53 Commemoration of Langa/Sharpeville day address by Sibonile Mphendukane (WC Provincial secretary)

Comrade members of the Provincial Executive Committee of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania.

Comrade militants of the revolutionary Azanian People’s Liberation Army Military Veterans Associations.

oNozala bethu kwi Pan Africanist Women’s Organization.

Protocol observed.

Comrade members of the Provincial Executive Committee of the Pan Africanist Youth Congress of Azania and the National leadership that grace this event.

Comrade members of the Provincial Executive Committee of the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania and its national leadership.

Protocol observed.

Comrade Members of the New Black Panther Party from the United States of America.

Our beloved comrades in arms of the ZANU PF in the landed Zimbabwe.

Sons and daughters of the soil,

Ladies and gentlemen, all protocols observed.

It was exactly 53 years ago that the people of Langa, Sharpville and all across South Africa answered Mangaliso Sobukwe’s clarion call that they will no longer be carrying a dompas in the land of their birth.

We stand here today to commemorate their gallant will to put a stop to their dehumanization in the face of apartheid laws. We stand here to salute the martyrs who understood that a few shall die so that the many shall live. That is what the struggle meant then and what it means today.

This was the most obvious illustration of the truth that when people stand up, counter-revolutionary forces tremble. That is why the march 21, in 1960 greatly contributed to accelerating the process of political clarification in our country, reaching a level where the masses made an important leap in their understanding of the situation.

It was a time where revolutionary theory was realized through action.

Indeed niyisibane sethu maqhawe ase Azania ukufa Kwenu Akusayi kulityalwa.

Of course, we can come here and sing praises to their advances against the enemy, because it is a fitting tribute.  But we know that revolutionaries do not make a habit of being praise singers that is a practice reserved for reactionaries, enemies of progress and cabals hell-bent in distorting the truth.

But for us, the youth of Azania. Such an occasion is an opportunity to reflect and introspect our position as trustees of the revolutionary ideals as espoused by the founding fathers of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania.

To sum up the essential questions that must be posed, where have we come from? And where are we going? Those are the questions of the moment that demand a clear, resolute and unequivocal answer from us if we wish to march boldly and carry our revolutionary mandate.

In 1994 we saw the apartheid administration replaced by a neo-colonial administration identical to it in every aspect. The apartheid army was replaced with an army with same characteristics. So were the police, so was the bantu education, which all pursue the same goals of alienating the children our country and reproducing surrogates to further imperial interests, secondarily to serve imperialist lapdogs.

We know all of this. That is why we have marikana, lenasia, de doorns and many others. Our people are the most humiliated and yet, they are the ones, through their labor, create wealth for this country. What is our position in their plight?

We seat in a quagmire where estimations say that 700 000 graduates are unemployed and yet day in and day out we are sold meaningless slogans of “education is the key to success”, what success? Where?

We have also observed a situation, a horror of the young, where for the past 3 years our young brothers and sisters are turned back in institutions of higher learning because they are full. What will happen to the hopes and aspirations of these young people?

Our role as the youth of Azania today is to restore the dignity of our people. To forge ties with the masses of our people and to remind them of their birth right to self-determination. We have seen how prone we are to excuses when it is time to leave our much liked ideological comfort zones for the pragmatics of the theory.

Perhaps failure to realize this revolutionary obligation is tantamount to the betrayal of the ideals of men and women, on whose thinking we have taken our fire to pursue the path to total liberation of our people and the birth of a new afrikan man, the birth of Azania.

Some of us believe slavery ended long ago, but the events in De doorns were a rude awakening to us. Perhaps, it is worth noting that slavery never ended, instead in has reproduced. For example, in slavery our ancestors were auctioned based on the muscles and as per the task the slave master wanted. In our times, CV’s are our own means of showing our muscles as per the desires of the employer for the same purpose as that of a slave master.

It is said, in the revolutionary theory, as demonstrated by our founding fathers, that a revolution is fashioned among the people, with the people, for the people. This is achieved through inspiring confidence and admiration of the masses. We are not short of references for this, Sobukwe did it in Azania, Nyerere in Tanzania, Amilcar Cabral in Guinea Bissau, Agastinho Neto in Angola, Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso, Patrice Lumumba in Congo.

All these leaders hated the school master approach of dictating what the masses must do and when; the idea that the masses owe obedience to them was non-existent. One must demonstrate complete faith in the masses and respect the masses. What we must do is to strive to have our actions match our words and watch our social behaviour so as not to open ourselves to counterrevolutionaries who lie in wait.

One does not make a revolution because they want fame, praise and adoration. One does not make a revolution for vindictive reasons driven by a deep desire for a privileged position. The revolution is not for careerist with their acidic counterrevolutionary opportunism.

Our sense of responsibility as young people must follow from an increase in the sense of responsibility towards the people and seek to inspire respect and admiration from the masses through our deeds. Umomo wahlulwa egeneva.

 We must be one with the people, and immerse ourselves in the study of revolutionary theory. This deepens our knowledge and understanding of our conditions.

If we desire the revolution, we must know that the world we live in is not revolutionary. We must live with the realities that are not our liking. We have to live with a government that is not making a revolution easy at all. This is a big responsibility that we must embrace. We must know that right now, among us, there are people whose sole purpose here, is to observe what is being said and will go to report back to their handlers. These are the realities we must contend with and accept.

To relent from the pursuits of all that fell in battle for the total liberation of this country would be a negation of everything being done here today and everything done yesterday.

We inherited the language of truth; a truth that is direct and forthright with sincerity not found easily.

A revolution is not portable, nor can it be imported from elsewhere. A revolution will not come with a tag “made in China” because an ideological choice cannot be imposed. We must strive to make the revolution known, so that people stop fearing it as dangerous. So that people see it as a necessity.

There are many of us who understand that our existence must be devoted to the revolution and the struggles of our people. But what we lack is the action based approach. We must not confuse strategies with tactics, as of now, this moment, we must conceive programs that are based on tactical responses to take the masses to our revolutionary mandate.

We understand our struggle is to first build. To build means we must understand that the basic principle of unity lies in difference. If there was no difference, it would not be necessary to unite; even the question of unity would be irrelevant. We must understand our differences and our sameness in the differences.

We must recognize the fact that we have working/employed people versus the unemployed. We have the old versus the young, we have the unfortunate issue of social classes, what we need is to bring these different economic positions, and religious beliefs together, to harmonize them. Unity is also a means to an end, not an end. Fostering unity, and cultivating political and ideological tolerance is only the beginning. As Cabral puts it “unity is a means towards a struggle, as with all means, a little goes a long way”.

The significance of our struggle is not only in respect to overthrowing all forms of imperial domination, it is also in respect to ourselves. Anyone who fails to grasp this does not understand our struggle.

Once again let me remind you sons and daughters of the soil that the pursuit of the struggles has no time frame. Let me state that we are not ones who romanticize the struggle with theory and rhetoric. Perhaps it is important, that we challenge ourselves, that when we meet next year. We would tell the martyrs that fell here and the survivors of the massacre that we have made inroads in pursuing their revolutionary ideals with practical examples

Let us, as the young of the vanguard movement of Azania take it upon ourselves, with the revolutionary guidance of the elders to march with vigour towards attaining the objectives of the Pan Africanist Movement.

Let us make a promise, that in our lifetime, Azania will be born. That the dignity of Africans will be restored. Let that be the guiding belief and our purpose in this lifetime. We will not relent, we will not fear sacrifice, we will not fear victimization because those come with the pursuit of revolutionary ideals.

Victory is certain with total commitment.

Izwe lethu! IAfrika!


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