Smoke billows from buildings following an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip source:

Smoke billows from buildings following an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip source:

Nothing is as ahistorical and unconvincing as the statement that God gave Palestine to the Jews. This statement is a crude fabrication of the scriptures by the Nazis and Zionists to proffer a justification for the colonisation and occupation of Palestine. There is no God who can dispossess a people of their country and give it to other people.

The recent bombing of the Palestinian people out of their homes is an orchestrated plan carried out by Zionists and it is occurring for the second time in sixty years. It happened the last time in the late 1940’s. The Plan to establish a Zionist state in Israel gained impetus during the tenure of office of former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in 1877 and was put into motion at the Zionist Congress held in Basel, Switzerland on 29 August 1897 called by Theodor Herzl and funded by the Rothschild family.

In How Britain’s Biggest Racists Created Zionism, Mark Burdman wrote:
“There is one man who can properly be regarded as the father of Zionism and Nazism: Benjamin Disraeli. To omit Disraeli from a central place in the 19th century development of Zionism, as agent historian Barbara Tuchman once said, “would be as absurd as to leave the ghost out of Hamlet.” As Prime Minister under Victoria in the 1870s, Disraeli was the overseer of Britain’s imperial design to secure a “homeland” for Jews as a British outpost in the Middle East, and a secret document authored by Disraeli became the manifesto for early Zionism in Europe. That much is admitted on the public record”.

In 1877, the British Prime Minister wrote a blueprint for a Zionist state in Palestine under British rule; the man who is officially known as the “spiritual father of the country” in Israel today is Theodore Herzl. Herzl, the prophet of political Zionism, went by the code-name “Tancred”; he ably personified the race-cult ideas of Disraeli and the Anglican “Jewish restorationists” of 19th century England.

Herzl was bred in Vienna, the intellectual swamp of the decomposing Hapsburg Empire. There the British intelligence service and allied House of Austria also recruited Adolf Hitler, for the Nazi variety of anti-Semitism. Like Hitler, Herzl was an extreme neurotic, a Bohemian playwright, who hated Jews. Laughed at, derided, denounced, and assured that he was insane by almost all Jews he came in contact with, Theodore Herzl was embraced by the racialist myth-makers of the British Empire, becoming a principal agent for their policy: a drive to “purify” the Aryan and Semitic “races” alike by ridding Europe of “the Jew.” The document was published anonymously and put into circulation in Vienna. It can be accessed on this link .

Herzl was Disraeli’s protégé’. In his Complete Diaries, Herzl clearly spells out the modus operandi of the Zionists, one of which was to drive all Arabs out of Palestine by means of violence. But overtly the Zionists did not reveal their true intentions. The intentions of the Israeli government are clear; to drive out as many Palestinians as possible and usurp their land. Hamas is used as a pretext to realize the objectives of Zionism. Zionism, like Apartheid, is a racist ideology.

Hamas is portrayed as an anti-Semitic organization and by extension the ANC as one writer pointed out in The Business Day of 14 July 2014 because it is perceived to be supporting Hamas. Who or what is an anti-Semite? African-American scholar, Dr Charles Finch wrote that the word “Semitic” itself has varied connotations depending on the point to be proved or world-view to be reinforced. Thus, depending on who’s using it, the term can denote a race, an ethnic group, or a language, or some combination thereof. The Palestinians are also classified as Semites. So are they against themselves? The Israelis are perceived as being against the Palestinians. They are therefore also anti-Semitic.

The ANC government, unlike the tjoep stil Democratic Alliance, should be commended for having spoken out against the atrocities perpetrated by the Israeli government against the Palestinians although this is too little too late. It should have recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and expelled Israel’s envoy from this country. In fact, the ANC government should not have established diplomatic relations with Israel in the first place from the advent of the “new” government because Israel propped up the Apartheid government militarily and helped it with its nuclear weapons programme. There are well documented reports that the Apartheid government’s twenty-four nuclear warheads were transported to Israel before “democratic” elections. Israel also helped the Apartheid government bust sanctions.

The ANC government, like almost all governments on the African continent, is a client state of the US and/or France. Consequently, it won’t sever diplomatic relations with Israel because Israel is the US’s spoiled brat and South Africa is kowtowing to the US. Israel, like the Apartheid government, is a settler colonialist state and was established in 1948 by Europeans. The ANC government’s position should be that, based on historical records, Israel is an occupying force in Palestine and a colonial outpost for western imperialism in the Middle East. It is the aggressor and should therefore cease hostilities unconditionally.

By Sam Ditshego
The writer is a Senior Researcher at the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI).

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe: Founding President of the PAC of Azania

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe: Founding President of the PAC of Azania

Programme Director, distinguished guests, Memorials help a nation to preserve its history and pass it on accurately from generation to generation for knowledge storage. Thank you for inviting me to give a memorial lecture on Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe, this giant Pan Africanist leader.

The title of my lecture is: “A LEADER WHO WALKED THE POLITICAL TALK TO THE FINISH”. Prof. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe is a leader who walked the political talk to the finish. In the Biblical language, he ran the race and kept the faith. He went through a glorious contest with distinction. This is a man that the apartheid colonialist regime so silenced that even his closing speech in Court Case Number 173/60 was expunged from the Court record. Researchers and film makers thirsty to find his voice in radio stations have searched in vain. The enemy destroyed anything he ever said audibly. He was a banned person to his grave.

As a young man Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe was an omnivorous reader. At school, right up to the University of Fort Hare, he was an outstandingly brilliant student and a great thinker. He grew up to be a person endowed with profound intellect, revolutionary vigour and deep spirituality. He had exceptionally disarming humility towards everybody, friend and foe alike. Unashamed of his humble beginnings from which he came, he declared, “I am the son of Sobukwe born in Graaf-Reinet that land of goats….” Leadership is responsibility and duty to serve the people. Leaders who are servants of the people defend the poor and the powerless and work in their interests. They are not afraid to stand against the mighty. They reject the false philosophy that “might is right.” Might has been found wrong many times.

In the politics of South Africa Sobukwe introduced a new style of leadership. Leaders were to be in front. Indeed, he himself showed the way and many followed him, especially to Robben Island. Of leadership, he declared, “True leadership demands complete subjugation of self, absolute honesty, integrity and uprightness of character, courage and fearlessness, above all a consuming love for one’s people.” He never called a spade a big spoon. He refused to compromise the birth right of his people – land repossession.

Let me give you a few thoughts of those who observed Sobukwe’s life on the impact of the politics of this country, Africa and internationally. After the Sharpeville Uprising exploded like a huge bomb on apartheid South Africa; Lewis Nkosi, a highly respected journalist described Sobukwe as “…a tall, distinguished African prisoner, a university lecturer and political leader who at the age of 36 has a rare distinction of having scared the South African government out of its wits….” Nkosi elaborated: “Sobukwe helped to orchestrate a crisis that panicked the South African regime and nearly brought about the kind of political situation which too often makes the transfer of power overnight.”

A.P. Mda who was the President of the 1912 ANC Youth League after the death of Antony Muziwakhe Lembede and was then a prominent lawyer said, “ I found that Sobukwe believed that a leader must have total commitment to the struggle of the African people for national emancipation, no matter what hardships maybe or what the obstacles maybe.”

When the University of Ahmadu Bello in Nigeria conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws on Sobukwe posthumously, the Dean of this University chanted, “Honourable Chancellor, I present to you this courageous African revolutionary, this strong believer in the principles of Pan Africanism, this great fighter for the liberation and unity of all African peoples, this symbol of the struggle against apartheid and colonialism; for the posthumous conferment of the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws….”

Sobukwe understood that the struggle in South Africa was fundamentally an anti-colonial struggle, not a mere civil rights struggle against apartheid. Apartheid was the symptom of the disease brought about by the Berlin Act of 26 February 1885 which enabled Europe to partition Africa into its colonies, robbed African people of their countries and used the riches of Africa to develop Europe and under-develop Africa. He knew how land dispossession of the African people came about in South Africa and that a doctor who treats the symptoms of a disease and not the disease itself is bound to fail. He recognised all African kings who fought against the colonial land dispossession of the African people in South Africa. Some of these are “Uphaqa njelanga, Inyathi yasenhlakanhlakeni, Unokuzila ukudla kwamagwala. Amagwala adlu bubende.” That is King Cetshwayo – the architect of the Battle of Isandlwana – where African spears triumphed over the guns of a well-armed British army. In today’s Eastern Cape, King Hintsa fell in the Sixth War of national resistance against British colonialism in 1834. The colonial soldiers were commanded by a British Colonel Harry Smith. He still has a town in “New South Africa” named after him. Another one called Ladysmith is named after his wife.

