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Peter Jones, arrested and detained with Steve Biko, has died

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Jones was arrested along with Biko as they were travelling to Cape Town in August 1977 and were both tortured and interrogated by apartheid security police

The man who was arrested with Steve Biko and was the last person to see him alive, Peter Cyril Jones, has died.

This was announced by heritage activist Patric Tariq Mellet who confirmed that the Black Consciousness advocate died on Wednesday at his Pringle Bay home in the Western Cape.

“My condolences to his family, friends and my fellow comrades, as well as my closest brothers and sisters in the nonconformist union-familia known as The Usual Suspects. May Peter rest in the embrace of our ancestral continuum. You have walked the talk and fought the good fight,” Mellet said.

Jones and Biko, who both led the Black People’s Convention (BPC), were arrested at a roadblock while travelling to Cape Town in August 1977. The two were detained on their mission to unite liberation organisations.

They suffered severe assault under the security police and Jones spent nearly 18 months in detention after his arrest with Biko.

In his testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Jones said they were taken to an isolated room at the police offices in Gqeberha. His clothes were removed and he was forced to sit in the centre of a room on a steel chair to which his left hand was bound.

He was interrogated about activities related to his involvement in the Black Consciousness Movement and why he was with Biko at the time of his arrest.

One of these activities included a pamphlet allegedly distributed by the activists and when he denied any knowledge of it, an attack ensued between him and apartheid police officers, Col Gideon Nieuwoudt, Warrant Officers Johan Beneke and Rubin Marx and Maj Harold Snyman.

“Nieuwoudt struck me on the head and back with a green hosepipe, Beneke struck me with a black hosepipe on the back and buttocks and Snyman and Marx were delivering blows to keep me aligned in position,” Jones said during the TRC amnesty hearings.

Once Jones and Biko separated, he never saw or heard of him. He heard of Biko’s death from mourners who were jailed in the same prison after protesting at Biko’s funeral.

He was eventually banned and held under house arrest in Macassar, Somerset West.

Mellet said Jones continued in his struggle to champion a better life for the poor with practical self-reliance projects.

“He continued to be driven by the original basic principles of Black Consciousness philosophy, ethics, underpinned by a belief in sufficiency for all,” said Mellet.

Source: TimesLIVE

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