How we got into the embassy

"We just marched out of the Hillbrow Hospital. It wasn't difficult because the guards were getting frustrated being there for eight hours every day, following us to the toilet … following us when we changed our socks. It was quite likely that after five weeks they'd be frustrated to the extent where they would actually relax their guard. So on Sunday night we had taken a final decision that the following morning in our pyjamas of course – we were going to march out of hospital. Then we went to Noord street, where there are a lot of taxis. We behaved like any other ordinary passenger, and took a taxi to Pretoria. Even the other passengers inside didn't realise there was a time-bomb in the taxi us detainees. We changed taxis once we arrived in Pretoria: we said 'please take us to Blackwood Street, where there are embassies'.

Fortunately the driver didn't put two and two together and wonder what these young people in pyjamas were going to do in an embassy. So he just dropped us outside the gate of the embassy. As you have read in the newspapers, it is heavily guarded diplomatic mission.

We pressed the buzzer and expected one of the officials to tell us to fly ourselves. Fortunately, this let us in – we went up to the main gate while they called a diplomat. We told him: 'We are from South African Youth Congress and the United Democratic Front, have got a very important message relate to you. Can you please allow us in? And that is how we got into the embassy …” – By escaped detainee – Ephraim Nkoe

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