Bafana Cyril Dlamini whose nom de guerrre in exile was Edwin Ndlovu was born in 1936 to the family of a prominent political and trade union activist. His father, Steven Dlamini was a member of the African National Congress (ANC)’s National Executive Committee (NEC) , President of South African Congress of Trade Workers (SACTU) and a member of Central Committee of the South African Communist Party (SACP). Dlamini’s father died in exile in Lusaka, Zambia.

In 1961 at the age of 25, Dlamini left the country with 15 others under the leadership Joe Modise, as an advance team to train as cadres of uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), the armed wing of the ANC. He first trained in Cairo, Egypt, Cyprus and finally in USSR. Dlamini was a member of the Luthuli Detachment a joint military alliance of ANC/ZAPU armed wings, MK and the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA). Thus he was part of the battles against Rhodesian and South African security forces in Wankie and Sipolilo in 1967 and 1968. After the clashes, Dlamini crossed to Botswana where he was arrested after attempting to cross to South Africa.

After his release in Botswana Dlamini moved to Mozambique in 1975 where he was involved in various ANC activities such as receiving and inducting scores of young people who left the country after the 1976 Soweto Uprising. He subsequently participated in the leadership of the ANC machinery that infiltrated trained guerrillas into South Africa between 1977 and 1990.

Dlamini returned to South Africa in 1994 and was part of MK that was integrated into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). He was given the rank of Brigadier General. He continued to serve in the SANDF until his retirement.    

Dlamini died on 17 September 2011 aged 75 after a long illness and is survived by his wife, one son, three daughters, as well as two sisters and one brother.


ANC, (2011), ANC Lost A Struggle Veteran: General Brigadier Bafana Dlamini, from the African National Congress, 22 September, [online] Available at, [Accessed on 06 October 2011]|Citizen, (2011), Army Brigadier general dies, from the Citizen, 23 September, [online] Available at [Accessed on 06 October 2011]|Memela, M, (2011), Dlamini the exemplar of discipline, from Timeslive, 26 September,[online] Available  [Accessed on 06 October 2011]

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