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Tales from Dystopia II: Enemies of the State

16 September 2009

A few years ago a shortlived South African newspaper, This Day, published a list of Enemies of the Apartheid State.

The South African archives had discovered and catalogued some of the files that the government kept on people they regarded as enemies of the state. This Day published the list in several successive issues, and I kept them for reference.

A couple of years later I went to the archives and asked for my own file. I was enemy of the state number 1658. I looked through it and began making notes on it, then decided it was too much, and asked for the whole thing to be photocopied, which cost R160, and bought two ring binder files to keep it in. A friend of mine, John Aitchison, also got a copy of his file, and we compared notes. The files give a fascinating insight into the way in which the apartheid government regarded its opponents, and different perceptions of reality. It was interesting to see how much of the information was accurate, and how much inaccurate, and the language that they used, and the thought processes of the bureaucrats dwelling in that Kafkaesque world.

The Security Police (sometimes called the Special Branch, Security Branch or just the SB) kept files on most known opponents of the apartheid regime, but these are not those files. I suspect that most of the SB files were shredded in the run-up to the first democratic elections in 1994. The files that survived are those of the Department of Justice, and consist of correspondence between the Department of Justice and other bodies (mostly the SB) on the people on whom the files were kept, and they consist mainly of reports from the SB to the Minister of Justice, and requests from the SB that people be banned.

Department of Justice files on enemies of the state

Department of Justice files on enemies of the state

Recently I looked at the pile of  fading newspapers containing the lists, and thought I would type them into a database. They were in roughly alphabetical order in the newspapers, but some people I knew had been banned seemed to be missing. Now I have finished the typing. I’ve tagged the people on the list that I knew, however slightly, and also added notes about organisations that they belonged to, where I had that information.

After finishing the typing, I realised that quite a lot were missing from the lists. Perhaps the typesetters at This Day found it too boring a task, and skipped some. There are 5051 files, but the references go up to 8418, so several files are missing.

It looks as though the files began to be kept with the passing of the Supression of Communism Act in 1950, because most of the low numbered files are those of communists.

Andrews, W.H                                          3
Bunting, B.P                                          4
Carneson, Fred                                        7
Dadoo, Y.M. (Dr)                                      15
du Plessis, Daniel Johannes                           10
Fischer, Abram                                        17
Harmel, Michael                                       9
Kahn, Sam                                             5
Kotane, M.                                            2
La Guma, J.                                           6
Mofutsanyana, E.T                                     12
Roberts, William John Sydney                          20
Slovo, J                                              19
Watts, H.  (Berstein, H.)                             18
Wolfson, Israel                                       13

Then, presumably around the mid-1950s, ANC members began to be added to the list, including the accused in the Treason Trial (1956-1960). Here are some known ANC members from various periods, in numerical order by file reference.

Gwala, Themba Harry Gwala, Harry Temba                53
Mbeki, Govan A.                                       785
Mandela, Nelson R.D.                                  929
Sisulu, Walter Ulliot Max                             980
Nokwe, Philemon Pearce Duma                           981
Kasrils, Ronald                                       1032
Hani Martin Tembisile Hani, Chris                     1132
Sisulu, Albertina                                     1297
Mandela, Winnie                                       1501
Mda, Ashby Peter                                      1574
Gawe, Stephen Pandul @ Popsie                         1698
Mbeki, Thabo                                          3115
Gqirana, Mongameli @ Mobbs                            3340
Motlanthe, Petrus Pat Kgalema                         3547
Maharaj, Sathyandranath Ragunanan Maharaj, Mac        3694
Sparg, Marion M                                       7794

Somewhat surprisingly, some prominent ANC leaders, such as Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo and Jacob Zuma, do not appear in the list at all. Perhaps This Day skipped them in typing the list, or their files were lost. Some who were in exile, like Thabo Mbeki, may only have been added much later than they would otherwise have been. But there are many ANC leaders in the 900-1100 range. The bureaucrats also got the spelling of some names wrong (Walter Sisulu’s middle name, for example). In the early files, where most of the people were Communists, they frequently used initials rather than names. the @ sign seems to mean “alias”.

