the Vaal Reefs gold mine in South Africa falls 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles), killing 23

+ 12 March In Pretoria nine people are sentenced to five years imprisonment for training as guerrillas outside South Africa and recruiting others to undergo training

+ 4 April Umkhonto we Sizwe attacks the Booysens Police Station in Johannesburg with grenades, rocket launchers and AK47s

+ 21 April More than sixty coloured high schools, teacher training colleges and the University of the Western Cape start boycotting classes

+ 29 April In Johannesburg hundreds of coloured school children are arrested in terms of the Riotous Assemblies Act during a student-police confrontation

+ 1 June Bombs explode at Sasol One and Two and Natref Eight at Sasolburg and Secunda, with no injuries and RM58 damage. The attack was organised by Solomon Mahlangu of the Umkhonto weSizwe Special Operations

+ 29 Oct Umkhonto we Sizwe insurgents throw two grenades into the government buildings of the West Rand Administration Board and injure a security guard and his friend.