In July 1959, Sobukwe paid tribute to all African Kings. They were the first freedom fighters in this country against colonialism. Among other things Mangaliso Sobukwe said: “Sons and Daughters of Afrika, we are going down the corridor of time renewing our acquaintance with the heroes of Africa’s past – those men and women who nourished the tree of African freedom and independence with their blood, those great Sons and Daughters of Afrika who died in order that we may be free in the land of our birth. We meet here today, to rededicate ourselves to the cause of Afrika, to establish contact beyond the grave, with the great African heroes and assure them that their struggle was not in vain. We are met here Sons and Daughters of the beloved land to drink from the fountain of African achievement, to remember the men and women who begot us, to remind ourselves of where we come from and restate our goals. We are here to draw inspiration from the heroes of Thababosiu, Isandlwana, Sandile’s Kop and numerous other battlefields where our forefathers fell before the bullets of the foreign invader….”

A generation that is ignorant of its past has no past and no future. A generation that does not know its past does not know even its present. It therefore, cannot understand its present and plan its future intelligently. The past has determined how the present must be handled. Sobukwe got his politics and His history correct. He did not forget that if a realistic and just society is to be created in South Africa, the facts of the political history of this country must not be swept under the carpet. Have you ever read the Union of South Africa Act 1909 and the Native Land Act 1913? These are two pieces of legislation that created South Africa. The Native Land Act 1913 legalised the unjust distribution of land and its riches. It created massive poverty and alarming economic inequalities affecting the African people today. This same law is today hidden in Section 25 (7) of the South African Constitution under a new name – “property clause” while, the country’s majority people is propertyless. Millions live in filthy shacks not fit even for pigs. These shacks often catch fire or flood killing many people.

The rulers dangle before the dispossessed of this country “land claims” from the crumbs of 13% allocated to the African people in 1913 and 1936. They are now offered to buy back the property of their ancestors through a dismally failed policy of “willing seller and willing buyer.” But even this, is merely their land which was further seized from 13% through the Group Areas Act of 1950. Indeed, the country Sobukwe fought for is like the one which Prophet Isaiah described in Chapter 1 verse 7 of this book, when he wrote, “Your land is desolate…Your land, strangers devour in your presence.” – “Izwe lakini liyihlane…umhlaba wenu udliwa ngabafokazi phambi kwenu.” Sobukwe knew that this would happen if some liberation struggle leaders in this country would confuse the symptoms – apartheid; for the disease colonialism itself.

The apartheid colonialist regime feared Sobukwe. Johannes Balthazar Vorster, the regime’s Minister of Justice called Sobukwe a “Heavy Weight Boxer” when compared to his political opponents in South Africa. Sobukwe understood the essence of the African liberation struggle too clearly to be misled or compromised. He is the only political leader in the history of South Africa who was imprisoned on Robben Island without even a mock trial. After serving a three-year prison sentence at Stofberg Prison for leading the Sharpeville Uprising, he was imprisoned on Robben Island in solitary confinement. He was guarded by five prison warders with two fierce Alsatian dogs. In the entire history of the world no parliament ever made a law to govern one man. But in South Africa, the “Sobukwe Clause” was legislated hurriedly by the apartheid colonial Parliament to do precisely that. Commenting on the “Sobukwe Clause,” the apartheid regime’s Minister of Justice, Johannes Balthazar Vorster said: “Then we come to the Sobukwe Clause….I appreciate that the principle of this clause is drastic….It is imprisonment that is concerned with the security of the state. It does not relate to any other crime….I have respect for the attitude of Member for Houghton [Helen Suzman]….But I want to say to her…if her amendment were to succeed and Robert Sobukwe were released we would have a fine to do in this country.” Some Members of the apartheid parliament visited Sobukwe on Robben Island after some years. They voted that Sobukwe must be kept in Robben Island Prison because he had not changed. A member of parliament who was in the group that visited Sobukwe said: “I asked Sobukwe, have you considered changing your ideology?” He replied: ‘Not until the day of the resurrection.’

Sobukwe was a Pan Africanist visionary. He preached Africanism and Pan Africanism in South Africa when these concepts were frowned upon by his political opponents as “anti-white.” But of course, today there is the Pan African Parliament. There has been the Organisation of African Unity. It has been succeeded by the African Union. It is very clear that if Africa does not unite, she will not defeat the onslaughts of a new form of colonialism threatening Africa’s people. Situations such as Libya, Central African Republic, Somalia, Mali, South Sudan, Boko Haram in Nigeria show that no African state can go it alone.

Sobukwe was an ideological brother and comrade of Pan Africanist luminaries such as Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Modibo Keita, Ahmed Sekou Toure, Patrice Lumumba etc. He was a strong advocate of a United States of Africa. He declared, “Besides the sense of a common historical fate that we share with other [African] countries, it is imperative for purely practical reasons that the whole of Africa unite into a single unit….Only in that way can be solved the immense problems that face the Continent.” Sobukwe died on 27 February 1978. He had envisaged that “By the end of 20th century, the standard of living of the masses of the African people would undoubtedly have arisen dramatically….” He pointed out that “The potential wealth of Africa in minerals, oil, hydro-electric power and so on, is immense. By cutting out waste through systematic planning a central government can bring the most rapid development.”

There is an unfounded criticism against Sobukwe by his opponents. For instance, the author of Long Walk To Freedom has written: “I was keen to discuss policy issues with Sobukwe, and one of the matters I took up with him was the PAC slogan ‘Freedom in 1963.’ It was already 1963 and freedom was nowhere to be seen.” It is not clear whether this was just the usual slanting of facts. The official slogans of the PAC have always been “Izwe Lethu!”or “Africa for Africans, Africans for humanity and humanity for God!” Anyway, this is what Sobukwe wrote in the Drum Magazine March 1959: “Nobody disputes our contention that Africa will be free from foreign rule. What is disputed by many, particularly the ruling white minorities is that she will be free ‘within our life time or by 1963 or even by 1973 or 1984. However, the African nationalist movements which met in Accra in 1958 put 1963 as the target for freedom for all of Africa.” There were only 8 African States when Sobukwe said this. But by 1963, there were 32 African States and the formation of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963. By 1984 only South Africa remained an apartheid colony.

Sobukwe was never naive about the hardships of the liberation struggle he led. Long before the Sharpeville Uprising, Robben Island Prison, Armed Struggle that was initiated by him and his colleagues such as P.K. Leballo, Zephania Mothopeng and Nyathi Pokela; Sobukwe had warned: “There is plenty of suffering ahead. The oppressor will not take this lying down. But we are ready, come what may.”

Without Sobukwe’s leadership, the United Nations would never have been seized with the Problem of South Africa for over 30 years. As Frantz Fanon the author of The Wretched of The Earth writes, it was through the Sharpeville Uprising led by Sobukwe which made the vile system of apartheid known internationally. Without this Uprising, there would never have been a United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid. This world body would never have declared apartheid a crime against humanity. As a result of Sobukwe’s leadership the United Nations in honour of the martyrs of Sharpeville Uprising, declared March 21 International Day For The Elimination Of Racial Discrimination. Without Sobukwe’s actions, there would never have been Robben Island Prison. Robben Island Prison was primarily meant for Sobukwe and PAC members. That is why they were the first to be imprisoned on Robben Island from 12 October 1962. That is also why neither Sobukwe nor any PAC leaders and members were transferred to comfortable prisons such as Pollsmoor and Victor Vester.

Was Sobukwe a “racist”? In a court of law in which he and his 23 colleagues were convicted of leading the Sharpeville Uprising, he stated that he believed in one race only. Asked, “Do you imply that the Africans,… and the whites of this country belong to this race?” He replied, “Correct.” It is Sobukwe’s organisation that coined the phrase “non-racial” in South Africa. The others were multi-racialists. Sobukwe said there was enough racism in South Africa to multiply it. The experts of English language those days said, there was no such word in English. Today the constitution of this country talks of non-racial society. Unfortunately, no English experts ever afterwards came forward to thank Sobukwe and his movement for giving the English language a new word – non-racialism. They just quietly put it in their dictionaries.

Sobukwe was a pace setter in the politics of South Africa. When he formed a military wing of his Party, others did the same. When he went to Robben Island they followed him there. Let me give one example. When he appeared in court on 4th April 1960, he reminded the Magistrate: “Your Worship, it will be remembered that when this court began we refused to plead because we felt no moral obligation whatsoever to obey laws which are made exclusively by a white minority….But I would like to quote what was said by someone before, that an unjust law cannot be justly applied….We stand for equal rights for all individuals….We are not afraid of the consequences for our actions and it is not our intention to plead for mercy. Thank you, Your Worship.”

