Phakamile Mabija was an anti-apartheid activist and youth worker in the Anglican Nomads Educational Group in Galeshewe, Kimberley. He was accused of being involved in an incident in which commuters threw stones at public transport during a bus boycott and was detained on 27 June 1977. Mabija was due to appear in court about ten days later, but the day before his scheduled court hearing, he died in detention – plunging from the 6th floor of Transvaal Road police station in Kimberley.
The inquest into his death proved to be a fiasco, and a pretence. The Bishop of Kimberley led a protest against Mabija’s death, and against the continued detention of his clergy. White wooden crosses were planted on the lawn outside Kimberley’s St Cyprian’s Cathedral, and church bells rang for days in protest.