Feedback from the readers

Pam Zide

Hey, I am almost halfway through the book. It is quite an interesting read, It is very personal, one can relate to it in one way or another. I am glad I decided to give it a chance. 

Sat 12th Mar,2011

Nonhlanhla Tshabalala

Could not put the book down until the last page. Great work and familiar people! There were several other No 43 Trelawney Parks for those who lived in Mbabane… however, documentation thereof would be subject to a string of challenges…

Tue 19th Oct,2010

Richard Goldman

Hello Elias. We haven’t talked in a few years. I did enjoy reading your book and learning about your family (picked up the book in 2007 in Joburg airport).

Tue 19th Oct,2010

Buli Manele

Long live the spirit of uMagogo long live!!!!! Very well done for accomplishing a milestone of this magnitude!!!! I have just been touched by uMagogo’s profile that is written very eloquently. I look forward to the rest of the website and reading the book itself!!!! God bless!!!

Thu 14th Oct,2010

Bridgette Gasa

Read the book and finished it between Frankfurt – Thessaloniki & Crete in Greece. Very well written! Phenomenal account of history and the impact it had on one particular family. I am proud and even more so because I now know the author!

Fri 02nd Jul,2010

Daisy Naidoo

Dear Elias I congratulate you on telling your story. Our country’s history must be written by people like yourself, whilst you are alive to tell the story.

Sun 27th Jun,2010

Itumeleng Ntatamala

Dear Ntate Elias Masilela

I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to you for the signed copy of Number 43 which I received on Friday from Gabaza Mashele. I absolutely enjoyed reading Gabsaza’s copy and will forever remain grateful for a copy of my own.

I have read many books about the South African liberation struggle but never one like number 43 shedding light on the struggle as waged from Swaziland. As I read the book I was astounded at how organized and disciplined the ANC was through the struggle. Through this book you have managed to gain a now firm supporter of the ANC. You have also managed to show me what role I could play in the new South Africa to continue the work done by our freedom fighters.

I am in my 4th year at UCT studying medicine with a particular interest in public health, health systems and health policy. This is not the most glamorous of medical specialities but I love it. Your book has encouraged me to focus on graduating as an excellent clinician ready to enter the public service and make a meaningful contribution to improvement of health care in the country. Who knows, I ‘ll probably make it to HOD, MEC or even Ministerial position in the Department of health some day. Your book will have contributed immensely to this (and will definitely be acknowledged for this!).

Thank you once more. Next you meet Gabs (Gabaza) please do allow me to say thank you in person. Congratulations once more on an excellent book.

Fri 07th May,2010

Tariro Nyimo

I especially enjoyed Part II of the book because I could relate to some of the characters such as uThandi, who was said to be known by her family as something else and her friends another. And uGrace, who went around with her youngest child on her back, a sight common to me and my son (much to the horror of my established friends). In Part III, which I actually found difficult to read, I was moved by the story of uSeptember and how he sold out. If he could sell out… the author had described him as ‘…September would be one of the high ranking intellectuals in the new government.’Then really, what made him not die for the cause he worked for? Death is scary!!

Mon 08th Mar,2010

Assie Mangadi

Elias, Congratulations on a nice piece of work. The book is very intriguing and picturesque. I could not put it down. Some chapters were a bit touching. I ws crying. We now await a follow up publication.

Thu 14th Jan,2010


Wow! Im glad to add this book to my list of “finished books”… it is an interesting, captivating, great read! Quite sweet & sour like…the sweet taste of freedom, which many of those who struggled & strived for it did not get to taste. But how do we dare forget the painful and shattering memories that are still engraved in those who lost loved ones…the question that lingers on in my mind is whether we’re truly and really free? We might appear as free from the kind of oppression experienced 19 yrs ago and that we’re now facing different forms of bondage in various facets of our lives. Nonetheless, Thank you for acknowledging all those heroes that brought us & the country to where we are today. Much appreciation to you and your family for opening your hearts and availing your property, time and efforts for a worthy cause. You were truly a blessing!

Mon 12th Oct,2009


Eita da, I must say this is a masterpiece….surely and always will be proud of being a member of this wonderful family… You happen to be my uncle, but we call each other out’yam or mfethu… out’yami uy’shayile lento…no doubt about it… Magogo May your spirit continue to live amongst us… Joel Kgomotso Masilela ka Mahlangu (Swazi’s son)

Tue 4th Aug,2009

Edgar L. Ngubeni

BoMasilela, I am one of the readers who is fortunate to have a copy signed by the author.