Two years six months, after Sobukwe had addressed a colonial court in this mood, a rival political leader in 1962 followed on the hot pace that Sobukwe had set. He said, “I challenge the right of this court to hear my case, Firstly I fear that I will not be given a fair trial. Secondly, I consider myself neither legally nor morally bound to obey laws made by a parliament in which I have no representation.” (Old Synagogue Court Pretoria 15 October 7th November 1962)

Sobukwe was far ahead of his political opponents. His revolution began with the destruction of the enslaving pass laws – the Dom Pass which had conditioned the African people to regard their colonial masters as demigods. They suffered the terrible disease of inferiority complex. For Sobukwe the Dom Pass symbolised men who could never become owners of products and masters of their destiny. They were mentally damaged by the system of apartheid and colonialism and had helplessly accepted their inferior status in the land of their ancestors. Today, when you look at the mineral complex of our country, both these issues directly contest white minority ownership of land and mineral resources.

Sobukwe worked on distinct fronts as thought leader. These were:
1. Africans must be owners of the means of production;
2. Africans must be owners of land and minerals; and
3. Africans must declare their freedom from mental slavery by thinking, working and behaving like free men and women without the continuing mental chains of the Dom Pass that Sobukwe and his colleagues paid a high price to destroy through the Sharpeville Uprising.
These are still the biggest challenges faced by our country. Without attainment of these three objectives, there will be worse Marikanas. At some stage the slave conditions of employment, especially in mines and farms and unjust distribution of land and its resources according to population numbers, will create more uprisings. Sobukwe became the main target for the racist colonial regime because of these objectives. They knew just how the economic consequences would be for their colonial paradise that economically excluded the indigenous African population.

Sobukwe was a man with deep spirituality. He was an inspiration not only as a political leader, but also as a spiritual man. He found fortification, solace and courage in his Christian faith. He defied the demigods of white supremacy who wanted to destroy the image of God in Black people. He refused to bow to the forces of tyranny. In turn they destroyed him physically. But they could not destroy him spiritually. While people were sending him messages of sympathy for his suffering in Robben Island for no sins of his, he in turn was encouraging them. There is this letter he wrote to one of his Party members. It read: “I came across some beautiful sentiments, the other day, and I intend to pass them on to you because I know you will appreciate them as I did. This man Gilbert is commenting on 1 Samuel 12:24.” He says, “The Christian fears God, but for that reason he does not fear men. The Christian believes in God, but for that very reason he will not have men tell him what he may believe or not believe. The Christian is dependent on God and that is why he is independent of men. The Christian is humbled before God as his Maker and Lord, and that is why he cannot bow to human masters.” ‘I say Amen to every word,’ Sobukwe concluded.

The deep spirituality of Dr. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe is manifested also in his favourite English poem.
“To every man upon this earth…
Death comes soon or late…..
And how can man die better? …..
Than facing fearful odds….
For the ashes of his fathers ….
And for the temples of his Gods?”

Prof. Ivan Sertima, a Pan Africanist scholar in the Diaspora was correct when he wrote: “When a star dies, it does not vanish from the firmament. Its light keeps streaming across the fields of time and space, so that centuries later we may be touched by a vision of the fire and brilliance of its former life. The lives of truly great men are just like that.” Dr. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe is that kind of star. Freedom is not free. Its price is sacrifice. Sobukwe walked the political talk against fearful odds, with extra-ordinary patriotism and consuming love for Africa. God Bless Africa and her Sons and Daughters.

By Dr. Motsoko Pheko
The writer delivered the Sobukwe Memorial Lecture on 12 July 2014 at the Methodist Black Consultation held in Springs, Ekurhuleni, near Johannesburg.


It is 38 years since the students uprisings sparked off at SOWETO and spread to other African Townships all over the country when these students said enough was enough and revolted against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in African schools. The students who had declared war and were on the warpath against the apartheid slave education based on racial discrimination and racial segregation buttressed by the white supremacist ideology were joined and supported by the entire oppressed nation including parents, teachers, civic organizations, community based organizations, church organizations, church leaders, workers, above ground and underground structures of the banned liberation movements.

Those students who survived the massacre and the brutality of the racist war machine, escaped to exile, joined and swelled the ranks of the liberation movements. These are the students who came back home as guerrillas to fight the apartheid security forces and the entire state machinery that terrorized the entire oppressed nation and the neighbouring Frontline States that gave shelter to the freedom fighters and supported the liberation of the oppressed African people of South Africa. 38 years now those young students are men and women (adults) and leaders in many areas of endeavor but the system they fought against, sacrificed, suffered and even paid with their lives for is yet to be radically changed and destroyed, especially economically and socially.

The apartheid economic and social structure has remained intact and is characterized by concentration of wealth and property in the hands of the white minority now joined by the post-1994 African political, bureaucratic and business elites and the new African middle class, the so-called “Black Diamonds” who constitute the “les nouveaux riches” are enjoying the fruits of freedom whilst the masses of the poorest of the poor, the have-nots and the dispossessed are still wallowing in abject poverty and squalor 20 years since national freedom was attained on the 27 April 1994.

As we commemorate the 38th Anniversary of the students’ uprisings triggered at SOWETO and spread nationwide, the quality of education they fought for, is far from being achieved as seen in the conditions in schools in the African communities in the townships/ghettoes and rural areas. There is no need to belabor this point except to say that there can be no quality education without the change of the existing material conditions in these schools, without committed and quality teachers supported by an efficient and effective administration and this implies the need for capable administrators who have authority of competence and can inspire discipline and respect in the school system, otherwise the education system will continue to be dysfunctional and thus betray what the 1976 school children who are now adults fought for, suffered, sacrificed and died for as we enter the “Second Transition”.

There can be no excuse not to effect radical transformation of the existing neo-colonial system if we claim or pretend to stand for the poorest of the poor, the have-nots and the dispossessed of this country. There can be no real change or transformation if we keep on tinkering and not decisively dealing with the underlying causes of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The underlying causes as many people have repeated so many times are systemic and structural. Unless the ruling elites move away from the neo-liberal paradigm and its concomitants buttressed by the ultraliberal constitution in place in this country, there shall be no radical transformation of the economic and social structure or existing property relations.

Firstly, the sunset clauses and related legislations must be abandoned so that the ruling elite can act without constraints or restraints. If they do not act decisively to change the existing apartheid economic and social system or existing property relations of course more radical parties will emerge and will one day take over and bring this about and this will be done with more anger as poverty, unemployment and inequality shall have deepened and worsened and these conditions shall have radicalized the demands of the poor. We hope the Second Transition will rid itself of the compromises that deferred the expected changes that the poor and the have-nots looked forward to post 1994. The ruling elite must also rid itself of idealism based on empty promises and formal rights and freedoms which are meaningless to the poor.

The poor must have food on the table; they must have decent or adequate shelter; their children must receive quality education; quality health care and above all there must be peace and security in their communities or environment. These communities must be free and be protected from the anarchy and mayhem that are prevailing in many locations in this country such as in Cape Town where drug peddling, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and gangsterism are the order of the day; people living in fear and total insecurity; schools being disrupted and school children afraid to attend classes and teachers afraid to teach while there are security forces seemingly being part of the problem or afraid to face the gangsters or drug dealers or barons.

The generation of 1976 showed the way when they challenged the apartheid system with courage and determination. They never retreated and compromised in the face of the most ferocious and brutal force unleashed against them and the arrest and elimination of some of the leaders of the uprisings. They never looked back until national freedom was achieved. Where is that courage and fearlessness today? To effect radical changes or transformation in this country today we need the courage of those students who are adults today and some of whom are leaders in government and other public and private institutions or maybe they have joined the middle class or the “Blaque Diamonds/Black Diamonds” (i.e. les nouveaux riches) and have forgotten what they fought for in 1976 because they are now comfortable now and not prepared to risk what they have and their status or positions.

The courage that is needed today is to make decisions for the interests of the poor and not for the interests of neo-colonialists who own our land and its wealth below and above ground. We need courage not to appease and not to be apologetic. Whatever radical transformation that must be undertaken must be based on distributive justice. This means those who have must be prepared to sacrifice part of what they have so that there is equitable distribution which will permit equal access or equal opportunities for all otherwise the sacrifices made and sufferings endured in 1976 shall have been in vain for the poor whose children lost their lives, some still unaccounted for and others maimed for life. We know that owning classes like ruling classes never voluntarily abdicate ownership or power without resistance thus leaving the only alternative being confiscation or expropriation. This will be the only route to follow if the ruling elite are serious about radical transformation of the existing property relations inherited from the apartheid system.