In the early 1960s, liberals began to be added to the list in increasing numbers. Here are some known liberals who were on the list. They are also in numerical order, which is roughly the order in which they were banned. Those in the 1200-2000 range would have been roughly in the period 1962-1968. Those in the 3000 or above range were probably included for activities after the Liberal Party had been forced to disband in 1968:

Isacowitz, J.L.                                       129
Attwell, E.L                                          150
O'Dowd, A.P                                           210
Mfaxa, Stanford @ Rantyisi                            673
Duncan, Patrick                                       1026
Evans, David Llyn                                     1039
Mohammed, Ebrahim Vally                               1094
Vigne, James Randolp                                  1110
Ngubane, Jordan Kush                                  1122
Msimang, Henry Selby                                  1220
Bhengu, Hyacinth                                      1230
Goodfellow, Clements Francis                          1254
Mdingi, Maqashe Leonard                               1270
Mngadi, Thamsanqa Elliot @ Elias                      1381
Daniels, Edward Joseph                                1384
Harber, Eric Stanchell                                1405
Brown, Peter McKenzie                                 1444
Aitchison, John Jaques William                        1486
Magani, Mashamra Christopher @ Shabalala              1487
Ndhlovu, Michael Temba @ John @ Mike Ndlovu           1495
Bromberger, Norman                                    1507
Craighead, David Hepburn                              1534
Hain, Adelaine Florence                               1540
Hain, Walter Vannet                                   1541
Hjul, Peter Donald                                    1553
Mnguni, Mlungu Enock                                  1589
Hill, Charles Kenneth                                 1606
Van den Berg, Frans Ignatius Maritz                   1625
Brookes, Edgar Harry                                  1634
Hill, Jean Farre nee Ballantyne                       1636
Hayes, Stephen Thromp Wynn Hayes, Stephen Tromp Wynn  1658
Hayman, Ruth Woodburn (Lazar)                         1664
Morkill, Heather Mary                                 1699
Friday, Iris M.                                       1891
Corrigall, Mary Ernestine Gwendoline                  1940
Hain, Peter                                           2808
de Keller, David Guy                                  2828
Kuper, Leo                                            2850
Wentzel, E.M.                                         3012
Koka, Kgalushi Drake                                  3175

Again, there are some known omissions. Among the Liberals who were definitely banned, but whose names are not on the list, are Selby Msimang and Mike Ndlovu (Update: I added them from an online list).

What about Christian opposition to apartheid? Well, there were undoubtedly many Christians on the list. The following are some of those I knew to be clergy of various Christian denominations. There are probably many more that I didn’t know or know about. Again, they are in numerical order, which is roughly the order in which the government got annoyed with them.

Blaxall, Arthur Williams                              1078
Aitchison, John Jaques William                        1486
Calata, James Arthur                                  1567
Reeves, Ambrose                                       1572
Brookes, Edgar Harry                                  1634
Hayes, Stephen Thromp Wynn Hayes, Stephen Tromp Wynn  1658
Magoba, Stanley Mmutlayane                            2062
Ntlabati, Gladstone Mxolisio                          2294
Beyers Naude, C.F                                     2568
Robertson, Robert J.D.                                2659
Collins, Collin                                       2862
Crowther, Clarance Edward                             2901
Mercer, Robert (Eerw)                                 2926
Desmond, Patrick Anthony Desmond, Cosmas              2980
Moore, Basil Scott                                    3027
Winter, Colin O'Brien                                 3131
Kemeeta, Zephania Kameeta, Zephania                   3353
Uanivi, Hiskia Ndojoza                                3371
Hendrikse, Helenard Joe @ Alan                        3821
Russell, David Patrick Hamilton                       4893
Kotze, Theodore                                       4949
Moselane, Tebogo G                                    5175
Tutu, Desmond                                         5862
Boesak, Allan / Allen                                 6658
Xundu, Mcebisi                                        7462
Brittion, Susan B                                     7519

So there it is. The Lord encouraged Elijah by telling him that there were at least 7000 in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal, and so it was in South Africa too. At the time their names were known only to God and the Department of Justice, but now it can be told.

But I did know some of them, and here are the ones I knew and had met face to face. Some I knew quite well, and others I have only met once or twice, often at church meetings or conferences, but most of them are people I’m glad to have known. Perhaps the fact that I knew so many of them proves the thesis of the little grey men in the government offices that there was indeed a sinister conspiracy against the government, a concerted effort, a master plan for the total onslaught against White Western Civilisation, for which South Africa was the last bastion of defence. This time they are in alphabetical order.