The first time I met uMagogo it was in December 2000 at number 43 Trelawney Park. She related to me almost the whole content of the book and it was prior the author penned it. During my short visit at Number 43 Trelawney Park, she showed me old newspaper clippings and family photos during the police raids. She will be remembered by (Amaqabane) for her selfless character and for openning her place to multitudes of South African freedom fighters. UMagogo was a real paragon of virtue, the role she played towards the liberation struggle is immense, all the best boDlambili and may God bless you in all your endeavours. Ngagaru. Edgar L. Ngubeni

Mon 8th Jun,2009

Fakazo Dlamini

I am definitely getting a copy. Big ups to the Masilela family. The struggle continues. The legacy of uMagogo is here to stay. Actually, I am looking forward to a DVD with the interviews. I am actually happy for my friends whom I attended school with at St Michael’s Mgedla. Matitila and Boitumelo their family history written down in black and white

Mon 1st Jun,2009

Ayanda Masilela

I have just been recently married into the Masilela family without much knowledge on the familys’ political background.The book was given to us as a wedding present by the author, who is an uncle to my husband, who is a Reverend under the Lutheran Church.

I found the book to be a highly interesting read and educational read.I like the manner in which the author constructs his sentences and his choice of words because it exposes the authors real feelings on the topic. I truly love the book and should get my expired passport ready so I can join the family on the 20th June on the trip to Number 43. I am honoured to belong to a family with such a rich political past and its members with rich characters. I should probably mention that I have started reading the book again!

Sun 12th Apr,2009

Ntate R.L. Rantlha, Bronkhorspruit, South Africa

Thank you very much for the book you sent me. I have read it with great interst and have to keep the reflection. I take you as a hero who fought for our freedom, like Mandela.

Mon 29th Dec,2008

Gabaza Mashele, Johannesburg, South Africa

I have just finished reading your masterpiece and I cannot begin to express how amazing it was. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. I could not put it down. I read it in record time, 11 hours. Wow!!!

Sat 29th Nov,2008

Najwa, Johannesburg, South Africa

Dear Elias, your voice resonates throughout the book. Quiet but strong – so much is left unsaid but through this, you allow the story of the people to be heard and take centre stage. There is definitely enough for another book. Thank you uElias for all you have done before 1994 and after.

Tue 4th Nov,2008

Bashkar, Cape Town, South Africa

uElias, I am humbled! Thank you, I have now added kwaMagogo to my list of “must see destinations”! I am proud to know you and beg that you sign my personal copy given to me by Comrade Miles. Peace,

Sat 25th Oct,2008

 Archie Magwaza, Mbabane, Swaziland

The book is a good read, I was still young then but aware it brings back memories. I was thinking that you may need to set up a website where people that you may not know or could not interview can contribute to your next book.

Sun 08th Jul,2008

Petros Horton, Manzini, Swaziland

Hi Elias, when I look back over the past two weeks and think of how wonderful the whole weekend, beginning June 22 – 23, 2007, was one is left with one special thing to say to you sir, that is you made the Salesians proud and I know that you have left a mark in some of the boys do not be surprised when one meets you say ten years from now and tell you how much it meant to then for you to address them. Over and above that, the teachers and Salesian community were all happy and proud of your achievement, the fact that it was an achievement by one of the Salesians, it is the cherry on the cake. Thank you so much babe, may God bless you and your family.

Sun 08th Jul,2008

Tor Sellstroom, Durban, South Africa

Dear Elias, thank you for giving me two nights of sleepness, but oh so rewarding nights since meeting you and buying your book at Ike’s in Durban on 27 June. Yours is truly a ground-breaking account, not only for the human touch but also for the factual history of the South African liberation struggle! And for the part played by Swaziland, good and/or bad. With family in Swaziland and directly responsible for Swedish support to the ANC in that country 1982-83 – closely following the tragic events thereafter, not least in regular discussions with Thabo Mbeki in Lusaka and Harare -, I would like to contribute to your proposed follow-up study.

Wed 02nd Jul,2008

Allan Greenblo, Johannesburg, South Africa

Congratulations on your book launch. I greatly enjoyed the function on Wed evening and thank you for having invited me.