Izwe Lethu! I-Africa!

By Molefe ‘Ike’ Mafole
The writer is a Member of the PAC of Azania (PAC) and the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) Military Veterans Association. He can be contacted on 072 630 2206.

Kenny Motsamai

Kenny Motsamai

The “New South Africa” boasts of being a “democracy.” Indeed, in some areas that are not fundamental to democracy such as homosexual marriages, “sex workers”, “abortion on demand”, and an education system that allows a pass mark of 30%, this “democracy” is excelling. But on fundamental political issues, that includes equitable redistribution of land and its riches according to population numbers and treatment of former freedom fighters who gave their lives to destroy apartheid colonialism in South Africa, the “rainbow nation” democracy is an unmitigated disaster.

Through its International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, the United Nations declared apartheid a crime against humanity. The crime of apartheid is akin to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. According to this Convention, genocide is a crime whether committed in time of peace or of war. Article II of this Convention states, “Genocide means any of the following acts committed to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group such as: Killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm calculated to bring about physical destruction in whole or in part….”

During the African liberation struggle against apartheid and colonialism in South Africa, even prominent Christian leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu called apartheid “a theological heresy.” But during the sitting of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), young men who fought against this crime and heresy were paraded before this TRC on the same pedestal as the perpetrators of the crime of apartheid, to justify their acts. It was demanded of them to prove that they were “politically motivated” to fight against apartheid. The victims of apartheid, a crime against humanity were sacrificed on the polluted altar of appeasement.

The TRC ignored the principles applied at the Nuremberg and Tokyo International Tribunals which tried the Nazis. The TRC did not distinguish those who fought a crime against humanity and those who were its cause and had fought and killed thousands of the victims of apartheid in order to perpetuate this crime against humanity. This was appeasement to the forces of apartheid colonialism backed by certain Western countries to protect their own economic interests in “New South Africa.” The victims of apartheid, a crime against humanity suffered gross injustice and violations of human rights. They were sacrificed on the polluted altar of false “reconciliation” which was devoid of reciprocity on the part of the perpetrators of the crime of apartheid. The political liberation of the African people that had been recognised internationally as legitimate was criminalised, mutilated and manipulated to suit secret deals, political capitulation and betrayal of land robbed colonised Africans.

Many freedom fighters appeared before the TRC without lawyers as they could not afford legal expenses and many were already in jails. According to the Law of Evidence, especially in criminal cases, the burden of proof lies with the person alleging the offence. At the TRC the burden of proof that the accused had done no wrong was placed squarely on the victims. It was demanded of them that they must prove that their activities were “politically motivated.” Their revolutionary activities including “repossession” were dismissed as “armed robbery.” The facts of colonial history in South Africa clearly show that the African people were dispossessed of their land and its resources. That is why the Pan Africanist Congress, in particular, though the Azanian Peoples’ Liberation Army (APLA) included repossession in its military programme.

African Kings of this country who fought the wars of national resistance against European colonial invasion and aggression implemented the policy of repossessing their land and its resources. King Moshoeshoe of the Basotho Nation articulated this policy of repossession very clearly. He wrote:
“When we drive colonialists’ cattle, sheep and horses in war, or before their fearing faces, they call that stealing. When they drive ours, they call it by soft names. They say they…replace their stolen property” [even though they arrived without property from Europe]. King Moshoeshoe elaborated, “To us, capturing the enemies’ property in war is one way of self-protection. More than that, by our laws, all property reared and nurtured on stolen land from us remains our property.”

The situation in South Africa is that as a result of Africans fighting the crime of apartheid against humanity; the “Rainbow Nation” has had political prisoners for the last twenty years. They were sentenced to barbaric prison sentences amidst the loud cheers of “reconciliation.” For example, Kenny Motsamai is serving two life prison sentences plus 19 years, Solomon Malijoana 3 life prison sentences, Petros Tshabalala two prison sentences plus 155 years. This was justice and democracy cruelly crucified in the midst of “rainbow nation” celebrations of the “best constitution” in the world. What made this situation worse was that a number of perpetrators of the crime of apartheid were pardoned at the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” A few examples are Barend Strydom, Craig Wiliams and Dirk Coetzee. Strydom killed eight African people at Pretoria Church Square in 1992. De Wet Krizinger killed three African bus passengers at Mamelodi in January 2000. Three AWB apartheid members planted the Worcester Christmas Eve Bomb in 1996.

What has been even more atrocious is that even before the TRC was established there are reports that the apartheid colonialist regime gave amnesty to more than 3500 of its forces. The regime shredded more than 44 metric tons of documents revealing dark secrets and atrocities committed. They included a programme of developing nuclear technological capacity for military purposes to terrorise African States it could not win to its apartheid colonial side. The nuclear plant was situated at Vulindaba near Phelandaba.

After I raised the matter of political prisoners in the South African Parliament for many years, where I was then serving, President Thabo Mbeki authorised the matter of pardoning political prisoners to be re-opened. Indeed, it was opened under President Kgalema Motlhanthe in 2008. The matter was to be dealt with swiftly. It did not. It dragged on until after President Jacob Zuma’s first term in office. When the list of pardoned prisoners was released long ago, I wrote to President Jacob Zuma through the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and stated:
“Your Excellency, Presidential Pardons announced by yourself have not cured the defects of the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” (TRC). A number of APLA former freedom fighters against apartheid, the former military wing of the Pan Africanist Congress are still languishing in the prisons of “New South Africa” under ANC rule – a purported African government. Only 34 APLA political prisoners have received Presidential Pardons. This is very unfortunate. This process was the last hope for former freedom fighters that the TRC awarded with imprisonment for their anti-apartheid and anti-colonial activities in this country.”

What has prompted me to write this article is my recent visit to some former members of the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (APLA) in prisons. The justice system of this country has failed them. Let me give only two examples to illustrate this point. In a letter to one of these political prisoners Percy Kutu Chepape, dated 2nd February 2012 an official of the Head of the Secretariat: Political Pardons Special Dispensation Process, wrote:
“Dear Mr. Chepape (97358533 (Groenpunt Prison), The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the current status of your application and the process that will be followed in finalising your application……As you are probably aware, the Constitutional Court in the case of Rayn Albutt and Others v President of the Republic and Others, CCT54/[2010] ZACC 4, requires that a process of victim participation be instituted before the President makes a final decision….
Upon receipt of the representations from victims and interested parties, their representations will be submitted to the relevant applicants who will have 30 days to submit their replies to the Secretariat….All applicants will be informed of the decision of the President as soon as it is known. If representations regarding your matter is received from victims and interested parties, a further communication will be addressed to you setting out what is required from you….”

Sipho Banabas Ngomane (97354546) received a similar letter dated 2nd February 2012. I visited Chepape and Ngomane in prison on 19th May 2014. They have not heard from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development since the 2nd February 2012. “The Invitation to victims and interested parties to make representations regarding certain Pardon Matters” was published over two years ago. But Chepape and Ngomane still have not heard about any objections to their release, if any. Is this how the justice system should operate in a democratic country? The legal dictum long declared that “Justice delayed is justice denied.” These political prisoners are now illegally imprisoned even by the standards of “New South Africa” which in the first place imprisoned freedom fighters who fought against the vile system of apartheid declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations.

How many African families or interested people were consulted over the perpetrators of Sharpeville, Langa, Soweto and numerous other massacres of Africans by the apartheid colonialist regime? For two years some APLA members who were announced as having been pardon by President Jacob Zuma are still sitting in jails! How long does this consultation take?

Only on 12 June 2014, the STAR newspaper in Johannesburg reported that the Minister of Correctional and Justice Services Michael Masutha was considering to release from prison Clive Derby-Lewis the killer of Chris Hani. Hani’s widow Mrs Limpho Hani had not been informed of this move by the ANC government. She herself angrily complained about this. The sensitivity to consult families of African victims does not seem to be as meticulously observed as when victims of white families are involved. Justice and democracy in “New South Africa” reveal more appeasement to whites than equal treatment as would be expected from a country which claims to have the “best” constitution in the word.

Under the ANC government, the apartheid colonial President P.W. Botha who ordered the massacre of Africans not only in South Africa, but in neighbouring countries such as Lesotho, Angola, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia; refused to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, yet when he died his family was offered a state funeral. Why is it so easy to forgive those who practised apartheid and so difficult to forgive those who were victims of apartheid and colonialism? In a democratic society, justice is for all human beings regardless of their colour, political affiliation, class or religion.

