In December of 1990, Momzi said goodbye to her husband as he hurried out the door to work a night shift. Her husband returned home the next morning to find that his house had been demolished. Everything he owned was broken. He called out to his wife, but there was no answer. Momzi was gone. In fact, everyone in the neighborhood seemed to have left. He would later come to know that while he was at work that night soldiers had come – chasing people from their homes, killing the men, and raping the women. Some people had run away to safety, and he hoped that Momzi was one of them. He hoped she would come back to him.

When two weeks passed and his wife still hadn’t returned, he filed a report with the police. He went to committee meetings in different communities looking for more information. He searched for her body in many mortuaries. Despite his efforts, he could not find his wife. Momzi’s husband could not understand why his wife had disappeared. Although she was an ANC member and attended some meetings, he did not consider her to be particularly forward in her political activism. Enforced disappearances in South Africa during the apartheid regime were mostly politically motivated. However, as tensions rose, even regular civilians began to disappear. We must not forget these individuals. We must not stop looking for their remains.

Momzi’s husband explained that her disappearance left him traumatized. When the TRC opened, he could not bring himself to go. He felt too mentally disturbed, and he was still holding on to the hope that soon he would receive a call from the police telling him they had found Momzi. The TRC was limited in scope, especially for families with disappeared loved ones. Because so many political activists had left for exile, or run from soldiers in attacks such as the one on Momzi’s community, people believed that their loved ones were going to come back. The TRC was only open for 18 months. By the time that many people realized their loved ones were not going to return, it was too late for them to report the disappearance.

Momzi’s husband has not experienced or felt any kind of reconciliation. He explained, “The issue of unfinished business is a barrier [to reconciliation]. I am saying that because we still have broken hearts. We are still searching and looking for our loved ones.”


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