Phila Portia Ndwandwe
The Order of Mendi for Bravery in
Profile of Phila Portia Ndwandwe
Phila Portia Ndwandwe was part of the Natal Machinery of Umkhonto we Sizwe under the leadership of Muzi Ngwenya (Thami Zulu or “TZ”) operating from Swaziland. She was in the unit headed by Ayanda Dlodlo that was responsible for the infiltration of African National Congress (ANC) cadres into Natal.
Zandi was abducted in Swaziland at the Manzini Arms by Durban Security Branch members. She refused to cooperate with the police. Her killers stated that they did not have admissible evidence to prosecute her and that they could not release her, and so decided to kill and bury her on the Elandskop farm outside Pietermaritzburg. When Zandi was kidnapped, she had a two-month old baby boy who was with the father (known as Comrade Bheki).
Ndwandwe was recruited into the ANC in 1985 while she was still a Dental Therapy student at the then University of Durban Westville. She lived with General Ramlakan and his wife, who had turned their house into an Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) headquarters in KwaZulu-Natal. Ndwandwe joined MK and received her basic training, after which she and others were arrested. She was separated from the other detainees, as she was listed as a state witness after being charged with terrorism.
She then left the country to receive further military training outside South Africa and returned to re-establish the structures that collapsed with her arrest. After a few operations, she was then deployed to Swaziland.