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Phila Ndwandwe was a freedom fighter.

A revolutionary you never really hear about.

In these picture she is holding her child on one hand and a gun on another.

Phila Ndwandwe was fighting against apartheid when she was captured and tortured. First they killed her child, after that they tortured her and tried getting her to snitch on her comrades.

For ten days she was kept completely naked beaten and abused. She made her own panty by using plastic. After more than a week of inhumane torture.

They realized she wasn’t going to sell her people so they walked her into an open field and shot her in the back of her head. When we talk about women’s day.

These are the kinds of women we are talking about.

Women who fought for their country.

I’m talking about revolutionaries you’ve never heard of.

Women that gave the apartheid government sleepless nights. Soldiers of the revolution.

These are the women we are talking about.

Women who were really strong not these slay queens who don’t know how to bath properly  running their mouth just to  be attention seekers.

We celebrate strong black women who have been through difficult times.

Phila Portia Ndwandwe (6 February 1965 – 1988), also known as Zandile or Zandi) was a fighter of the Natal cadre of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) formed by Muzi Ngwenya (Thami Zulu or “TZ”) operating from Swaziland. MK was the armed wing (Spear of the Nation) of the African National Congress, created by Nelson Mandela in 1961. Zandi was a breastfeeding mother when she was abducted by Apartheid forces and tortured for ten days to convert her into becoming an informer for the South African government. She was shot in the head after being made to kneel in front of her captors.

Kwazulu-Natal origins

In 1985, 21-year-old Zandi was a Dental Therapy student when she was recruited into the ANC and became an MK fighter. Three years later, she was abducted in Swaziland by Durban Security Branch members at the Manzini Arms, a residence. She was an activist living in Durban who was under surveillance and arrested on terrorism charges before fleeing to exile in Swaziland. Hers was the first body disinterred by the Truth and Reconciliation commission. During the TRC’s hearing the Officer that confessed to being part of the group that shot her led authorities to the place on the Elandkop farm where they had buried her.


On March 12, 1997, Ndwandwe’s skeleton was unearthed in a field in KwaZulu-Natal and her 9-year-old son attended her state funeral with his grandparents and Nelson Mandela. She had been stripped and beaten repeatedly in an effort to ‘turn’ her but she steadfastly refused to talk. One of her captors described her refusal as “Brave, very brave.” Having no prosecutable evidence against Zandi they decided to kill her and hide the body, covering it with lime and a plastic sheet. 11 former members of the security forces received amnesty and the informers who kidnapped her were not revealed.


Her father, Nason Ndwandwe had feared that she had become an ‘askari’– an accomplice or informer to the apartheid regime when she did not return with Nelson Mandela and the ANC in 1993, so he applied to the TRC for a formal inquiry. TRC investigator Stephanie Miller found evidence of a police ‘hit squad’ operating in Durban and brought pressure to bear on the members.


By 1997 those whom had applied for amnesty revealed to the commission the story of her abduction and subsequent murder. After her disappearance her family had been told that she had eloped to Tanzania.


In 2003 Ndwandwe received the Order of Mendi for Bravery in Silver for:

Demonstrating Bravery and valor and for sacrificing her life for her comrades in the cause for a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa.

There is a road named for her memory near Isipingo Rail and is located at Durban in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Phila Ndwandwe Road is next to Umlazi and runs from the Isipingo Hills to Malaba Hills.

Art that was dedicated to her homemade plastic panties, a floating blue plastic dress by artist Judith Mason titled “BLUE DRESS” is hanging in the Constitutional Court in the city of Johannesburg.

Sister, a plastic bag may not be the whole armor of God, but you were wrestling with flesh and blood, and against powers, against the rulers of darkness, against spiritual wickedness in sordid places.



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