The Mercury - - OPINION - NDABEZINHLE SIBIYA Sibiya works in the of­fice of the KZN premier

THE ANC PEC in KwaZulu-Na­tal has been con­sis­tently mo­bil­is­ing or­di­nary mem­bers of so­ci­ety through­out the prov­ince to at­tend the ANC Jan­uary 8 cel­e­bra­tions, to be held on Jan­uary 12 at Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium.

The peo­ple of this prov­ince are priv­i­leged to host the big­gest cel­e­bra­tions.

The his­tory of the ANC is in­ex­tri­ca­bly in­ter­twined with that of the prov­ince. From the party’s for­ma­tion as the ANC on Jan­uary8, 1912, it has had some of its core lead­er­ship lu­mi­nar­ies from KZN, in­clud­ing Josiah Gumede, Pix­ley ka Isaka Seme, John Lan­gal­ibalele Dube, An­ton Lem­bede and Inkosi Al­bert Luthuli.

This is not the first time that KZN has had such hon­our of host­ing such a gath­er­ing. The 43rd and 46th an­nual con­fer­ences of the ANC were hosted in Dur­ban, as well as 47th An­nual con­fer­ence in 1955, and were ad­dressed by pres­i­dent Al­bert Luthuli, the first No­bel Peace Prize Lau­re­ate in Africa.

The All-In Africa Con­fer­ence was held in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg on March 25 and 26, 1961, to con­sider the im­pli­ca­tions of the ban­ning of the ANC and re­solved to stage na­tion­wide demon­stra­tions.

The his­toric 48th Na­tional Con­fer­ence in 1991, the first to be held after the ANC was un­banned, was also held in Dur­ban. Nel­son Man­dela was elected pres­i­dent of the ANC to take over from pres­i­dent Oliver Tambo, who had be­come un­well after serv­ing the move­ment with dis­tinc­tion.

The 48th ANC Na­tional Con­fer­ence came at a time of ex­treme apartheid-fu­elled po­lit­i­cal in­tol­er­ance, vi­o­lence and blood­shed.

A ba­sic un­der­ly­ing motto has been “for­give but never for­get”, which means that we as the pre­vi­ously op­pressed group are will­ing to for­give the atroc­i­ties we suf­fered in the name of apartheid, but that in the in­ter­est of never re­peat­ing the mis­takes of the past, we will never for­get those atroc­i­ties.

Who can for­get the up­root­ing and dis­place­ment of thou­sands of peo­ple – some per­ma­nently – from their well-es­tab­lished homes and com­mu­ni­ties, and their be­ing thrust into home­less­ness and mis­ery?

Who can for­get the ruth­less and bru­tal turn­ing of neigh­bour against neigh­bour, rel­a­tive against rel­a­tive, all in the name of po­lit­i­cal al­le­giances – some­times mis­guided po­lit­i­cal al­le­giances forged as a re­sult of those who wished to main­tain the pre­vail­ing apartheid-in­sti­gated sta­tus quo?

By all ac­counts, this prov­ince bore the brunt of this sense­less vi­o­lence, and it was through ef­forts by a col­lec­tive lead­er­ship of the ANC un­der the guid­ance of Ja­cob Zuma, that peace fi­nally pre­vailed in KZN.

It is there­fore com­mend­able that the PEC has en­sured the par­tic­i­pa­tion of former pres­i­dent Zuma in the mo­bil­i­sa­tion of the masses to at­tend Jan­uary 8 cel­e­bra­tions.

The mes­sage in the Thuma Mina ac­tiv­i­ties is that the ANC is home for all, and no leader should come be­tween all of us and the ANC. The same mes­sage was loud and clear when the KZN PEC co-or­di­nated Thuma Mina com­mu­nity out­reach ac­tiv­i­ties ad­dressed by Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

The par­tic­i­pa­tion of both Zuma and Ramaphosa in out­reach pro­grammes will en­sure unity and strengthen the ANC. Only a strong and united ANC can en­sure a land­slide vic­tory in the 2019 elec­tions and de­liver a fu­ture of our dreams.

Our present sta­bil­ity, though frag­ile, is so­lid­i­fy­ing, mostly be­cause of the col­lec­tive ef­fort by the ANC PEC and the role played by the leagues to­gether with the ef­forts of Al­liance part­ners in KZN.

The ANC in this prov­ince has come a long way, learn­ing les­sons in build­ing peace in the en­tire com­mu­nity and con­sol­i­da­tion of unity within its ranks. The re­sults have been en­cour­ag­ing.

As we ap­proach Jan­uary 8 cel­e­bra­tions, it is fit­ting to ru­mi­nate on the role played by the ANC and its lead­er­ship down the his­tory of this coun­try. Few, if any, other po­lit­i­cal move­ments the world over have as rich a his­tory and longevity as that of the ANC. This in it­self calls for cel­e­bra­tion.

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