n Journal for Contemporary History - Operation Mayibuye : plans within plans, spies and lies, 1963

Volume 42 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



If ever there is a documented plan that is able to evoke debate and controversy, it is Operation Mayibuye; a military plan seized by the police during a raid at Liliesleaf farm in Rivonia on 11 July 1963. This article examines aspects of this plan in detail, for example who drafted it, what its purpose was, whether it was ever approved and, if so, by whom? Other questions explored include whether it remained unapproved at the time of the raid – if so, why, and the number of copies seized by the police at Liliesleaf. This article builds on prior research regarding this plan, which started with an interview in April 2004 with four Rivonia Trial veterans. The mere mention of the Operation Mayibuye Plan unlocked a range of conflicting views, guaranteeing a heated, yet fascinating debate. Evidence was uncovered that the police used the plan to refabricate the evidence seized. Even in the contemporary context, no one seems able to reach universal consensus on the matter, with one exception being that those who were captured at Liliesleaf faced the very real possibility of being hanged for being in possession of it.

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