Sun 22nd Jun,2008

Rae Davids, Johannesburg, South Africa

Started reading your book, must admit you certainly are a dark horse. It has certainly captivated me from the first page. Will keep you posted as I progress. Thanks for the suggestion.

Thu 24th Apr,2008

Kirsten Kennedy, Johannesburg, South Africa

thank you for telling your story and that of no. 43. As you saw, it raised a lot of food for thought … not least of which for me is the role of your book in raising awareness of what was going on during the apartheid years. … So I would add a category to the one you do below – something like blind or unconscious citizen – as observer status suggests that one at least sees (or is aware of) what is going on around. Your book is a reminder/eye-opener of sorts, to the price that people paid for what they believed in and to overcome a system that so badly indignified people’s lives.

Sat 12th Apr,2008

Siyabonga Mkhwanazi, Cape Town, South Africa

Hope you are well, probably you will remember that we met at the ANC conference in Polokwane and I bought your book. Although I had been reading your book in piecemeal, this past weekend I decided to finish it. Judging by the cadres who were part of Number 43 and the operations plotted there, resulting in their execution in apartheid SA I have nothing but respect and comradely respect for those fearless, selfless, big-hearted men and women of the soil.

I was impressed by the thorough research you conducted in writing this valuable documentary evidence that sheds light into how we got where we are.

Tue 11th Mar,2008

Paul Myeza, Johannesburg, South Africa

After being delayed by work, I have had the opportunity to complete Number 43. It is a riveting read, eloquently written and having lived in Swaziland, it is very thought provoking. Well done.

Mon 3rd Mar,2008

Tiny Kgatlwane, South Africa

The few highlights of your book have really captured my imagination and I will get the book not only to read about the experiences of the writer/people in the struggle but to also enjoy the write up which appears to be of high quality. You know I like reading a lot and one of the things that I look for is the art of expression as well. You know! It is amazing how you are able to find time to come up with such magnificent output despite your busy schedule.——– well done young man!!!!

Mon 17th Sep,2007

Khula Mkhabela, Pretoria, South Africa

Ngiyavusela kuba kaMasilela. Ngiyavusela Mfana waBhuza. He once said, Ask yourself, do you want to be an asset or liability of the country? If alive, he would be proud of you.

Tue 16th Oct,2007

Gcebile Dlamini, Manzini, Swaziland

The festivities have come and gone. The hullaballo died down. The guests came and left and somebody here wants to say good work bhuti and congratulations. It is never too late kubonga umsebenti lomuhle.  I did the behind the scenes work, praying for you and all that were involved so that the whole thing is the success it turned out to be. I knew how passionate you were about it, the day I came back from the UK. It did not make sense but I listened anyway and here we are today  four years later. Please give me some of that drive.

Mon 20th Aug,2007

Susan Farrel, Pretoria, South Africa

I have been reading your book. It is written in an easy style which facilitates ones concentration on the story. I have enjoyed the anecdotes – “under aaaaaage” and the mango tree etc. I feel as though I know your family because their individual personalities are so well documented that they come alive on the pages. It is strange to read about all the famous names attached to the struggle and to still be able read about them today in the media. The book begins on a light note but, as the book unfolds, the seriousness of the subject begins to seep through. I have been pondering the reaction you received from Madiba and can only think that at that stage, he was swamped in his new role and probably felt that, such weighty matters still needed to be addressed and that he was out of his depth.

Just a thought! After all this time, I think he could easily answer your question in a statesman like manner. I still believe that those who assisted in freeing the country from the oppressors of the time, have demands which still need to be addressed and we will never fully know what the “accounts” are at the end of the day. So far, Mr Mandela has been steadfast in his protection of the resources of our country and has not been held to ransom by anyone. I admire him for this. Again, just my thoughts on the matter. Regards

Mon 27th Jul,2007

Khula Mkhabela, Pretoria, South Africa

My wish as umbutfo for you is, May God give you the blessing of Christ. The courage of Hani. The Wisdom of the late King Sobhuza. Long Live Masilela. You have done us proud!!!

Tue 24th Jul,2007

Lomalanga Matsebula, Johannesburg, South Africa

Elias, Just finished reading Number 43. It took me exactly 2 and half days. Beautiful book. Mike will start on it soonest. The book changes the picture one has of you at UNISWA  macinase lo innocent.

