Andrew Sibusiso Zondo grew up in KwaMashu, Durban, Natal (now Kwazulu-Natal). He attended Ngazane Lower Primary School and went on to Phakama Higher Primary School in KwaMashu. After completing primary school, he attended Nhlakanipho High School in his hometown but did not complete his studies. He developed an interest in politics at a young age and by the age of 16, became a member of the African National Congress (ANC) and went into exile in Mozambique, after a brief period of detention for causing unrest in 1983. He intended to study during this time but eventually trained as a guerrilla under uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in Angola instead, in order to oppose the apartheid government.
The 1980s was a turbulent time in South Africa, and after reading a report about the December 1985, massacre in Maseru where nine ANC cadres were murdered, Zondo was instructed to retaliate against the apartheid forces. This resulted in the Amanzimtoti blast which killed five people and injured 140 people on 23 December 1985 at the Sanlam shopping centre, Amanzimtoti.Zondo was arrested six days later and charged. His alleged accomplice Thembinkosi Mofokeng turned state witness and confessed to what happened on the day of the blast. He was acquitted at the trial. The other two accomplices involved in the bombing, Phumezo Nxiweni and Stanley Sipho Bhila, were also acquitted but later executed by the apartheid security branch.Nxiweni was thrown off a cliff and Bhila was shot, their murderers were granted amnesty at the Truth and Reconciliation Trial (TRC).
During Zondo’s trial at the TRC, he claimed that he intended to call the shopping centre to warn them about the blast but could not find a vacant telephone booth. On 9 September 1986, Zondo was hanged after being sentenced to death five times by Justice Ramon Leon, the father of former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Anthony (Tony) James Leon. He was 19 years old at the time of his death. Zondo was buried in an unmarked grave after his execution but in 2006, he was reburied at Durban’s Red Hill Cemetery.
At Zondo’s memorial service, his brother was severely assaulted by the apartheid state security forces in retaliation to Zondo’s bombing. Zondo’s brother developed epilepsy due to the assault, which subsequently killed him. The security forces also shot two activists dead while they were leaving Zondo’s parents’ home after the memorial service.
An exhibition at the Local Durban History Museum explores the reasons behind Zondo’s attack on the Amanzimtoti Centre and also indicates how he is commemorated. The Lovu Primary School in Durban was renamed Andrew Zondo Primary School in honour of his status as anMKguerrilla. Although this decision was heavily opposed by various political parties as Zondo is labelled a convicted murderer and terrorist.
The renaming of the Kingsway Road in Amanzimtoti where the mall is situated, to honour Andrew Zondo by the eThekwini Municipality, drew similar criticism from local residents including Zondo’s father, who said it would open up old wounds. However, the Municipality did not let the criticism sway their decision.
Durban Local History Museums, (2018), Andrew Zondo: Why I did it? Available online at: durbanhistorymuseums.org.za/andrew-zondo-why-i-did-it/. [Accessed: 09/12/2019]. Franny Rabkin, (2018).
The death penalty and judges who had to apply it. Available online at: mg.co.za/article/2018-04-26-00-the-death-penalty-and-judges-who-had-to-apply-it. [Accessed: 09/12/2019].
Paddy Harper, (2016), Toti’s bomb still echoes 30 years later. Available online at: city-press.news24.com/News/totis-bomb-still-echoes-20160102. [Accessed: 09/12/2019]. People’s Pill, (2019). Andrew Zondo. Available online at: peoplepill.com/people/andrew-zondo/. [Accessed: 09/12/2019].
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report. Volume 2, page 5. Available online at: http://sabctrc.saha.org.za/originals/finalreport/volume2/split/BMvolume2_s1ch3_pg5.pdf. [Accessed: 09/12/2019].