Robben Islander and MK cadre Nicklo Pedro commemorated on what would have been his 54th birthday
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The life of former Robben Island prisoner and people’s soldier, Nicklo Pedro, was commemorated in Mossel Bay on Sunday, the same day he would have celebrated his 54th birthday.
He lost his battle with cancer on Saturday, May 8.
His longtime friend Henriette Abrahams said the experience Pedro endured under the hands of security policeman Jeff Benzien, haunted him until his death.
Pedro, an activist for political change since he was a learner at Sao Bras Secondary School in Mossel Bay, was recruited into Umkhonto we Sizwe while studying at the University of the Western Cape. Like other UWC students who had joined the people’s army to become a soldier for liberation, he went on the run when security police started looking for him.
He was arrested near the Lesotho border on 15 August 1987, driven to Cape Town, where he was undressed, handcuffed to a grill, interrogated and tortured.
Abrahams said Pedro struggled to open up about his experiences. “The violent trauma caused by Benzien and his fellow bloodthirsty Apartheid Security Police goons haunted our brother Nicklo until late in his life.
“It was something he never wanted to talk about and on the rare occasions when he did, it was with immense pain and hatred for Benzien for violently assaulting his body and spirit whilst stripping him night and day of his human dignity.”
Pedro was one of the 15 MK soldiers charged in the Cape Town Supreme Court in 1988. Ashley Forbes was the first-accused in that trial that lasted 65 days. On December 14, 1988, Pedro was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment, with a further 10 years that were suspended for five years.
He served his sentence on Robben Island and was released in May 1991.
He continued with his activism, and at one stage was an ANC member of Mossel Bay Council.
In a statement, the ANC in the Western Cape said: “Truly Comrade Nicklo was one of the brightest flowers of our revolution. He was one of the young lions who believed in the battle cry 'Freedom or Death, Victory is Certain’. We want to pay tribute to Comrade Nicklo and thank him for his selfless contribution to a free South Africa. We dip our banner in honour of him and want to express our condolences to his loved ones.”
Pedro will be buried in Mossel Bay on May 22.