Ricochet News

Commemorating the life of Vuyisile Mini

Nov 7, 2017
Commemorating the life of Vuyisile Mini

The man after whom Port Elizabeth’s square is named after was brutally hanged by the old South African government on 06 November, 53 years ago.

Vuyisile Mini was born in 1920 in Tsomo in rural Transkei. Mini's father who was born in Tsomo and later moved to Port Elizabeth as a young man was a Port Elizabeth dockworker active in labour and community struggles, which inspired Mini, at 17, to take part in bus fare and rent increase protests. He was also active in campaigns against forced removals of Black people from Korsten (where he lived) to Kwazakhele. After completing elementary school, he worked as a labourer and trade union organiser.

Mini was arrested and detained along with Govan Mbeki , Raymond Mhlaba many others under the State of Emergency declared under the Public Safety Act on March 30, 1960.

In 1961, Mini was one of the first group of people to be recruited into uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), and become a member of the Eastern Cape High Command. Mini was arrested on 10 May 1963 together with two other prominent ANC members, Wilson Khayinga and Zinakile Mkaba. They were charged with 17 counts of sabotage and other political crimes including complicity in the January 1963 death of Sipho Mange, an alleged police informer.

In March 1964 the three were sentenced to death.

After his 1964 execution, Mini was secretly buried in a pauper's grave at Rebecca Street Cemetery in Pretoria. The bodies of Mini, Khayinga and Mkaba were exhumed in 1998 at Rebecca Street Cemetery in Pretoria and Mini was given a heroes funeral when he was re-interred at the Emlotheni Memorial Park in New Brighton township in Port Elizabeth.