Survivors and families members of those who lost their lives gathered outside the newly built Women's Heritage Museum to participate in a commemoration and memorial event. Picture: Brenda Masilela/ANA

Pretoria - Thirty years ago on this day, Barrend "Wit wolf" Strydom massacred eight innocent people at Strijdom Square at the centre of Pretoria and injured 16 others.

On Thursday, survivors and families members of those who lost their lives gathered outside the newly built Women's Heritage Museum to participate in a commemoration and memorial event.

Feroz Carrim and Salim Carrim lost their father during the shooting. Their father owned a shop not far from the State Theatre. 

Feroz, 57,  explained that he was working with his father and had briefly stepped out of the store when Strydom came in killing people.

"All my fathers' employees told me that they dived to the ground but my father walked across him and asked him what the hell is wrong with you, are you stupid or what, and that's when he shot my father," he said.

"We will never know the exact count of this because it was hush-hush at that time, it was run by a different system."

He said his father died a week later in hospital and the family was never given a proper explanation of his death.

"We don't know whether proper health care was given or whether there was poisoning in the bullets...We always speculate," said Feroz.

Bradley Hawk Steyn who came to the memorial service, was at Strijdom Square, now Lilian Ngoyi Square the day Strydom went on a killing spree.

"The pictures that I've had to live with all these years has been very challenging. I can't even imagine what the actual victims' families have gone through and how hard its been hard for them."

Steyn was 17 at the time of the incident, he had gone to the State theatre to meet his mom who worked there.

"I witnessed everything and it's not a pretty sight to see frightened people dying in front of you."

He said he was working with the Department of Arts and Culture to unveil a plaque for the victims which lost their lives. 

It will be opened next year on the 31st anniversary.

He also working on a book titled, Undercover with Mandela’s Spies: The Story of the Boy who Crossed the Square, which will be released in April next year.

Strydom served less than five years in prison for his crimes and showed no remorse after killing eight people.

He now lives quietly in Hartbeespoort outside Pretoria, where he works as an artisan and has raised a family with his wife, who he married when he was briefly a prisoner.

African News Agency (ANA)