JOHANNESBURG, SEPT. 1 -- The first two of 33 blacks condemned to death for crimes committed during the period of racial strife that led to the current state of emergency were hanged today, despite an intensive campaign by antiapartheid activists for stays of execution.
West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher had joined an international appeal to the South African government to spare the lives of the condemned men.
The two executed in Pretoria Central Prison were Moses Jantjies, 21, and Wellington Mielies, 24, who were convicted in the "necklacing" murder of a black township councilman near the eastern Cape Province city of Uitenhage on March 23, 1985, and the killing of five members of his family.
Necklacing involves hanging a gasoline-filled tire around the neck of a suspected collaborator and igniting it.
Ben Kinikini, 57, the only member of the Kwanobuhle Township council who had not resigned to protest actions of security police, was caught by a crowd as he fled his funeral parlor after it was set on fire, according to court testimony.
A daughter had both arms amputated and a son was castrated before being set on fire, witnesses testified.
Genscher's appeal was contained in an Aug. 29 letter to South African Foreign Minister Roelof F. (Pik) Botha voicing dismay at the government's "intention to disregard" a West German request to spare the condemned prisoners.
A spokesman for the Detainees' Parents Support Committee, an antiapartheid monitoring group, said the campaign to save the others will continue.
Jantjies and Mielies were eulogized today at a protest rally and memorial service addressed by Winnie Mandela, wife of imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela.
As several senior security police officers in plain clothes listened at a doorway of a meeting hall in Johannesburg, Mandela praised the executed pair as martyrs, frequently switching from English to Xhosa as she condemned the white-minority government.
This article was written under South African press restrictions that prohibit the reporting of nonofficial news of violence, unlawful gatherings and other forms of organized dissent, or of any "subversive" statement as defined by the Pretoria government.