Thu 19th Jul,2007

Carmen Marchetti, Beijing, China

Thank you for telling us the stories that have, up until now, been left untold. It is so much part of the South African miracle, our heritage, the legacy of the freedom fighters. In this, your writing is a gift not only to us South Africans, but to each one of us that is involved in the greater and daily global battle against oppression.

Your “kitchen” sketch was lovely. And one that felt so familiar sitting here in Beijing many miles from home “my central image of life at Number 43 is that of the old man and old lady sitting in the kitchen, merrily chatting away for hours on end.” I felt a pang when I read the line “as children born into this family, we never really had the luxury of making a conscious choice as to whether or not we entered politics.” How much I admire and find inspirational how you did what was expected of you whilst still, despite the numerous and seemingly insurmountable challenges, sticking to your academic program. Your character sketch of uThandi was so very sad.

You write that she found “the homesickness often unbearable …” and that this homesickness, coupled with the realization that she may lose those she loved pushed her “… to make a life for herself that excluded her family.” Annah Maseko’s story was heartbreaking. For her family to be living a normal life now is surely testimony to their mother’s strength of character. It was a delight to read in the paragraph from “Six Days” how “uMagogo was over the moon” when you passed with a First Class.

In putting this book down (for the second time), I am once again reminded of just what a miracle the freedom fighters created. Not only during the struggle against Apartheid, but as much afterwards. This book reminds the reader of the pain and sacrifice that led to the birth of a modern and free South Africa. It serves as a reminder to ordinary South Africans that the making of extraordinary events is up to them. My hope is that we will continue in the struggle against other forms of oppression, such as poverty and the lack of women’s rights. The stories of the lives lost and won as told in Number 43 Trelawney Park kwaMagogo are inspirational. I am sure that my gratitude to you for having written it is shared by our fellow South Africans.

Mon 16th Jul,2007

Dr Ben Dlamini, Manzini, Swaziland

if you do not have any criticism, then it means you have not done some worthwhile work. They had a good interview broadcast in SBIS last night. It was good. I am sure there will be more people looking for the book. This book is a masterpiece. Anyone who has read it, they told me that they read only once; you cannot put it down until it has been completed. This is very good.

Wed 11th Jul,2007

Zodwa Mahlangu, kwaNdebele, South Africa

Malume, I would like to congratulate you for the work well done in writing such an inspiring story for us. I have finished reading the book and I am inspired to write about my own father and his struggles in South Africa especially relating to his reign as the King of the Ndebeles. It is amazing that most of the things that happened in the book were during an era that I was living in Swaziland and all of these things were happening without one even noticing.

I was young but I see how people struggled to get me where I am today. I would also like to agree with my father when he said that people who are in government think that they were the only people that fought for liberation while the real people were people like the ones explained in the book and the real heroes where actually the people and families that stayed in South Africa. That is just a few things I have in my mind as I digest what I have learnt from the book. I am really inspired by you intelligent Professor. You are indeed what people had called you. Thank you, Lume.

Wed 11th Jul,2007

Dr Ben Dlamini, Manzini, Swaziland

Arising from your book, I propose we create a 5 year project to document all persons by video recorders. All those who were affected by the struggle. We need to start now while some are still alive. The first is Magogo.

Tue 10th Jul,2007

Xolisa Beja, Johannesburg, South Africa

Hi Elias, I had a wonderful time in Swaziland during the book launch. We met very briefly during breakfast at the Esibayeni Lodge on the morning of the launch. Many thanks for sharing your wonderful, heart-touching and thought-provoking experiences with us, the world! Due to the long rows for your attention, I missed your signature in Swaziland Thanks and regards.

Tue 10th Jul,2007

Treasure Masilela, Mbabane, Swaziland

Hi boMasilela, hope you are having a fabulous time after successfully organising a National historic event. I just want to congratulate you for a job well done. You have made us all proud. Please you have to make up for the time spent on the book to catch up with us. You know, to be on the level of  lots of love.

Tue 03rd Jul,2007

Dr Ben Dlamini, Manzini Swaziland

Thanks. It only imperfectly reflects the truth you have portray on paper (Talking about his review of Number 43).

