Trojan Horse victims honoured

Claudine Miranda and Georgina Williams, the sister and mother of the slain Michael Miranda, lay a wreath in his memory at the Trojan Horse Massacre memorial site on Saturday October 20.

The memory of Michael Miranda, 11, Shaun Magmoed, 15 and Jonathan Claassen, 21, was commemorated on Saturday October 20, on the spot where these young people lost their lives on October 15, 1985.

The incident, on the corner of St Simon’s Road and Thornton Road in Athlone, became known as the Trojan Horse Massacre, because police hid among wooden crates in a railway truck, before jumping up and shooting at the young people.

At the time – now 33 years ago – high school pupils were pelting a railway truck with stones during a protest, and the apartheid security police responded in the most brutal way, when they shot indiscriminately into this group of young people. Michael, Shaun, and Jonathan, were killed, and scores of others were injured. At least 28 people were arrested, and 13 of them were charged with public violence. However, they were all acquitted.

Although a magistrate found in March 1988 that the 13 police officers involved in the ambush had acted unreasonably and that they were responsible for the deaths of Jonathan, Shaun and Michael, not one of them was charged. In mythology, the Trojan Horse was a huge wooden horse the Greeks built and hid in, to secretly enter the city of Troy during the Trojan War. In September 2005, the City of Cape Town erected the Trojan Horse Memorial in Thornton Road.

On Saturday, relatives, activists and ANC members gathered at the memorial site to honour their memory. They also had a wreath-laying ceremony.