Children of the struggle remember parents' fight for freedom

Children of the struggle remember parents' fight for freedom

CAPE TOWN - Fidel Issel recounts the many times his father was dragged off by police in the middle of the night.

But his family is among those who, as relatives of struggle heroes, paid a particularly high price for freedom.

"There were many mornings when we were faced with cops in our room with these big machine guns, looking for our father," Fidel recalls.

His sister Leila says the past has left an indelible mark on her psyche after experiencing persecution from a very early age.

"I had to live with my teachers because I was on the run when I was about six because the police were hunting me. And I was arrested when I was nine…"

Meanwhile, Dehran Swart admits nightmares are a common occurrence. His father, anti-apartheid activist Nabil Swart, was detained and brutally beaten by apartheid police on various occasions for his open defiance.

Swart, also known as Basil, is most notably remembered for being arrested after helping a pupil at Alexander Sinton High School in Crawford who had been shot by apartheid police in 1976. He was the deputy principal of the school at the time.

"While I was in the charge office I recall about three massive white policemen manhandling my father, pushing him out of the courtyard towards an awaiting car," Dehran recalls.

He says while counselling and treatment have helped, he remains haunted by some memories.

Swart says he too had run-ins with the law because of his involvement with organisations like the UDF and adds his time in detention caused him a great deal of psychological harm.

"I still cannot stand to see someone being harmed; it's really upsetting to see people that don't have any protection in any circumstance being harmed."

His sister Rehana remembers she and her brothers were made aware of the inequality of the apartheid system at a very young age.

"In this time, we were all involved as kids with UDF where we knew what was actually happening and where we knew what we fought for."

She says she was traumatised every time her dad was arrested.

The two say their parents' bravery inspired them to be active in the fight against apartheid.

Fidel and Leila also agree that they are proud of the roles their mother and father played in the struggle for democracy, despite the tumultuous times in which they grew up.

They add that Freedom Day serves as an annual reminder of their father's dedication and determination to bring about change in South Africa.

Leila says her memories of 27 April 1994 are so vivid she cannot believe more than two decades have passed.

"I wore my best, you did your hair and you did your make-up. And when we were finished we didn't leave immediately because it was such a grand moment."

Watch: Journalists remember documenting the dawn of a new democracy.

Children of the struggle remember parents' fight for freedom

CAPE TOWN - Fidel Issel recounts the many times his father was dragged off by police in the middle of the night.

But his family is among those who, as relatives of struggle heroes, paid a particularly high price for freedom.

"There were many mornings when we were faced with cops in our room with these big machine guns, looking for our father," Fidel recalls.

His sister Leila says the past has left an indelible mark on her psyche after experiencing persecution from a very early age.

"I had to live with my teachers because I was on the run when I was about six because the police were hunting me. And I was arrested when I was nine…"

Meanwhile, Dehran Swart admits nightmares are a common occurrence. His father, anti-apartheid activist Nabil Swart, was detained and brutally beaten by apartheid police on various occasions for his open defiance.

Swart, also known as Basil, is most notably remembered for being arrested after helping a pupil at Alexander Sinton High School in Crawford who had been shot by apartheid police in 1976. He was the deputy principal of the school at the time.

"While I was in the charge office I recall about three massive white policemen manhandling my father, pushing him out of the courtyard towards an awaiting car," Dehran recalls.

He says while counselling and treatment have helped, he remains haunted by some memories.

Swart says he too had run-ins with the law because of his involvement with organisations like the UDF and adds his time in detention caused him a great deal of psychological harm.

"I still cannot stand to see someone being harmed; it's really upsetting to see people that don't have any protection in any circumstance being harmed."

His sister Rehana remembers she and her brothers were made aware of the inequality of the apartheid system at a very young age.

"In this time, we were all involved as kids with UDF where we knew what was actually happening and where we knew what we fought for."

She says she was traumatised every time her dad was arrested.

The two say their parents' bravery inspired them to be active in the fight against apartheid.

Fidel and Leila also agree that they are proud of the roles their mother and father played in the struggle for democracy, despite the tumultuous times in which they grew up.

They add that Freedom Day serves as an annual reminder of their father's dedication and determination to bring about change in South Africa.

Leila says her memories of 27 April 1994 are so vivid she cannot believe more than two decades have passed.

"I wore my best, you did your hair and you did your make-up. And when we were finished we didn't leave immediately because it was such a grand moment."

Watch: Journalists remember documenting the dawn of a new democracy.