Aitchison, John Jaques William                        1486
Bastomsky, Saul James                                 1556
Beyers Naude, C.F                                     2568
Bhengu, Hyacinth                                      1230
Blaxall, Arthur Williams                              1078
Boesak, Allan / Allen                                 6658
Brittion, Susan B                                     7519
Brookes, Edgar Harry                                  1634
Brown, Peter McKenzie                                 1444
Buthelezi, Manas @ Malaria                            3220
Camay, Phiroshaw                                      7124
Collins, Collin                                       2862
Corrigall, Mary Ernestine Gwendoline                  1940
Curtis, Jeanette Eva                                  3382
Curtis, Neville Wilson                                3014
de Beer, Cedric                                       6452
de Beer, David Edmund                                 3059
Desmond, Patrick Anthony Desmond, Cosmas              2980
Dunn, Timothy Terence                                 3015
Ernst, David                                          2634 
Friday, Iris M.                                       1891
Gawe, Stephen Pandul @ Popsie                         1698
Hemson, David Christopher Law @ Dave                  3248
Hendrikse, Helenard Joe @ Alan                        3821
Hill, Charles Kenneth                                 1606
Hill, Jean Farre nee Ballantyne                       1636
Josie, Mervyn Jayaprakash                             2210
Kemeeta, Zephania Kameeta, Zephania                   3353
Khoapa, Bennie                                        3211
Kleinschmidt, Horst Gerhard Herman                    3341
Kotze, Theodore                                       4949
Lebenya, Sechaba Noel                                 2999
Magani, Mashamra Christopher @ Shabalala              1487
Mngadi, Thamsanqa Elliot @ Elias                      1381
Mnguni, Mlungu Enock                                  1589
Moore, Basil Scott                                    3027
Morkill, Heather Mary                                 1699
Msimang, Henry Selby                                  1220
Ndhlovu, Michael Temba @ John @ Mike Ndlovu           1495
Ntwasa, Sabelo Stanley @ Sabela Nywada                3030
Reeves, Ambrose                                       1572
Robertson, Robert J.D.                                2659
Russell, David Patrick Hamilton                       4893
Simkins, Charles                                      3794
Tutu, Desmond                                         5862
Uanivi, Hiskia Ndojoza                                3371
Van Wyk, Frederick Johannes                           5022
Webb, Colin de Berri                                  1928
Winter, Colin O'Brien                                 3131
Xundu, Mcebisi                                        7462

We were told by the government that we were at war, and these were the people they were fighting against. I’m glad to have known some of them. And some of them are no longer with us; may their memory be eternal.

Tales from Dystopia is a series of posts I am doing at irregular intervals, with memories of the apartheid era. Some of my fellow South African bloggers said that we should not forget what happened in our past, so that we can learn the lessons of history. So these posts are my contribution to that.

36 Comments leave one →
  1. 16 September 2009 10:13 am

    Hi Steve,

    Great insights.

    I love the word Kafkaesque. Where did you pick it up?

    • 16 September 2009 2:06 pm


      I can’t think where I first heard it. I know I’m not the only one to use it.

  2. Gus Gosling permalink
    16 September 2009 12:31 pm


    There is another list available at SAHA — — though I’m not certain how this differs from the list published in *This Day*. Maybe more comprehensive as it has over 8000 names on it (81 pages, ~100 names/pg).

  3. 16 September 2009 4:28 pm

    Fantastic post Steve … thanks

  4. David Curtis permalink
    16 September 2009 9:49 pm

    Thanks Steve. I shall pass your message on to other interested people.

  5. Lynette Faragher (Murray) permalink
    17 September 2009 12:12 am

    Very interesting to see this and of course it triggers all sorts of memories and “I wonder why ??? are not on the list?” So important not to forget where we have come from especially in the face of so much despondency about South Africa.

    Thanks David for passing it on. Of course again mourning Neville and Jenny …

  6. cathy permalink
    17 September 2009 10:40 am


    remember Rob Roberston and his band of parishioners that slept on the pavements to resist people being evicted from their homes & businesses in Vrededorp.
    also his stand against the
    awb who hung dead cats at his door and other dreadfell things.


    • 17 September 2009 1:25 pm

      Thanks Cathy, I’ve updated the lists — Rob Robertson was on it, and he and his wife and daughter visited us in Windhoek long ago.

  7. Porlock Junior permalink
    20 September 2009 9:35 am

    Just another note thanking you for publishing these pieces of the realities of that time, which I followed — not attentively at all, of course — from afar.

