Vuyisile Mini was born in the Cape in 1920. After completing elementary school he worked as a labourer and trade union organiser. In 1951 he joined the ANC, and in 1952 was jailed for three months in the Defiance Campaign. A defendant in the Treason Trial of 1956, he was discharged in 1958. He became Sactu secretary for the Eastern Cape in 1960.
Charged in 1963 with 17 counts of sabotage and the murder of a police informer, Vuyisile Mini, together with Zinakile Mkaba and Wilson Khayingo, was convicted and hanged in Pretoria Central Prison on November 6th, 1964.
Mini, of the Eastern Cape High Command of Umkhonto we Sizwe and his two comrades were offered their lives in exchange for giving information about sabotage activity in their area.
'I am presently awaiting execution at Pretoria Central Gaol having been sentenced to death at the beginning of the year. On October 2, 1964, Captain Geldenhuys and two other policemen came to see me. They asked me if I had been informed that my appeal had been dismissed. I told them I was not interested to know from them what my advocate said.They then said there was still a chance for me to be saved as they knew I was the big boss of the movement in the Eastern Cape. I must just tell them where the detonators and revolvers were, and they would help me. I refused. They then asked me about Wilton Mkwayi (subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment) and whether I was prepared to give evidence against Mkwayi, whom they had now arrested. I said no, I was not. When they asked would I make the Amandla Ngawethu salute when I walked the last few paces to the gallows, I said yes.'
Mini's unmistakable bass voice, ringing out loud and clear, sent his final message in Xhosa to the world he was leaving. Charged with emotion, but stubbornly defiant, he spoke of the struggle and of his absolute conviction of the victory to come. Many of the songs sung by the freedom fighters of today are Mini's compositions.
Vuyisile Mini's daughter, Nomkhosi Mary, a founding member of Amandla, the Cultural Ensemble of the ANC, was among those killed in the South African commando raid on Maseru, Lesotho on December 20th, 1985.