Remembering Egerton on Heritage Day


23 September 2013

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will unveil an upgraded Egerton Bus Boycott Massacre Memorial Site in Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday as part of South Africa’s national Heritage Day celebrations.

In 1983, communities from East London and Mdantsane, a township outside East London, embarked on a boycott to protest an unannounced five cent increase in bus fares.

The boycott against the bus service started in July 1983 and culminated on 4 August in what was later called the Egerton massacre, which claimed 11 lives, with a further 36 commuters injured.

The massacre took place at Egerton Railway Station outside Mdantsane when police officials from the apartheid bantustan of Ciskei shot and beat residents.

The residents later abandoned buses for taxis and trains as their preferred day-to-day mode of transport to ferry them between their Mdantsane homes and workplaces in East London.

A commemoration of the massacre will be held on Tuesday as part of the upgrade of the memorial, a joint project involving Buffalo City, the Eastern Cape premier’s office and the provincial department of sport, recreation, arts and culture.

Motlanthe, who will deliver a keynote address at the main event, will unveil the upgraded memorial site before laying a wreath honouring the victims of the massacre.