Armed and Trained: Nelson Mandela's 1962 Military Mission as Commander in Chief of Umkhonto we Sizwe and Provenance for his buried makarov Pistol

Armed and Trained: Nelson Mandela's 1962 Military Mission as Commander in Chief of Umkhonto we Sizwe and Provenance for his buried makarov Pistol

Author: 
Benneyworth, Garth
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis
Date published: 
2011
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
South African Historical Journal
Source: 
South African Historical Journal, vol. 63, no. 1, March 2011, pp. 78-101
Abstract: 

Firearms are inextricably linked to the history of South Africa's liberation struggle and experiences of decolonisation, liberation, and independence for many African countries. Firearms are often perceived as symbols of emancipation from colonial rule, and military leaders, such as Nelson Mandela, who commanded Umkhonto we Sizwe, are no exception, for he is associated with numerous handguns, military weapons and military ordnance during 1962, in particular to a Makarov pistol, originating from Ethiopia. This heritage item holding symbolic and historical value, Mandela claimed he buried at Liliesleaf farm in Johannesburg shortly before being captured in 1962. Although mentioned fleetingly in Nelson Mandela's autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, the provenance of and knowledge about his pistol and the circumstances under which he received it and how he subsequently buried it, together with ammunition and possibly an Ethiopian army uniform, are not widely known. This article details the process by which I established this provenance during 2004 to 2010, and contextualises Nelson Mandela's broader military activities in Africa, discussions he held with freedom fighters and military personnel in Ethiopia and Morocco, the type of military training he underwent, weapons he handled, and activities in South Africa upon his return, once armed and trained.

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CITATION: Benneyworth, Garth. Armed and Trained: Nelson Mandela's 1962 Military Mission as Commander in Chief of Umkhonto we Sizwe and Provenance for his buried makarov Pistol . : Taylor & Francis , 2011. South African Historical Journal, vol. 63, no. 1, March 2011, pp. 78-101 - Available at: http://library.au.int/armed-and-trained-nelson-mandelas-1962-military-mission-commander-chief-umkhonto-we-sizwe-and-3