They Risked Everything to Fight for Freedom in South Africa. Why Are They Still Living in Poverty?
They fled their homes as teenagers to join the resistance. South Africa’s anti-apartheid warriors are wondering why their beloved country has never had their back.
Videos by Natasha Scully
What Xola Tyamzashe remembers most about his sixteenth birthday is the sound of gunshots slicing through the hot afternoon air. It was 1988 and he was at a guerilla training camp on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – hundreds of miles from Tyamzashe’s native South Africa. It was the farthest he’d ever been from home.
Rows of fighters marched in time to the staccato cries of a drill instructor. Salty sweat dripped from every brow, and yellow dirt crunched under every boot. Most were young men – the youngest just eleven. They’d arrived from all over South Africa, but were united by their shared purpose: destroying the apartheid system that treated black South Africans as less than human.
Tyamzashe gripped the semi-automatic rifle he’d been issued and fixed his gaze on the inky silhouette of a paper target. Unlike many of his comrades, he was naturally gifted with the build of a soldier – tall and broad-shouldered with long muscular arms. Only the smoothness…
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