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Swakopmund airfield

David Irving (right) arrives at Swakopmund airport -- on the edge of the desert -- during a 1989 speaking tour of southern Africa

PRESS RELEASE         November 23, 1987


AUTHOR and historian David Irving returned from South Africa this morning Monday with sharp criticism of Sir Richard Attenborough's film "Cry Freedom," and more: gruesome secret film footage shot (or confiscated) by the South African police and army during counter-insurgency operations in the cities and Black townships last year.

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David Irving comments:

BETWEEN 1986 and 1992 I toured South Africa several times speaking to large audiences.
   On one of these tours, a Johannesburg woman, later a high ranking diplomat, provided me with the two secret videotapes referred to in this press release. The originals were held in Soweto police archives, used for training greenhorn police officials on what they might expect to confront.
   The S.A. television of course never showed such nightmare scenes as these videos contained.
   Several British public schools accepted my offer and showed the horrific films to Sixth Formers -- a good example of Real History in action.

"These censored films have S.A. police stamps on them," says Irving. "They include some of the ugliest scenes that I have ever witnessed."

The Pretoria regime has never allowed the release of such films. Irving obtained them from dissident police officials in Natal province last week who believe that although the footage often shows the security authorities acting with undue severity, it also grimly illustrates the unprecedented terror methods used by the banned ANC (African National Congress) and the UDF (United Democratic Front), the ANC's political arm inside South Africa. In one shot, "uniformed" UDF marshals are seen hounding a Black man out of his cottage, stabbing him to death, and hacking him with a meat axe.

Irving proposes to make this authentic police film archive available to a number of British public schools for showing to selected Sixth Formers taking classes in international politics. "It will be up to individual headmasters to decide if some of the scenes are too horrific," he says. Other scenes include the ANC "necklacing" of a Black woman whose hands have first been pinioned with barbed wire; the rescue by security forces of three badly mutilated Blacks who have been sentenced by a UDF "court" to whipping and "necklacing;" the shooting of an eight-year old Black boy suspected of throwing a petrol bomb; and extraordinary scenes of frenzied Black crowds, with thousands of marching and whirling demonstrators singing, brandishing weapons, and chanting the name of Oliver Tambo, the ANC leader who first endorsed its hardline tactics.

"If Attenborough has the stomach to see what Black crowd scenes really look like in South Africa," says Irving, "I'll be happy to lend him this film footage."


David Irving's Books (free downloads)
Selected speeches by David Irving
South Africa tour diary (see entry for Nov 20, 1987)

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