In passing let me point out that the injustice to political prisoners has spilled over into national honours such as state funerals. The ANC Government offered state funerals to former apartheid presidents and to many of its members when they died. But recently on 14th June 2014, a great woman political fighter for freedom in South Africa who was one of the early pioneers of liberation struggle in this country was offered a “Provincial state funeral” in the Easter Cape Province. All others to date were offered state funerals in the true sense of this kind of funeral as understood the world over. This giant woman is Mrs ‘Mamotseki Epainette Mbeki, formerly Moerane. Her husband Govan Mbeki spent eighteen years on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela without compromising the legitimate demands of the African liberation struggle in this country. Mrs Mbeki in her own right served the liberation struggle of her country with distinction. She was a national freedom fighter, not a provincial or regional fighter. In fact, she is the oldest freedom fighter in South Africa. She died at the age of 98 years still fighting for justice. She was also a shining pioneer of African education. Her being offered a “provincial state funeral” is a conundrum of conundrums.

The time has long come for the ANC leaders to prove that Prof. Edward Feit was WRONG when he wrote, “Reviewing the story of the ANC, it would seem that all the times they were more concerned about non-violence against whites than against their own people” (The Journal Of Modern African Studies Volume 8 Number One 1970). Many young freedom fighters languishing in the prisons of “New South Africa” must be release. They were not the cause of the conflict. The cause of the conflict was colonialism and racism called apartheid in South Africa. In their struggle for the liberation of their country, they were guided by following principles derived from international law which applied to their struggle such as The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries of December 1960, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514, especially paragraph 2 and Article 1 of this United Nations Resolution which reads: “The subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and co-operation.”

The “New South Africa” has played a double standard over members of APLA and others that it has imprisoned for fighting against apartheid. The late President Nelson Mandela called for release of political prisoners in Zambia and in Indonesia. He appealed to Zambia President Frederick Chiluba to pardon former President Kenneth Kaunda. He persuaded Indonesia’s President Suharto to release rebel leader Xanana Gusman. He requested Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to set free three agents of the ‘dirty tricks’ of the South African apartheid regime. The “New South African” government took a great deal of interest in crimes against humanity in Yugoslavia, Burundi, Rwanda, Bosnia etc. The ANC government sent judges such as Judge Richard Goldstone to take part in tribunals in these countries. Charity begins at home. Former freedom fighters that are languishing in the prisons of the “rainbow nation,” must be released forth. Their “crimes” are certainly far less than the apartheid crime which the United Nations declared a crime against humanity.

By Dr. Motsoko Pheko
The writer is a former representative of the victims of apartheid at the United Nations in New York and at the UN Commission and Human Rights in Geneva well as a former Member of the South African Parliament. He is the author of several books on history, politics, law and theology.

Police forcefully remove one of the residents

Police forcefully remove one of the residents

The manner in which the evictions of the Nomzamo /Lwandle informal settlement or shack dwellings was carried out is a reflection of the political and economic system embraced and practiced by the ruling elite or class in this country. The treatment of the poorest of the poor, the have-nots and the dispossessed is not surprising although shocking. Some of us were not surprised though shocked and disgusted by the brutality with which this was done because the interests of the rich and privileged were questioned or challenged and had to be protected including the status quo on the land issue , which is the underlying problem to housing in this country.

This is also a reflection of lack of decisiveness by the ruling elite whose hands are tied by a constitution that does not protect or defend the interests and aspirations of the poorest of the poor, the have-nots and the dispossessed of this country who are also the indigenous people of this country. The Nomzamo situation highlights the acute issue of landlessness of the majority indigenous in this country and the concomitant homelessness. This situation is corroborated by the recent publication of the latest land audit that shows that “private individuals and foreigners own close to 80 percent of South African land” (Pretoria News, Friday, Saturday September 6, 2013, Front Page).

There is no land for housing for the poor. This is admitted by some of the municipalities. In some municipalities, there is no land or space for cemeteries. The case in point is Soshanguve where they have been using the Mabopane cemetery because theirs is full and there is no land nearby. If any is available, it is either owned by a van der Merwe or a van Vuuren and the government cannot do anything about that because it is private property protected by the constitution (Property Clause 25).

The situation in this country is said to be unique or special. Sobukwe, the founder-leader of the PAC, rejected this ‘South African Exceptionalism’ because South Africa is an integral part of the African continent and is the outcome of colonialism – classical or settler colonialism (Remember the Berlin Congress of 1884-1885). As a result of this ‘exceptionalism’, the struggle for liberation in this country has not meant liberation of our land occupied by the settlers who are not prepared to share it with the landless majority.

The ruling elite have been made to believe but also believe and in turn have made the poor believe that any change in land ownership will affect food security. They even go to extremes by misrepresenting what has happened in Zimbabwe without admitting that the future generations there are secured with regard to land ownership whilst we, our children and their children have nothing and will have nothing. The Zimbabweans are now hands on with regard to the use of land for food production and food security whilst we depend on others for food security. One may also ask the question food security for what and for whom? For export and for the rich and privileged who have the means! This explains the Nomzamo situation where we have seen women and children crying painfully and in desperation because the only homes they had were demolished by heartless agents of those who own the land and the country in the name of private property.

After causing destruction, mayhem, suffering, fear, loss of personal belongings, interruption of children’s schooling and creating homelessness for the already homeless and exposing them to severe winter cold weather, the representatives of the ruling elite come around to shed crocodile tears and also accusing one another for the tragic situation they have caused. Then they tell the people to go back to what is now a waste land whilst others are temporarily accommodated in overcrowded community halls and other public facilities where there is no privacy let alone enough toilettes. They have been stripped of their human dignity. In the meantime, the government is telling the suffering displaced, helpless people and their innocent children to wait whilst they are looking for an alternative land (ba loma ba fodisa).

This clearly shows how poor people have become political football of parties that represent the rich and the privileged. This also explains the type of freedom we got. Our freedom needs to be freed or liberated if we truly want to claim to be really free. It is not surprising to hear voices saying not yet UHURU. Without control and ownership of our land and its resources below and above ground we are lying to ourselves, lying to others and lying to the world about the human rights and freedoms we claim to enjoy in this country. All these are academic, meaningless and have no substance for the poor and are enjoyed by the rich and the privileged who have forgotten who they are, where they came from and how they came to be where they are.

The last word remains with the poorest of the poor, the have-nots and the dispossessed of this country. Their time will come and they will remember what happened to them at Nomzamo informal settlement and other parts of this country.

Izwe Lethu! I-Africa!

By Molefe ‘Ike’ Mafole
The writer is a Member of the PAC of Azania (PAC) and the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) Military Veterans Association. He can be contacted on 072 630 2206.

Zephaniah “The Lion of Azania” Mothopeng

Zephaniah “The Lion of Azania” Mothopeng

During the apartheid era – from 1948 when the National Party came into government until 1994 when a new political dispensation was ushered in – the settler regime treated Zephania Lekoane Mothopeng (1913 – 1990) as the number one enemy of the state. The strength of his Pan Africanist convictions, his moral courage and personal values of democracy and intellectual honesty, put Uncle Zeph through the crucibles of character that made his leadership to stand out in the national liberation struggle.

On 27 April 2014, the Jacob Zuma administration cited Mothopeng as a recipient of a lowly medal under Orders of Luthuli to celebrate the twenty years since the new phase of constitutional democracy in South Africa. Arguably, Zuma made this award as a grudge acknowledgement. He had no other choice. The struggle history is written in blood, sweat and tears, and it is personified in the life and times of Uncle Zeph Mothopeng. In treating him this way, the new government is however deliberately having Mothopeng marginalised in the same way that the settler state intentionally suppressed information about his patriotic deeds. This behaviour has since grown into a blind spot for academic researchers of the struggle period. Even modern talking heads (pundits) in the mass media tend to treat Uncle Zeph Mothopeng disdainfully as if he never happened.

This treatment is cynically in compliance with the secret Bethal Trial in which the racist state preferred to hold court proceedings in camera against Uncle Zeph and seventeen of his co-accused, to prevent the public from having access to the struggle objectives and the modus operandi of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania. The state opposed an accessible, open court. In his lifetime, Uncle Zeph was widely acknowledged as the second most senior personality in the PAC leadership after Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe.

His life in the anti-apartheid struggle is described as “an epic of suffering and endurance”. Developing in stature from among the founders of the Congress Youth League in the mid-forties, he went on to lead the teachers’ campaign against the Bantu Education bills in 1953 and was expelled from teaching by the state. He defended the 1949 Programme of Action against the rise of the Charterists from 1955 when they took control of the African National Congress. He led the processes that brought about the formation of the PAC in 1959, and he was at the forefront of its ground breaking Positive Action campaign against the pass laws on 21 March 1960. Positive Action was defined by Pan Africanists as the application of non-violent mass action in the form of strikes, boycotts and non-collaboration with the oppressive authorities. Uncle Zeph played a leading role in the PAC underground movement that started the armed insurrection through mass-based organisations like Poqo, AmaJakopa and others in 1961-64. He also pledged overt support for the Black Consciousness movement in the early seventies, and is credited for masterminding the popular uprisings of 1976. Upon his release on grounds of ill health in 1988, the new struggle generation called him the Lion of Azania.