    Cheerful note for the day: Many of us knew, back in the 50s, that apartheid could only end in monstrous bloodshed. It’s good to be dead wrong now and then, and I still have the front page of the local (San Francisco) paper from the day after the election (the real one, you know).

    And special thanks for getting yourself on the list and helping to make fools of us pessimists who thought we were realists.

  8. ngubeni ka nkophe permalink
    27 March 2010 3:01 am

    Thank you for compiling these names. I checked for the name Stanley Nqubeni April or Stanley Nqabeni April or Stanley Ngubeni April from the 1960s onward. Can anyone help or is there a source to search?

    • 27 March 2010 6:07 am

      Here you are: April, Nqubeni Stanley No 1919

      Can you tell us anything more? In my list I’m trying to add brief biographical notes, like what organisations the person was active in — political parties, churches etc.

  9. ngubeni ka nkophe permalink
    27 March 2010 10:23 pm

    From Transkei Ngubeni Stanley April was Langa in Cape Town in 1960, was central in PAC-Poqo history, captured in Willowvale, tortured with Mbhashe Bridge murder suspects at Mthatha, sentenced in Gcuwa to 3 years and 3 years in Malmesbury in 1963, served on Robben Island 1963-1966, banned in Victor Verster and North End in P. E. Skipped to Botswana 1972, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Holland, US, Canada 1980. Never found my court trial records, my prison records or security records 1960-1966 and 1970 onward.

    • 28 March 2010 6:40 am

      You will probably find the file with that reference number quite illuminating. It is not the full file kept by the SB — just what they saw fit to tell the Minister of Justice — but interesting all the same.

  10. Antoinette ("Toni") Halberstadt permalink
    22 October 2010 6:46 am

    Thanks Steve!

    Just reading their names feels like paying tribute, to those still living and those who have moved on ….
    And some of the names bring back memories, though of course I didn’t know half as many of these fine people as you did.
    Interesting that Charles Simkins was on their list, though never banned (to my knowledge anyway. Was he, perhaps, after returning from Oxford Universtity and perhaps after my departure to Canada?)
    Neville Curtis, eh? NUSAS. I remember getting into a big argument with him, asserting that SASO and the Black Consciousness Movement were not promoting racism …
    Speaking of which, I don’t see BCM names: Steve Biko, Barney Pityana, and more who were banned around the same time you were in ’72. Nor Mamphela Ramphele.
    Donald Woods
    Desmond Tutu

    • 22 October 2010 8:03 am


      I think Charles Simpkins was banned for a while. I didn’t know any of the BCM people apart of Bennie Khoapa — much of that happened when I was out of the country, either in the UK or Namibia, or after I was banned. I visited Bennie Khoapa in his Black Community Programmes office a couple of times after I was banned (probably was breaking my ban to do so) and I met Barney Pityana once there, but I’ve seen him more since he has been principal of Unisa, but he and Desmond Tutu are there under the clergy section.

    • John Kearns permalink
      6 May 2016 7:51 am

      Good day.Perhaps you can assist me in obtaining that list published by This Day in December 2003 as I was one of those on the list.
      Kind Regards

      • 6 May 2016 10:24 am

        Your number was 7627. You can ask to see it at the archives in Pretoria, and you can get a photocopy of it, if you like.

  11. 23 April 2011 12:17 am

    I want a letter to send to Ngubeni ka-Nkophe.

  12. 13 February 2012 3:41 pm

    A roll of honour.

  13. 26 August 2013 10:34 am

    Thanks Steve. This was very interesting.

  14. Mamsie Khoapa permalink
    16 January 2015 6:08 am

    Good evening Steve:
    Not sure if you are still managing your blog, but I will add my voice to thanking you for keeping the narration of South African history and dialogue open. I see that you met my dad Bennie Khoapa at some point in your visits to UMlazi Durban. An area I find does not get discussed is the role of families of the individuals who were banned. I think there has been a misguided perception that their lives were easy or privileged. I have had many occasions where I have been told how privileged I have been to have lived in the US. The discussion around the trauma and going into exile made then and still continue to plague some people who at very young ages had to live once their parent/parents were banned is an untold story. At times it feels like that story is uncomfortable for people to hear cos they feel you are wining or if you had the experience, you feel you don’t have the voice or relevance in sharing. I still struggle with many things that happened during those days, but I will say Thanks to my parents for having been strong and pretty much defiant in their response to my father’s banning order. To find normalcy in the face of that with young children, I don’t know how they stayed above water. Maybe that is what I need to spend my time saying from the top of my lungs as a child from that era with that history: Thank you to my parents and siblings for helping to keep us as a unit despite the challenges. In turn Thanks to those who supported the South Africa diaspora who were landless and homeless for many years.
    Finally, Thanks to you Steve and those who keep the wind beneath your wings to start such a webpage and keeping the narrative going.

