1962: Emperor Haile Selassie smuggled out Mandela with Ethiopian passport as a journalist
This African solidarity no longer exists. Is there any African country that does this or assists fleeing Ethiopian youth? The profession of Madeba in the passport is most interesting thing.
“In 1962, Mr. Nelson Mandela traveled to Ethiopia in secret for military, political, and spiritual training.” On Haile Selassie’s orders, the Ethiopian army first trained and armed Nelson Mandela in his struggle against apartheid South Africa. On his Majesty’s personal orders, the Ethiopian Colonel in charge of Mandela’s military training gave him a gun with which he was to bring down the ignoble and unhappy apartheid regime that was still thriving in South Africa at the time. Mandela returned to South Africa to continue his fight. Everything else is history.
The hunt for Nelson Mandela’s pistol, said to be the first weapon of the African National Congress’ armed resistance to apartheid rule and given to him while he was in military training in Ethiopia, has come to an end under the house of a South African pop star.
An Ethiopian Colonel gave Mr Mandela the gun while he was on the run from South Africa’s white government, which was attempting to prosecute him for his political activities.
He buried it in the grounds of the farm where he was staying when he returned to South Africa, just weeks before being arrested and imprisoned for 27 years.
The trustees of Liliesleaf Farm in Johannesburg believe they have found the Bulgarian-made pistol. They are considering bringing in excavators to search underneath the a house that was built over it and is now home to a local pop star.
The gun is estimated to be worth 22 million Rand (£1.8 million). With Mr Mandela’s health deteriorating, the trustees fear this is their last chance to find the weapon during his lifetime.
The Makarov pistol was given to him in 1962, while he was touring the world in search of funding and training for Umkhonto we Sizwe, or ‘Spear of the Nation,’ the armed wing of the ANC he founded to fight apartheid.
He received military and political training from Emperor Haile Selassie’s army in Ethiopia. When Mr Mandela left Ethiopia, the colonel in charge of his training gave him a gun to symbolize his impending struggle, reportedly on the Emperor’s orders.
Mr Mandela’s friend, South African journalist Allister Sparks, said the gift meant a lot to the freedom fighter, who went on to become South Africa’s first black president in 1994. “It was primarily ceremonial, but that may have been Umkhonto we Sizwe’s first weapon,” he said.
Mr Mandela wrapped the Makarov pistol in foil and an army uniform and buried it under a tin plate with 200 rounds of ammunition in a 1.5-metre deep pit in late July 1962, perhaps aware that his days of freedom were numbered.
Other properties were built in the grounds during his subsequent 27-year stay in jail, including one on top of the suspected gun burial site.
After his release, Mr Mandela returned to Liliesleaf in 2003 and told Nicholas Wolpe, the son of a former ANC activist and chief executive of the Liliesleaf Trust, where he thought the gun was hidden, “I hope you find it. “Mr Wolpe believes the weapon is beneath a house adjacent to the farm, 5 George Avenue, owned by 77-year-old pensioner Al Leenstra and inhabited by a pop singer named JMaxx.
Mr Leenstra has stated that he would be willing to sell the house in order for it to be demolished, but Mr Wolpe is hopeful that this will not be necessary. The trust is considering bringing in a team that normally works in war zones, employing dogs that can detect ammunition.
Mr Wolpe stated that he believes the gun has “true personal significance” for Mr Mandela and has made it his personal mission to locate it.
“Many people are looking forward to the final excavation and display of this pistol.” African nations should learn from this historic pistol and its associated legacy. Africans should stand together in solidarity, helping one another, fighting foreign dividers, removing jealousy, and assisting fleeing African brothers and sisters.” Ankober summarizes.