His contemporaries in the leadership of rival organisations seemed to all agree that Mothopeng was the most tortured among them: In April 1996 Govan Mbeki testified at the TRC that while in detention in 1962 at the Pretoria Central Prison under the 90 day law, he witnessed torture wounds on Mothopeng’s body, and had heard him writhing in agony in his cell at night. Mothopeng fearlessly continued to register his protest against the security police. Mbeki was four cells down from Mothopeng.

Harold Strachan, a progressive journalist, wrote that while in detention he saw Mothopeng in an inner courtyard, tied all over in a straitjacket and rolling around on the floor, screaming at the top of his lungs. No other detainee or leader at the time was at the receiving end of this type of hot stick, beastly torture and violation of human rights.

The indictment in the secret Bethal Trial catalogues Uncle Zeph’s revival of the PAC on Robben Island maximum prison from 1963; his position as a nodal point for covert activities of the banned PAC’s internal operatives and the mission in exile; and overt alliance with youth, students, women, workers, rural folks, business, political formations and faith-based communities.

The deputy attorney general of the Transvaal, PG Haasbroek, in leading the prosecution, argued against an open court and convinced the judge to hold a secret trial. He said his 165 witnesses would be imperilled and ‘have their throats cut’ since the PAC was known for getting rid of its traitors and defectors. The court ruling was that no person without a press card from the Commissioner of Police would be admitted to report on the Bethal Trial.

The Newspaper Press Union, an organisation of newspaper owners, colluded with the police to selectively issue the press cards out to hacks, to the exclusion of black reporters. The South African Press Association (SAPA) and the Argus stable newspaper, The Star, withdrew their journalists from covering the Bethal Trial, saying it was costly to send staff 200km from their offices and provide allowances for food and accommodation. They became part of the conspiracy of silence against the PAC.

A political scientist from the Rand Afrikaans University, Chris Johannes Van Der Merwe, gave expert witness that the PAC’s official ideology meant ‘that in the future the wealth in the present settler-colonial society will be owned and consumed by all the people, first according to their individual productivity and ultimately in accordance with their actual needs.’ This, he argued, was a brand of communism espoused by the Peoples Republic of China. He said the PAC had chosen armed revolution as its principal form of struggle, and people’s war as the highest form of that struggle. In this way, the RAU academic justified the reasons for a secret trial.

When Uncle Zeph read out a statement refusing to plead before a whites-only judiciary, Justice Curlewis stopped him in his tracks and then struck the statement off the court records, adjourning the court for the day. These incidents started the eighteen months long proceedings. The transcripts of the court records are more than 7000 pages long, excluding exhibit documents. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in a version of the story of the PAC from 1963 to 1976.

Evolving from being outlawed in 1960, the PAC focused its renewed energy on transforming itself into a revolutionary Party with an advanced scientific theory and methods of practise. It could no longer be everything to everybody. It also reformulated the Army into the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (APLA), adapting Mao Zedong’s guerrilla warfare strategies. Working in tandem with mass-based organisations in a patriotic United Front was also part of the strategic objective. The philosophy of Pan Africanism, as a basis for unity, accommodated all persuasions and schools of thought to work together for the emancipation of African people from white domination and colonial subjugation at home and in the diaspora, and to attain the right to self-determination in order to assume state power and improve their quality of life. It opposes colonial borders and advocates for a single unitary government for Africa.

Forever the able choirmaster, Uncle Zeph crafted together all the discordant, promising and best voices into a harmonious national symphony orchestra singing from the same score sheet. Even those who were laid back or trapped in the stagnant past, he patiently brought them into the fold. To those who broke down during torture and were forced to become state witnesses against him and his comrades, including in other unrelated cases, he extended a hand of forgiveness and reconciliation. Uncle Zeph was a true and trusted democrat.

In detention under the draconian Section 6 of the Terrorism Act, four Party operatives linked to the Bethal Trial were murdered by the security police. Samuel Malinga – underground operative and courier between the PAC leaders in exile, Uncle Zeph in Soweto, and Mangaliso Sobukwe in Kimberley. Aaron Khoza – ex-political prisoner and activist working with youth in Kagiso Township. Dr Naboth Ntshuntsha – an intellectual with a keen sense of the mass line and a PAC leader in the Soweto underground unit. Bonaventure Sipho Malaza – student leader at Masupatsela High School in Kagiso.

Johnson Nyathi accused number fourteen, survived death after being thrown from a four storey security police building in Krugersdorp. He charged officers Schoeman and Smith for the deed, in which they were assisted by black policemen, but the matter was dismissed by the courts. He attended the trial with crutches and plaster of Paris on both of his legs.

A pack of notorious torture specialists and seasoned policemen were assigned from security branch head office at Compol building in Pretoria to deal with potential witnesses and the accused during detention. Spyker Van Wyk already had the blood of Imam Abdul Haron on his hands. The Imam was martyred whilst in detention for PAC underground activities in Cape Town in 1969. The other officers were Gert Visser, Andre Van Heerden Beukes, Theunis Adriaan Steyn, Cornelius Botha and their leader Major Erasmus.

Dealt out worse treatment by the security police, a coterie of brave women comrades stood out, whom the courts also regarded as accomplices and hostile witnesses. These are Frozzy Shandu ka Mbatha – who criss-crossed the length and breadth of the country with former Robben Island prisoner and political commissar returned from the PAC headquarters in Tanzania, Saki Mafatshe; Cindy Radley – a teacher at Alexandra High School ridiculously detained under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act for having been introduced to Mark Shinners and Bennie Ntoele; Lenah Mawela – a beautician and fashion model responsible for transporting recruits for military training abroad and taking members of the Soweto Students Representative Council leadership to Swaziland and Botswana; Victoria Makheta – who led a special PAC underground communications unit and was forced to testify against her common law husband, Moffat Zungu; and, Mado Dorcas Mosweu – an adult literacy practitioner and colleague of both Dan Matsobane and Uncle Zeph at the Wilgespruit Fellowship Centre and the Urban Resource Centre respectively.

Contrarily, some fairly credible PAC members, with the experience of joining the Party from inception in 1959 and participating in its early campaigns, shamelessly turned their backs on Uncle Zeph and the other trialists, and willingly gave damaging evidence in favour of the state. The prosecution had said that the PAC’s oath of allegiance had taken the place of religious vows among its hard core members. It was difficult to get defectors. They however found in this group their true partners in crime.

Enoch Mngomezulu, the first witness, was seen during breaks getting briefings from security branch police. He was the Zondi branch chairperson in 1959. In 1962 he was found with a name list of underground leaders in the Transvaal, leading to mass arrests. He then served six years in prison from 1963. He admitted to betraying the leadership’s trust in him. He formed a faction to divide the Party with Selby Ngendane in prison. Mngomezulu blatantly sold out Sam Malinga and John Ganya to the police.

Pascot Vakalisa revealed details of the source of funding for the underground activities. He connected Malinga and Ganya to their several visits to Sobukwe. Vakalisa and Mngomezulu were old friends.

Joas Baker Mogale confessed to having led an anti-communist group within the PAC on Robben Island. With Mngomezulu, Vakalisa, and others, they belonged to a faction that followed Selby Ngendane. They refused to identify with the PAC’s Marxist views. He testified against Mark Shinners and Bennie Ntoele. Mogale said the majority of PAC members identified with Uncle Zeph’s leadership until his release and with member of the Presidential Council, John Pokela, when he arrived on the Island in 1967.

John Moeketsi Mahapa pointed Ganya out at an identity parade. He sang like a canary and worked with the police in Krugerdorp against his own comrades. Mahapa had belonged to the Orlando East branch, and on Robben Island prison he was with the so-called Inner Core grouping under Ngendane’s guidance. They refused to acknowledge the rural folks arrested for Poqo activities as bonafide PAC members. They were also opposed to the teachings of Uncle Zeph on revolutionary Pan Africanism. According to Mahapa, Ngendane taught them about African Nationalism and the concept of Five Social Butterflies. He denied even having attended the wedding ceremony of Mark Shinners up the street from his place in Orlando. The defence submitted a photo of the wedding ceremony in which he appears.

