Youths no nothing of Struggle
SOUTH Africa’s youth know zilch about the history of the Struggle for liberation.
Most youngsters pretend to know a thing or two about the history of our Struggle for liberation but they really don’t know anything.
What they know is the falsehood, half-truths, propaganda and a steady diet of intellectual pap they are being fed by the mainstream media and the tendentious and ideological literature from most book stores.
A glance at Onkgopotse JJ Tabane’s article, “ANCYL has betrayed its mission” (The Star, June 12) reveals many omissions and errors.
For instance, who was Anton Lembede’s deputy who succeeded him after his death in 1947 and also his closest friend? The same old man Tabane has not mentioned had sharp analytical skills and also wrote speeches for Nelson Mandela.
He and Lembede, just like Steve Biko, held Robert Sobukwe in high esteem. He and Lembede were also friends of another significant Congress Youth League founder member not mentioned, Zephania Mothopeng, who engineered the 1976 student uprising and was at the forefront of the fight against the introduction of Bantu Education in 1951/1952.
Mothopeng interacted with students of the South African Students Organisation (Saso) which he addressed in 1975 on imperialist penetration in universities. Saso was formed in 1968 and banned with other Black Consciousness organisations in 1977.
Tabane doesn’t even know that the majority of the 1944 Congress Youth League members he wrote about went on to form the PAC in 1959.
Tabane writes that “the determination to take up arms, for example, was inspired by that generation after all peaceful means to freedom drew a blank”.
But it wasn’t the ANC that was the first to take up arms, it was Poqo, the forerunners of the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (Apla) in September 1961, more than a year after the PAC’s anti-pass camapaign, which culminated in the Sharpeville massacre.
MK followed three months later in December. The PAC was a trailblazer and the ANC has always been a copycat.
In 1959 he (AP Mda) and Mothopeng were founder members of the Pan Africanist Congress, a vibrant organisation which at its formation Sobukwe described as the ship of freedom, although initially Ashby Peter Mda was against the Africanists forming their own organisation.
Tabane cannot afford to overlook men like these and talk about Soweto Day and rush to mention Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu simply because it’s popular to mention them when their roles didn’t surpass that of AP Mda.
Another significant Congress Youth League leader Tabane failed to mention is PAC founding President Sobukwe.
S o b u k we was instrumental in drafting the ANCYL Programme of Action of 1949, which the ANC leaders he credits abandoned in favour of the Freedom Charter single-handedly drafted by SACP and COD (South African Congress of Democrats) member Rusty Bernstein.
He also didn’t mention Dr William Frederick Nkomo who was provisional leader of the Congress Youth League and handed over the leadership to Lembede because he was going to continue with his studies. There is a street named after Nkomo in Pretoria.
Tabane writes as if the ANC is the only organisation that has youth and was instru- mental in the 1976 uprising.
The ANC or ANCYL had nothing to do with the Soweto uprising and a group of us told this to Tambo to his face accompanied by Joe Modise in early 1977 in a packed University of Zambia lecture hall.
Tabane has not mentioned the significant role Saso played in our struggle for liberation. He hasn’t mentioned the role played by the Young African Christian Movement (YACM) which changed to Young African Religious Movement (Yarm) to accommodate youth from other faiths.
When YACM was formed in 1975, by former Robben Islander and one of the Bethal treason trialists Mr Mike Matsobane, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Reverend Matlalepule Chabaku attended its launch at St Bartholomew Church in Kagiso, where I reside.
Tabane has also not mentioned Azanyu and countless other youth organisations such as SASM and others affiliated to the Black Consciousness Movement.
He hasn’t mentioned the significant role Onkgopotse Tiro played in organising high school students into a formidable ideological group and fighting force. How can Onkgopotse JJ Tabane forget or ignore his namesake? Kagiso
WRITE TO US
COLOUR-BLIND KIDS: Pupils from St Teresa’s School in Rosebank brave the rain and early morning traffic on Jan Smuts Avenue to take a stand against racism in South Africa.