Friday , October 22 2021

I saw save people die in front of me – Strijdom Square massacre witness


Survivors and families of those who lost their lives gathered outside the newly built women's heritage museum to attend a memorial and memorial event. Picture: Brenda Masilela / ANA

Pretoria – Thirty years ago on this day, barring "Wit Wolf", Strydom struck eight innocent people on Strijdom Square in the center of Pretoria and injured 16 others.

On Thursday, survivors and family members gathered from those who lost their lives outside the newly built women's heritage museum to attend a memorial and memorial event.

Feroz Carrim and Salim Carrim lost their father during shooting. Their father owned a store not far from the state theater.

Feroz, 57, explained that he was working with his father and had briefly gone out of store when Strydom came and killed people.

"All my dad's employees told me they came to the ground but my father crossed him and asked him what the hell is wrong with you, are you stupid or what, and that's when he shot my dad," he said.

"We will never know the exact bill of this because it was hushhush at the time, driven by another system."

He said his father died a week later in a hospital and the family never received a correct explanation of his death.

"We do not know if the right care was given or if there was poisoning in the bullets … We always wonder," said Feroz.

Bradley Hawk Steyn who came to the memory place was on Strijdom Square, now Lilian Ngoyi Square, the day Strydom went on a killing spree.

"The pictures I've had to live with all these years have been very challenging. I can not even imagine what their own victims' families have gone through and how hard it has been difficult for them."

Steyn was 17 at the event, he had gone to the state theater to meet his mother who worked there.

"I witnessed everything and it's not a beautiful sight to see save people who die before you."

He said he worked with the Department of Arts and Culture to reveal a plaque for the victims who lost their lives.

It will open next year at 31st birthday.

He also works with a book titled Undercover with Mandela's Spies: Boy's story that crossed the square, which will be released in April next year.

Strydom served for five years in prison for his crimes and showed no regret after killing eight people.

He now lives quietly in Hartbeespoort outside Pretoria, where he works as a craftsman and has grown a family with his wife, who married when he was a prisoner shortly.

African News Agency (ANA)

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