The others in this league included Mountain Mathebula, Joseph Mogashoa, Silas Ntengo and Stephen Kwapeng. They had become disgruntled with the struggle after the 1963 swoop on the PAC underground. They looked up to Ngendane, who had a fierce communist phobia, and according to Mothopeng in the court records, ‘was a stubborn man who wanted to have the last word in a debate’.

Bathembu Bethuel Lugulwana of the Comrades Movement in Cape Town knowingly testified against Vuyisile Dlova, Mpazamo Yonana, Julius Landingwe and Zolile Ghost Ndindwa.

Young Masupatsela High students testified against Uncle Zeph and Mike Matsobane. Adam Kunupi and Papuis Rasegomela Seroka both gave evidence that at a meeting organised by Matsobane in Kagiso around April 1976 Uncle Zeph briefed the more than fifteen participants on the impending strikes that would be started by school children and spread throughout the country. The PAC would take over the leadership of stay-away and boycotts to weaken the economy. The date was not fixed for these uprisings but an alarm would ring. This will be the beginning of the end for white rule. The witnesses told the court that Mike Matsobane in closing the meeting said the tree of liberation is watered by blood. Then on 16 June 1976 in Soweto, Uncle Zeph’s prediction happened.

Mike Sello Matsobane organised the youth into the Young African Religious Movement, as a platform to raise awareness of the inequalities in society. The bible could be used for good purposes and contextualised in advancing the national freedom struggle. He interacted with the South African Council of Churches, mobilising the then Anglican Dean of Johannesburg, Desmond Tutu, to participate in social activities in Kagiso. He revived the PAC underground and worked with Uncle Zeph in the Urban Resource Centre.

Mark Shinners, Bennie Ntoele and Saki Mafatshe, in the greater Pretoria area, painstakingly started afresh from where they left off in 1963 after serving ten years each in prison on Robben Island. They familiarised themselves with new developments in the Party and led the development of a cell system with units of up to three. They learnt not to repeat the mistakes of the sixties with bigger units making room for enemy infiltration. They distributed banned literature with disguised covers and titles such as Uhambo Lomhambi, Izibongo Zamakhosi, Buka ya go Buisa, and Modisa ea Molemo. These were the PAC’s Basic Documents, Policies and Programmes of the PAC (1972), Azania News, Azania Combat and New Road of the Revolution.

Mafatshe skipped the country but came back after a year to establish pockets of dynamizing groups and underground cells to work on Party building and continue recruiting for the Army. He travelled to all the major cities and areas where PAC operatives stayed in the four provinces distributing literature and giving political instructions. On the advice of Uncle Zeph, he was based in Lobatse, Botswana, where he worked with Black Consciousness leaders like Bokwe Mafuna, Welile Nhlapho and Jeff Baqwa, but was disappointed when the envisaged united front with Azania Tendency formations broke down. The police dragnet inside South Africa that hunted Mafatshe high and low failed to nail him down. He was the real Scarlet Pimpernel character who was never caught.

Like Mafatshe, Vuyisile Dlova established a network of underground operatives in the Transkei and Western Cape and linked them up with contacts in the Witwatersrand and the PAC in Swaziland and Botswana. Dlova interacted with the Black Consciousness structures and with select study groups following the ideas of the All Africa Convention. The Bethal Trial records portray his sweeping swift movements throughout the country linking up with leaders of the underground cell units, providing logistics support. He also evaded the police and was sent to exile.

Working with John Ganya, they had operated with Sabelo Phama (Victor Gqweta), Ngubeni April kaNkophe, and university lecturers like Mbulelo Mzamane and Kwesi Kwaa Prah in Botswana. Ganya was arrested using a nom de guerre at a safe house in Dinokana near Zeerust, after travelling clandestinely to and from the PAC headquarters in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He worked with Ntshuntsha and Sithembele Khala to politically guide the rising militants behind the Soweto 1976 uprisings.

During the trial, Ganya was not allowed inside the court because he ‘interfered with witnesses or took a threatening attitude and made it impossible for the continuation of the case’. Ganya believed that the court was an instrument of the oppressors, led by a white presiding officer naturally biased against the accused in a case like that in Bethal. The security

branch police had tortured him severely with no protection from the magistrate who visited detainees under the Terrorism Act. On why he did not trust good cops, he said: “A mouse will never go along with a cat, no matter how liberal and nice the cat was. The mouse will always expect to be caught by the paws of the cat.”

Giving defence testimony, Uncle Zeph stamped his belief that Pan Africanism was for him “a way of life, an entire outlook with political, social and economic sides to it. Pan Africanism had grown to become a philosophy of life. All the states in Africa must eventually unite into one country and one government – that would be the best thing for the African people and for the continent.”

The Mothopengs were family friends with the Sobukwes. SASO leader, Mapetla Mohapi, brought a message from Robert Sobukwe to Uncle Zeph in June 1975, at a leadership conference held in Hammanskraal that Prof urgently needed to see him. He then arranged two trips, with the assistance of news reporter Joe Thloloe, to pay a visit to Sobukwe in Kimberley. On 22 July 1975 at a lunch hosted by Prof’s friend, Ahmed Laher, Sobukwe asked him to tell the world that the security branch police poisoned him on Robben Island. Sobukwe said he was taken to the hospital when he reacted to the poisoning, and kept away from contact with his family and legal representatives. When the illness subsided, he was then banished to Galeshewe in Kimberley. Sobukwe’s health was deteriorating as a result of the poisoning. State witness and Drum magazine photographer, Mike Mzileni, accompanied Uncle Zeph to the Kimberley.

The Bethal Trial named Sobukwe as the chief co-conspirator to overthrow the state. There were 87 other co-conspirators. The interview by journalist, Les Payne, conducted with Sobukwe on 27 November 1976, and re-published in Azania Combat in the January to April 1977 edition, quotes the PAC president saying, “Soweto has been a lesson in overcoming the fear of the gun. Now we too can get the gun, and it appears that confrontation is inevitable.” Sharpeville was a lesson in overcoming the fear of prison.

Towards the end of the trial, Judge J Curlewis mockingly refers to the visit to the Swazi king, Sobhuza, by the PAC’s Acting President after which the Bethal Trial’s named co-conspirators based in Swaziland were arrested. These are Joe Mkhwanazi, Joe Moabi, Pitika Ntuli, Bicca Maseko, Dan Mdluli, and APLA high command members Garson Ndlovu and Enoch Zulu. The Swaziland authorities expelled them from the country after a long spell of detention without trial.

In this essay we try to demonstrate with cold facts how the PAC – led by Uncle Zeph, his co-accused, and co-conspirators – spread its tentacles into the broader society, side by side with mass organisations, sharpening the life and death contradictions with apartheid settler-colonial regime. In return the racist authorities clamped down on the Party and regarded its leadership as enemies of the state. No doubts about it, counter-intelligence forces infiltrated the Party and sowed seeds of division at every level to liquidate the growing influence of the PAC. As a result, there has been a stunted growth of the Party. This setback affected the progress of the struggle, but could not completely stop it. The PAC in present times needs to renew itself and continue with the national mandate of leading the African Revolution. The new generation of Party membership and students of geopolitics would need to access as clear and truthful history of the PAC as possible in order to carry their rich inheritance with them into the future. None should have the excuse to say, we did not know.

By Jaki Seroke
The writer is a strategic management consultant, chairperson of the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI) and a former Secretary for Political Affairs in the PAC (1992-1994).

1. The Bethal Trialists, with their ages in 1978 in brackets, were: 1. Zephania Mothopeng (65) – founder member of the PAC and chairman of the inaugural conference; 2. John Ganya (48) – mineworker and senior cadre of the PAC underground; 3. Mark Shinners (37) – PAC leader and strategist based in Pretoria; 4. Bennie Ntoele (38) – PAC leader and underground operative in Mamelodi; 5. Hamilton Keke (42) – PAC leader in Border area of the Eastern Cape; 6. Sithembele Khala (24) – Orlando West high school delegate at the SSRC and operative of the PAC underground unit; 7. Alfred Ntshalinthsali (47) – Swaziland national and taxi driver; 8. Julius Landingwe (30) – Black consciousness leader and organiser of the National African Youth Organisation; 9. Zolile Ghost Ndindwa (26) – Cape Town based Black Consciousness leader; 10. Moffat Zungu (28) – chief photographer at the World newspaper; 11. Mhlophe Goodwill Moni (24) – student leader in the Western Cape and PAC operative; 12. Jerome Kodisang (26) – APLA guerrilla trained in Uganda, Sudan, Egypt and Libya; 13. Sello Mike Matsobane (36) – PAC leader and founder of the Young African Religious Movement; 14. Johnson Nyathi (32) – long standing PAC operative and Kagiso community leader; 15. Themba Hlatswayo (21) – Chairperson of the SRC in Kagiso and PAC underground operative; 16. Molatlhegi Tlhale (22) – student representative council leader in Kagiso; 17. Rodney Tsholetsane (20) – student leader in Kagiso; and, 18. Daniel Bizza Matsobane (31) – SASO member and adult literacy head at Wilgespruit Fellowship Centre.
2. SAIRR, Security trials 1958 – 1982. Box 4 – Bethal Trial. In the Supreme Court of South Africa, South-Eastern Local Division, 1978.
3. Pogrund, Benjamin. (2000): War of Words – Memoir of a South African Journalist. New York. Seven Stones Press.
4. Hlongwane, Khangela Ali. The Lion of Azania – the Biography of Zephania Lekoane Mothopeng. (Unpublished manuscript)

