Mandela Bears Witness
Mandela’s visit, on 2 and 3 April 1990, was to see the destruction and suffering, and to give people hope. It was his first journey back to the area since his capture, on 5 August 1962, near Howick. Mandela had only left prison, after 27 years, on 11 February 1990. He wanted to understand what was happening. He travelled through Ashdown and Imbali and he met the people sheltering in the Welcome Church, in Edendale and he inspected the damage at the Mpophomeni Catholic Church. He gave a press conference in town, and spoke at rallies at the Edendale Lay Centre, in Slangspruit, and at the Mpophomeni and Wadley Stadiums.
Struggle, Displacement & Death in the 1980s & early 1990s
Pietermaritzburg and the surrounding areas experienced a lot of violence and death in the struggle against apartheid. In the 1980s, UDF supporters and Inkatha supporters conflicted. Families and communities were torn apart because of the fighting and dying. On the 25 March 1990, the conflict known as The Seven Days War broke out. Some UDF supporters stoned buses on the Edendale Road carrying Inkatha supporters home from a rally. For revenge, and with the help of the police, Inkatha attacked Ashdown, Caluza, Mpumuza, Gezubuso, KwaShange, KwaMnyandu and Mpophomeni. Over 100 people were killed and about 20 000 people fled their homes. Many houses were destroyed.