Lilliesleaf raid to be re-enacted

Several veterans will come together to mark the 50th anniversary of Lilliesleaf Farm.

Photo of the cottage at Liliesleaf Farm where Ahmed Kathrada stayed in 1963. Photo: Historical Papers, University of the Witwatersrand.

JOHANNESBURG - Several politicians and struggle veterans will come together today to re-enact the dramatic police raid at Rivonia's Lilliesleaf farm to mark the event's 50th anniversary.

The raid shaped the struggle against apartheid after the farm was used as a headquarters for underground activity.

Nelson Mandela and seven others were sentenced to life behind bars in the notorious Rivonia trial based on evidence seized during the raid on this day in 1963.

The farm's CEO Nicholas Wolpe say it's impossible to mark the occasion without thinking about Madiba who remains in a critical condition at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.

The ailing 94-year-old is spending a fifth week at the facility for a recurring lung infection.

Wolpe says some puzzles about the raid are yet to be solved such as who leaked information to the police and where Mandela's gun was buried.

He says keeping history alive is what matters most.

"It's not just about marking and commemorating. It's about ensuring that our liberation struggle and our history is not lost and is not relegated to the rubbish heap of history."

Various events are planned at Lilliesleaf farm today including a visit by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and the unveiling of a commemorative coin set.


Mandela remains in a critical but stable condition, according to a statement released by the Presidency on Wednesday evening.

President Jacob Zuma visited the former President on Wednesday.

Doctors told Zuma that Madiba was responding to treatment.

The Presidency has once again urged the public to continue supporting Mandela and his family.

This is Madiba's fourth and longest hospitalisation since December.