“Mobility and Camouflage in Alexandra’s Underground Movement”

  • Dawne Y. Curry


On November 30, 1976, Mosima Gabriel “Tokyo” Sexwale1 and three others2 waited alongside the road at Bordergate, an area sandwiched between Mozambique and South Africa, and lying approximately 280 miles from Johannesburg. They carried suitcases (presumably booby traps). One police unit observed the wanderers and radioed in to headquarters, prompting another armed unit to head out into a northerly direction to respond to the call. Upon arriving, the police officers questioned the foursome about their luggage and requested to open the totes. The men declined. Not believing their story of not having keys, the police motioned the men to board the truck. They obliged and squatted together on the floor board. Suddenly, this unity ended when Sexwale moved forward into a crouching position and took a seat upon the radio box. It was then that the driver smelled an odor and applied the brakes, but it was too late as Sexwale had already hurled a hand grenade onto the truck’s front seat. Fire from the burning Land Rover lit up the sky and shrapnel blew everywhere, with some fragments landing and lodging into one police officer’s body. While the police officers writhed in agony, Sexwale and the others escaped in a kombi that raced to the scene.3


Police Officer Taxi Driver Political Mobility South African Government Potassium Chlorate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 5.
    Lynda Schuster, A Burning Hunger: One Family’s Struggle against Apartheid (Athens: Ohio University, 2007). Nomkhita Mashinini visited her sons Dee and Tsietsi on separate occasions in jail.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Tim Cresswell, “Mobility as Resistance: Geographical Reading of Kerouac on the Road,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 18, 2 (1993): 254. In his analysis of On the Road, Cresswell argues that moving from place to place signifies a form of resistance. Cresswell bases his interpretation on the main characters Sal and Dean who travel across America to escape hegemonic constructions of family and home. Cresswell writes, “as the story develops, it becomes clear the non-stop ‘going’ for its own sake is the main joy of the two friends.”CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 10.
    Gregory Houston and Bernard Magubane, “The ANC Political Underground in the 1970s,” in The Road to Democracy in South Africa, Volume 2, 1970–1980, South African Democracy Education Trust (Cape Town: Zebra Press, 2004), 395–396.Google Scholar
  4. 15.
    Anthony W. Marx, Lessons of Struggle: South African Internal Opposition, 1960–1990 (New York: Oxford, 1992), 67.Google Scholar
  5. 16.
    Philip Bonner and Noor Nieftagodien, Alexandra: A History, (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 2008), 180.Google Scholar
  6. 17.
    Fran Lisa Buntman, Robben Island and Prisoner Resistance to Apartheid (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). In this work, Buntman discusses how Mandela and other prisoners fought for equality within the prison walls. The government instituted apartheid within its prison system by originally allowing Indians longer trousers, sugar with their tea, and some other privileges. Buntman also distinguishes between detainees and political prisoners while also discussing how the different political organizations, the ANC, the PAC, BC and others united and taught each other. See book review, Dawne Y. Curr y, Peace and Change 31, July 3, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 18.
    Anthony Marx, Lessons of Struggle: South African Internal Opposition, 1960–1990 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 67.Google Scholar
  8. 21.
    Elias Masilela, Number 43, Kwa Magogo (Cape Town: New Africa Books, 2011) 85.Google Scholar
  9. 22.
    Gregory Houston and Bernard Magubane, “The ANC Political Underground,” in The Road to Democracy in South Africa, Volume 2, 1970–1980, South African Democracy Education Trust (Cape Town: Zebra Press, 2004), 425.Google Scholar
  10. 24.
    Darlene Clark Hine, William C. Hine and Stanley Harrold, The African American Odyssey: Combined Volume, Second Edition, (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2005), 201. During the American slavery era, abolitionists turned their homes, barns and haylofts into stations along the Underground Railroad in Washington, D. C., Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio among other states and regions.Google Scholar
  11. 48.
    Werner Zips, Black Rebels: African Caribbean Freedom Fighters in Jamaica (Princeton: Marcus Weiner Publishers, 1999), 86–87.Google Scholar
  12. 49.
    Patrick Deer, Culture in Camouflage: War, Empire, and Modern British Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 54.
    Shana Penn, Solidarity’s Secret: the Women Who Defeated Communism in Poland (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2005), 183. Because women fell under the radar, Polish women successfully published anti-government sentiment, camouflaged their bodies, and helped to play a large role in changing the country’s political climate.Google Scholar
  14. 56.
    Lynda Schuster, A Burning Hunger: One Family’s Struggle Against Apartheid (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006).Google Scholar
  15. 70.
    Raymond Suttner, The ANC Underground in South Africa (Auckland Park, Jacana Media Press, 2008), 5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dawne Y. Curry 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawne Y. Curry

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations