Canadian inmate not Makhubu

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Johannesburg - Medical tests have proved that a man in a Canadian prison is not Mbuyisa Makhubu.

As a teenager, Makhubu was photographed carrying the dying Hector Pieterson away from the 1976 Soweto riots. In the picture, Pieterson’s sister Antoinette is seen running alongside Makhubu.

Pieterson was the first victim of police brutality during the June 16, 1976 Soweto student march.

The picture, which was taken by Sam Mzima, has been used around the world and has become a symbol of the struggle against apartheid.

After being harassed by the police, Makhubu, then 18, is believed to have fled to Botswana, while many have speculated that he had died.

In recent weeks, however, talks regarding his whereabouts resurfaced after reports of a man resembling Makhubu had emerged. The man is detained in a Canadian prison for breaking immigration laws.

This prompted the Department of Arts and Culture and other government departments, such as International Relations and Cooperation, to do a follow-up and take DNA samples from the Makhubu family to see if they match the man in the Canadian prison.

Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile on Thursday said there was an indication that the man might be South African, but he is not Makhubu.

“The DNA results came back negative,” Mashatile told a media briefing.

However, the family, according to Mashatile, has indicated that they would like to do further verification.

“Obviously this is a sensitive issue for the family and they still believe it’s him.  We are still engaging them on a way forward.”

Even if the man is not Makhubu, Mashatile said government will offer consular services to the man who is reported to be mentally unstable. -