28 June 2012

28 June marks 28 years since the bombing of Jeanette Schoon and her daughter

Jeanette was a member of the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) and her husband, Marius, an apartheid activist, was actually the target of the bombing for his activism work and political alignment.

The 35-year old Jeanette and her daughter Katryn, who was only 6 years old, were killed by a parcel bomb on June 28, 1984. It was delivered by a spy who posed as a family friend. That person was later identified as Craig Williamson, who is the same man that killed Ruth First, also an apartheid activist.

Craig and his accomplice, Jerry Raven later appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Amnesty Committee for making the bomb. They were granted amnesty by the commission, a decision that shocked many in South Africa, especially those affected by the two perpetrators' crimes. Ruth First's daughter, Robyn Slovo, was quoted as saying "We were deeply shocked by the amnesties which are completely unwarranted and unfair," shortly after the decision was made.

In an article titled ‘Outrage over amnesty for apartheid killer', The Guardian reported, "The outrage being expressed about these two high-profile cases reflects the disillusion of many township victims profoundly disappointed by their own experience of amnesties given to police, and by the slowness and inadequacy of reparations payments. The ANC is already paying a political price for its perceived failure to look after its own. These cases will be a symbol of that failure."

Jeanette's husband was banned from South Africa and had initially settled in Botswana but advanced further to Angola in a hope that it would be safer for his family there. Their 3-year old son, Fritz, who was also in the kitchen during the bombing, miraculously escaped the ordeal unharmed.

Visit the following SAHA collections to read more about Jeanette Schoon and other TRC-related collections:

AL2594 The Jeanette Schoon Collection
The TRC Collections