Schoon deserves highest honour for his sacrifices

Marius Schoon was involved at the advanced level, the armed Struggle, says the writer.

Marius Schoon was involved at the advanced level, the armed Struggle, says the writer.

Published Mar 5, 2024


Thembile Ndabeni

We have a rich history, though part of its richness is through the hardship, suffering and pain many had to go through. How people sacrificed and suffered for this democracy varies.

Some of the wonderful people who made a supreme sacrifice hail from the dominant white community group, Afrikaner, that was ruthlessly holding the reins of power. It is amazing how some Afrikaners, as individuals and as a collective, contributed to the Struggle. Marius Schoon is one of them.

He followed the likes of Bram Fischer.

His political involvement started with the Congress of Democrats or South African Congress of Democrats, one of the most progressive white organisations at the time.

In no time, Schoon was involved at the advanced level, the armed Struggle.

He was involved in a bombing but was caught because of an infiltration.

He was sent to prison where he was tortured. His father, a member of the National Party, had to intervene but it was in vain. That made him more politically aware and a little progressive. As a result, he left the National Party and joined the Progressive Federal Party.

His first wife committed suicide while he was in prison. He was not given permission to attend the funeral.

He married Jeanette Curtis but they could not be together since they were banned. They lived under unbearable situations because of their political activism. They decided to turn their backs on the country and fled to Botswana. Even in Botswana, the apartheid regime was behind them. They then left for Angola but the apartheid regime, through its security forces, remained behind them.

A parcel was delivered to him.

His wife opened it. The parcel bomb killed her and their 8-year-old daughter, Katryn. Their son, Fritz, who was in the kitchen, escaped unharmed.

Schoon fled to Angola with Fritz and then to the Republic of Ireland, where he met his third wife, Sherry McLean.

Some people ask: What made Schoon sacrifice the privileges of colour and class for suffering? How could you leave the benefits of being an educated white person, an Afrikaner for that matter, and side with the people who were “created” by the apartheid system to be your servants?

Though what he fought for is being messed up, what matters is that it was achieved and Schoon proved not to have been a fool for the decision he took. It was achieved during his lifetime. He was a real patriot, and not just a white patriot but an Afrikaner patriot in a Struggle against white minority domination, predominantly Afrikaner.

What must also be noted is that he went to the highest and riskiest point, the armed Struggle. I am sure that even today, some people are not convinced the decision had been his to take because he had been forced to take it. I am also sure that among his community, white community in general, Afrikaner in particular, he was perceived as a traitor. Schoon suffered from that act of “betrayal”.

As a result of the Struggle, he lost two wives. The government blamed the ANC.

Even those who perceive him as a traitor, must know he fought a just, noble and godly cause against the ruthless, inhuman and evil apartheid system that the UN declared as “crime against humanity”.

A genuine white compatriot from the beginning until the end. He died four years after launching a lawsuit against two spies responsible for the deaths of his wife and daughter.

Unfortunately, a year after he died, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission granted the spies amnesty.

There is no way that our children can be deprived of knowledge and information about this noble sacrifice.

The founding president of the PAC, Robert Sobukwe, said anyone who pledged allegiance to one country and respected the values of Africa was an African. Without doubt, Schoon was an African.

Beside being omitted from the school curriculum, we need to find out if he is being honoured elsewhere.

February 7, 2024, marked the 25th anniversary of the death of this wonderful sacrifice for the sake of the others and the country.

* Ndabeni is a former history tutor at UWC and a former teacher at Bulumko Senior Secondary School in Khayelitsha.

Cape Times

Related Topics: