Remembering Ashley Kriel. CREDIT: Manqoba Ngidi

A Cape Flats community celebrated the life of one of its own anti-apartheid heroes yesterday, as the country commemorated the 40th anniversary of the June 16 youth uprising.

Ashley Kriel, the young Mkhonto weSizwe martyr who was killed on 9 July 1987 by apartheid security police, was born in Bonteheuwel.

Yesterday the Bonteheuwel Civic Centre was packed to capacity, with people even spilling outside as the story of Ashley and his untimely brutal death was told on-screen.

A 90-minute documentary called Action Kommandant: The Untold Story of the Revolutionary Freedom Fighter Ashley Kriel, was shown to about 1 000 people, most who cried during the screening.

Ashley, 20, was in hiding at a house in Athlone when he was hunted down by members of the security police, who tortured and killed him.

Hip hop star Emile XY was the MC, and the audience listened intently as they were given glimpses of the history and development of Bonteheuwel.

Filmmaker Nadine Cloete made a suprise announcement, saying her debut doccie had won the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival’s audience award for Best South African Film.

She took the stage to loud applause, saying: “This is an honour for me. This project started waaaaay back and to have finally completed it is incredible. I appreciate all the support and I hope you let whatever you feel out.”

Ashley’s sisters, Michel Assure and Melanie Adams, were also at the screening.

Michel said: “I was worried about the turn-out, but I am so joyous for this movie to hit home, here in Bontas.

“Ashley was proud to be from Bonteheuwel. We were all part of the struggle. People were killed and maimed, fighting for their right to freedom. Ashley motivated us all to fight the oppression.

“Aluta Continua, the struggle continues. He died for the freedom he believed we all should have.”