by Adriana Stuijt email@example.com
May 18 2009 - Pictured left are South African expat Marie Atkins and her murdered Hungarian-born father Jozseph Kuli in happier days in 2007 at King’s Park, Perth, Australia. Mrs Atkins is deeply traumatised and also very angered by the unnecessarily cruel way her 70-year-old father, a refugee from the Hungarian revolt in 1956, was murdered in Johannesburg right in front of her eyes by five young thugs, she writes.
On 24 March 2009, Marie Atkins writes, she went to visit her father, a retired industrial chemist at Delta Manganese in Nelspruit, who had moved to Johannesburg in 2007. A keen conservationist of South Africa’s lavish variety of ferns, the old man didn’t retire: instead he worked as a landscape contractor.
It’s ironic that a Hungarian refugee, who had survived Soviet suppression and an armed uprising in 1956, would be slaughtered in this senseless way in South Africa – a country he’d believed would be safe to raise his family in. Kili, pictured below as a young man in Hungary before he fled in 1956 from his beloved home country, was a young refugee from the crushed Hungarian uprising against the Soviet occupation -- leaving his very ancient* village of Tápiószecső, Hungary, initially for Scotland, and then to a mining job in South Africa.
During the Hungarian Revolution, many hundreds of thousands of Hungarians were killed, arrested, imprisoned and deported to the Soviet Union -- and some 200,000 Hungarians also fled their homeland forever. Officially, this spontaneous nationwide revolt against the Stalinist government of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policiesonly lasted from 23 October until 10 November 1956 – however the aftermath can still be felt to this day, with young people fleeing their country enmasse and family ties severed forever, with Hungarian descendants now living scattered throughout the world. Exact the same thing, in fact, which now is also happening to the modern-day Afrikaners in South Africa because their government also suppresses them by refusing them access to the country’s job market – by law.
Kili met his first wife Dorothy McIntosh, Maria Atkins’s mom, in Scotland, and had two children, Maria and Jozseph -- and the young family decided to emigrate to South Africa, where the skilled industrial chemist was offered a job at General Mining. The young family eventually ended up in Nelspruit near the Zimbabwean border in 1980, where he was employed at Delta Manganese.
Left, an early family photo of Jozseph Kuli, his Scottish wife Dorothy, his Hungarian mother holding new grandson Jozseph junior, and his small daughter Maria -- who in 2009 would become a traumatised witness to her father’s murder in Johannesburg. This family picture was taken in Edinburgh.
His daughter Maria writes me: ‘His passion was the African bush and he loved anything to do with nature. He was known to his friends as the Fern Man because he used to collect and propogate his own ferns.
Writes his daughter: “He also became a qualified tour guide and took tourists through the Kruger Park. He moved to Johannesburg in 2005/6 and worked as a contractor doing landscape gardening at various office sites and shopping centres. He was a very fair man and never expected his workers to do anything that he couldn't do himself. That's a brief story of his life”, writes his grieving daughter.
Eventually her brother returned to Scotland. and Mrs Atkins got divorced and moved to be with her parents in Nelspruit with her two sons, before she remarried Cliff Atkins and moved to Zimbabwe.
She said her mom Dorothy also left South African in 1995 to return to Scotland, followed by Marie, the grandchilldren and her second husband Cliff. Her parents eventually were divorced. The Atkins family emigrated to Perth, Australia in 1999. She says her husband works as a fitter at the mines.
Her late father, in Johannesburg, also remarried a lady called Cheryl Beharrie and they were together until his murder – his widow in fact still lives in the murder house, writes Marie: “her daughter and her family live on the same property so she has lots of familial support. She is a lovely lady and loved my dad very much. I know she is grieving as much as I am and my heart is so sore for her as well.”
He would have celebrated his 70th birthday on April 10 2009.
He was also attacked by ‘home-invaders’ in 2008:
Marie writes that she and husband Cliff went to visit her father on 27 March 2009 in Johannesburg to celebrate his 70th birthday with him -- but also to try and cheer him up: “He had been in a home invasion a year prior to that and had lost some of his ‘spark’.
“On the morning of 27th March, we were the victims of a violent home invasion at his house, and my dad was shot in the stomach. He died from his injuries the following morning, thirteen days short of his 70th birthday.”
- He was killed just so that his attackers could steal some electronic bling without much market value…
He was unarmed and in his underpants…
“ It was a totally senseless killing as he was unarmed and dressed only in his underpants! There were four of them (the attackers) in the house and one outside. All they took were mobile phones, a harddrive, a laptop, keys and wallets which didn't have much in them. That was in exchange for a man’s life. “
“As you can imagine, we were all very traumatised but thankfully, my husband and I could leave all the violence behind and return to Australia (although we haven't left the hatred behind). My heart goes out to all those victims who have to stay at the scene of the violence and relive it every day. How do they cope? I know I'm finding it hard. The perpertrators of these horrible crimes don't seem to realise the domino effect their actions have.”
They run around acting like big men and waving guns…
“They run around acting like big men and waving guns. They should still be at school and learning how to live in peace with their neighbours. ‘Our (five) thugs’ were between 17 and 19 years old. “It's a very sad world we're living in these days and it's very hard to see any sort of future for our children. I thank you for your website as someone has to get the news out about what is really happening. Perhaps one day someone who can make a difference will read it and take action.”
*Tápiószecső in Hungary was a so-named "key settlement" in the 1940's, a lavish agricultural area. Its origin dates to the Bronze Age, however. he origin of the village goes back to the Bronze Age. Tápiószecső was first mentioned as "Zechen" in 1264. Later, King Stephen V donated Tápiószecső to the so-named "Rabbit-island" nuns. The famous founder-family of Hungary, the Eszterházy ‘s, played an important role throughout the history of the village.