Mr Wellington Tshazibane,aged 30,an employee of the De Beers-Lesotho Mining Company,was detained on 9th December 1976 at Rand Airport,Johannesburg.He was held under section 6(1) of the Terrorism Act. On 11 December police informed his family that he had hanged himself.

According to a statement released by the minister of police Mr Tshazibane had been held in connection with an explosion at the Carlton Centre in Johannesburg and jailed at John Vorster Square . Police evidence said that while he was in detention, he accompanied police to his home Soweto, which was searched.An electrical detonator and explosive chemicals were found .He was returned to John Vorster Square and during interrogation asked if he was prepared to make a statement to a magistrate. Mr Tshazibane allegedly agree but said he needed time to recall the facts.

He was supplied with pen and paper and returned to his cell. At 6am on 11 December he was found dead in his cell,where he hanged himself.A police statement said 'with him was found a statement in which he cleared the police of all blame and admitted suicide'. An inquest into his death began on 21 April 1977. Police argued in support of the above statement.The post-mortem,conducted by Professor T Taljaard,showed that apart from bruise marks around his neck the only other injuries were laceration marks on both wrists which were caused by a broken bottle of cologne found in his cell.Police led evidence that he was found hanged with a piece of blanket.The magistrate found that Mr Tshazibane had committed suicide by hanging.

Mr Tshazibane,a graduate of both Fort Hare and Oxford university,had a reputation for academic brilliance. At his funeral on 27 December,Mr T W Khambule an educationist said of detainee deaths,'The African community resents this tremendously.They doubt that they are suicides.Mr Tshazibane's funeral was attended by 1000 friends and relatives.Many paid tribute to his brilliance and patriotism.


Behind Closed Doors. By Shireen Motala .South African Institute Race Relations.1987.

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