Sun 01st Jul,2007

Maina (Florences watchman), Nairobi Kenya

How are you. Congratulations on the book. I do not know what I missed! As a student in Switzerland

Fri 29th Jun,2007

Msandi Nxumalo, Matsapha, Swaziland

Elias, you are so great, I’ve never seen any one locally pulling so much crowd but you Elias, you made it, I congratulate you. You’ve got a very big heart, I am speaking from the artistic side of the story, you are a hero. I can imagine your dreams and I so much believe they have come true. Don’t give up Elias I like your spirit, dedication, devotion and perseverance.



Thu 28th Jun,2007

Harry Nxumalo, Manzini Swaziland

Hi Elias, Sincere congratulations for a job well done. I have been to quite a number of functions at Esibayeni Lodge, but I had not seen the venue overflowing with guests, until last Saturday evening. Cheers!

Mon 25th Jun,2007

Sibongile Motele, Pretoria, Johannesburg

Hi Malume, Hope you are back. Just to say the event was fabulous and was also a great experience to all of us. As you know in any event not everyone will be satisfied but those are minors. THE EVENT WAS THE BEST.

Mon 25th Jun,2007

Lucky Lukhele, Johannesburg, South Africa

This article was prompted by the answer given to the question I raised during the launch of the Book, Number 43 Trelawney Park, KwaMagogo at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg on June 20, 2007. The glorification of Swaziland’s role and even the High Commissioner’s posture painted a particular picture of Swazi history. However, we cannot stop congratulating the author of the book and the whole Masilela family for their sacrifices and role in the liberation struggle and this book and launch just Befitted that purpose of acknowledging their indispensable role.

Finally, I am personally indebted to a member of the Masilela family, whose views and contribution to both the Swaziland and South African struggles is not known by many but known by some of us who were lucky to be groomed by him. He was a cool, sober, and modest, yet very principled individual. That is Todd Masilela. He is recognised and acknowledged by the book on his role for the South African struggle as an underground cadre, but we are yet to acknowledge him on the Swazi front.

Therefore, for me, Todd Masilela, Dumsani Khoza, Percy Malinga and David Mngomezulu are people in whose loss, I felt a severe personal and political loss of incomparable magnitude for my close working relations with them and their principled approach to the struggle. I salute them and all the other already acknowledged cadres of the movement.

Mon 25th Jun,2007

Zodwa Mabuza, Mbabane, Swaziland

Congrats bhuti. It all went well. Such a pity I could not come for the dinner. Hi there! Saw the book. It is a masterpiece? Is it available at Exclusive Books? Someone wants to buy it asap! Again congrats bhuti.

Sun 24th Jun,2007

Madoda Mdavu Dlamini, Trelawney Park, Manzini, Swaziland

Elias, congratulations on reducing yours and our experiences at Trelawney Park, Salesian High School and Manzini in genera, into a book for our kids to acknowledge, in future. We verify ANC and PAC activities here, plus our facilitation. See you kwaMagogo tomorrow. May your success proceed. You are a good man.

Fri 22nd Jun,2007

JP Landman, Johannesburg, South Africa

Thanks that I could participate last night. Huge honour. Wish you a blessed Swaziland function. Wish I could be there, but duty calls in Zim. Love to family.

Thu 21st Jun,2007


Zwelibanzi Masilela, Pretoria, South Africa

Congrats. Fantastic event. I left at around 19.15pm during the Q&A session

Thu 21st Jun,2007

Claire Rabie, Cape Town, South Africa

Dear Elias, Just a quick note to congratulate you on your book and to wish you well for your launch, tonight in Jozi and your upcoming launch in Swaziland. I am so proud of you! I am inspired to write something too – just no ideas! Looking forward to getting stuck into the pages of your mind and getting to know the Masilela story! Kind regards.

Wed 20th Jun,2007

Elize Greyling, Pretoria, South Africa

Elias, Congratulations with telling the story and having the courage to dedicate it in a sense to Magogo. The Masilela family will indeed be remembered for fulfilling their calling. Best regards.

Fri 15th Jun,2007

Maina (Florences watchman), Nairobi Kenya

Dear Elias, Greetings. Saw a bit on the book launch in SD on some newspapers I got hold of. What a success it seems to have been. You must have got that warm and fuzzy feeling when you saw everything coming together. Those who have departed must be happy, Bo Fanta etc. All the best Chief. Keep making us proud to have been part of that generation and black achievers.

Thu 29th Jun,2006


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