    Best Regards;
    Mamsie Khoapa

    • 16 January 2015 11:23 am


      Thanks very much for your comments, which add to the story that I hope more will tell. I visited your dad a few times at his office at the Beatrix Street Congregational Church, from which he ran the Black Community Programmes. Then I was banned, and could not go there any more. Fifteen months later he was banned too, and we were not allowed to communicate at all.

      When I was first banned, I stayed with the Gilley family. Larry Gilley was a Congregational minister, and had his office in the same building as your dad, we we kept in touch indirectly. I wasn’t married at that stage, so it did not affect my family much, but I was lucky to have the Gilley family, who were very supportive. But your dad would have lo9st his job as well when he was banned, and that would have made things much more difficult for all of you.

      Maybe you should tell your story more fully, perhaps in your own blog. The further those days recede into the past, the more vague and distorted the picture people have of that time becomes. Keep well!

      • Mamsie Khoapa permalink
        19 January 2015 1:30 pm

        I feel like you are reading my dad’s mind. I have been after him to write “his story” especially as we seem to be struggling with leadership and a political face in South Africa. He always turns it around and says…”You guys..(meaning my sisters especially) should write about your have lots to say” . As you cam imagine its a back and forth…My take is that I objectify the experience as it was a survival mode…and I think that pretty much has become a way of life. It takes people’s comments that I revisit that and even wonder which world does one inhabit and how to unlock these experiences without sounding…..well anyway…its something to think about and maybe one of these days will action. Until then, I will find pleasure in reading your blog and seeing what else people are sharing. Maybe that will assist in unlocking the mind and feel like sharing the experience is worthwhile. I do believe without realizing we are products of keeping information safe in our minds and hearts—a default state of being from the past huh….

        You are lucky you had a family during those times and yes it was a struggle from the bit I remember. Thank God I was too young to know the gravity of what had happened..we just assumed “dad was working closer to home cos he had too many meetings and we were not seeing him much…” It was about two years down the road when the “system” used to visit the house at night or be stationed outside the house that a different reality was finally brought to light. Interesting even thinking about it…All I can say we had lots of parties…every weekend. Turns out they were to hide the fact that people from BCP and BCM were meeting in the middle of it all.

        Well I shall leave it at that for now….I will revisit the “sharing of experiences and dialogue”….

        All the best….

      • Palesa permalink
        13 January 2016 3:05 pm

        Hi Steve.

        I’m trying to find out more about my dad, the late Sechaba Noel Lebenya.

        I see from your article that you had met him in the past.

        I was hoping that I could somehow get into contact with you, regarding finding out more about his life and the role he played in our history as he passed away when a was quite young

  15. Deon Strydom permalink
    12 September 2015 10:29 am

    Hi Steve!
    Fascinating to read this post. In the late 80’s My phone was tapped by the Security police, I had “visits” where they searched the house, and I was often followed when I came from Church meetings. When I asked the one policeman one day why they are wasting their time like this, I was answered that I was in the wrong church – “Boesak’s Church!” I was a minister in the then NG Sendingkerk.

    Regarding the shredding of files – I had a classmate that I becane suspicious of, as he was. Minister in Namibia and I was outside George, but I got a random visit from him. During the visit he started inquiring about some of my fellow ministers. It was suspicious because he seemed to know about them. Many years later, another classmate told me that this guys brother was in the ‘churches branch’ of the security police. I was also told that on the day FW de Klerk announced the unbanning of the ANC in 1990 they started shredding files….

  16. Palesa permalink
    13 January 2016 3:04 pm

    Hi Steve.

    I’m trying to find out more about my dad, the late Sechaba Noel Lebenya.

    I see from your article that you had met him in the past.

    I was hoping that I could somehow get into contact with you, regarding finding out more about his life and the role he played in our history as he passed away when a was quite young

  17. 13 January 2016 3:05 pm

    Hi Steve.

    I’m trying to find out more about my dad, the late Sechaba Noel Lebenya.

    I see from your article that you had met him in the past.

    I was hoping that I could somehow get into contact with you, regarding finding out more about his life and the role he played in our history as he passed away when a was quite young


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