On the eve of an historic event in South Africa that exploded the myth that Africans would remain slaves of apartheid colonialism forever, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe the Founding President of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania despatched outside apartheid colonial South Africa three members of his PAC National Executive Council (NEC). They were Peter N Raboroko, Peter H Molotsi and Nelson “Nana” Mahomo. These PAC leaders were the first to meet President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana from South Africa. They operated from his country spreading their liberation message throughout the world. Veteran “Nana” Mahomo, then about thirty years of age, was one of the architects of the national campaign called the “Positive Action Campaign.” Its results demonstrate its uniqueness.

The best way to pay my tribute to Veteran Nelson “Nana” Mahomo is call those who witnessed the political events of those days and effects which included 84 PAC supporters who became martyrs in what is now internationally known as “Sharpeville Uprising,” “Sharpeville Day” or what the United Nations called “International Day For The Elimination of Racial Discrimination.” That was as a result of sending out Nelson “Nana” Mahomo and other PAC representatives outside South Africa.

Frantz Fanon author of THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH, writing about the Sharpeville Uprising said, “The seventeen days that shook South Africa, indeed, the entire world from 21st March this year [1960] have forced an irrevocable turn in the history of the country. ….The Pan Africanist Congress actively intervened in their affairs and ushered in a new period, rich in historical perspective and pregnant with political possibilities for the democratic movement…. Sharpeville has become the symbol. It was through it that, men and women in the world became acquainted with the problem of apartheid in South Africa.”

For the first time ever, as a result of the Sharpeville and Langa Uprisings on 21st March 1960, led by Nelson Nana Mahomo’s organisation, the PAC of Azania, the supreme body of the United Nations, in honour of the PAC martyrs who sacrificed their lives on March 21st March 1960 at Sharpeville, Langa, Evaton, Vanderbyl Park and other places in the country, the United Nations General Assembly, through its Resolution 2396 declared March 21st each year, International Day For The Elimination Of Racial Discrimination. This happened because PAC leaders like “Nana” Mahomo had left the comfort of their homes and dedicated themselves to the liberation of their country and humanity.

Dr. Ismail Mohammed, a Mathematics lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand was absolutely correct on political events and the significance of the Sharpeville Uprising when he wrote, “Sharpeville stands out as a turning point in our history. In the aftermath of the Sharpeville Uprising, when the full horrible magnitude of the tyrant became clear, the lines were drawn to determine the destiny of our country.” (The Natal Mercury newspaper 18 March 1981). Veteran Nelson “Nana” Mahomo contributed immensely to this “turning point in the history of our country.”

The United Nations Special Committee was formed as a result of the Sharpeville Uprising of which Nana Mahomo had been one of its architects. The expulsion of South Africa from the United Nations General Assembly was brought about by the PAC representatives at the United Nations of which “Nana” Mahomo had been a founder. The United Nations gave observer status to PAC and ANC as recognised liberation movements from South Africa as a result of the PAC campaign waged with the support of the Organisation of African Organisation. The PAC had prepared a paper pointing out that South Africa was a British colony which Britain had never decolonised. Confirming this fact, Prof. Tom Lodge has written, “In November 1974 PAC lobbyists succeeded in obtaining the expulsion of South Africa from the United Nations General Assembly and in July 1975 the Organisation of African Unity Meeting in Kampala (Uganda), adopted as official policy a long document prepared by the PAC arguing the case for the illegality of South Africa’s status.”

Veteran Mahomo served the liberation of the African people in Azania with remarkable dedication and perseverance. This was despite insults hurled at him by his political opponents. Commenting on the impact of the Sharpeville Uprising for which Nana Mahomo had been despatched outside the country by President Sobukwe, the renowned Prof. Z.K. Matthews of Fort Hare University who was also once the Treasurer-General of the ANC wrote in the IMVO newspaper in 1961: “There have been many groups that broke away from the ANC….None of them survived. The Pan Africanist Congress is an historical exception. It broke away from the ANC and launched the Sharpeville Uprising on 21st March 1960 which had a unique national and international significance and changed the cause of history in this country [South Africa]. It prompted a first visit ever by a United Nations Secretary-General. The PAC launched the most significant movement for South Africa’s international isolation.”

Nana a founder and Secretary for Culture for the Pan Africanist Congress made a tremendous contribution to this isolation internationally. He was part of this “historical exception” and launching of “the most significant movement for South Africa’s international isolation.” In fact, Mahomo’s organisation became the pace setter in the politics of South Africa until Pollsmoor, Victor Vester, CODESA and the involvement of President Bill Clinton of America in the 1994 South Africa elections.(DESPATCH FROM THE WAR ROOM Stanley B. Greenberg pages 126 and 127)

Nana Mahomo’s movement (PAC) was the first to form a military wing in South Africa. This was fifty five years after Chief Bambatha had led the last war of national resistance against British colonialism in 1905. The military wing of the PAC known as POQO/APLA was formed on 11th September 1961. Tom Lodge who was a senior lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa wrote: “The largest and most sustained insurrection in South Africa in modern times was mounted by POQO, the under-ground wing of the outlawed Pan Africanist Congress (PAC)…the persistence of the movement over relatively long time – span and over large geographical area, qualify POQO to lay claim to be being the most sustained insurrection by blacks in modern times…the PAC insurgents were very much more numerous than Umkhonto….In terms of geographical extensiveness, the numbers involved and its time-span, the POQO conspiracies…represent the largest and most sustained African insurrectionary movement since the inception of modern political organisations in South Africa.” Nana Mahomo organised not only scholarships for students from this country who wanted to further their education, but weapons as well for his movement. He envisaged a country rid of greed and alarming economic inequalities. He loved knowledge and desired his people to acquire it on a massive scale in all fields of life.

What of Robben Island Prison? This again brings in Nana Mahomo into an important history. The first political prisoners and some sentenced to life imprisonment in Robben Island were PAC prisoners. The first batch of these freedom fighters were imprisoned on Robben Island on 12th October 1962. Incidentally Mahomo was one of the organisers of books for political prisoners to further their studies in Robben Island Prison. Jafta Masemola is the longest-serving prisoner on Robben Island in the history of South Africa. He was the first and the four others to be sentenced to life imprisonment. This was caused by the military impact of POQO activities. There is no doubt that the world would never have heard of “Robben Island” if the Sharpeville and POQO Uprisings had not happened. Veteran Nana Mahomo and his co-founders of the PAC made this possible. History must be told as it happened and not to suit certain political interests.

One of his lasting legacies which will continue to remind lovers of freedom about Africa’s authentic liberation are Nelson Nana Mahomo’s two widely acclaimed films Phela Ndaba (End of Dialogue) and The Last Grave at Dimbaza and his M.A. Thesis at Massachusetts University on the Pan Africanist Congress. The films were shot secretly right inside apartheid colonial South Africa and smuggled out of the country for information to the outside world. An important thing that characterised Veteran statesman Nelson “Nana” Mahomo was his spirituality. This, he maintained until his departure to eternity on 1st June 2014. He was born in 1930 and 84 years at the time of his death. It is probably his deep spirituality that sustained him against the missiles of all his enemies.

He fought for the liberation where his people would have their standard of living uplifted, where no children would lack money to acquire education and where Africans would have a larger portion of the economy as this vast majority in their country and where finally, there would be equitable redistribution of land as demanded by African kings and by the pioneers of the modern liberation struggle. Yes, it can be said that Nana Mahomo’s vision like that of his President Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe may be delayed. But it shall never be destroyed because it stands for authentic liberation of the majority of the people of this country. Fighters for truth and justice do not die. They remain a dynamo of inspiration and courage, no matter how dark the situation looks.

May The Mahomo Family, his children, his friends and all his Pan Africanist fellow visionaries be reminded and consoled by the fact that: “The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching our goals, but in having no goals to reach. It is not a calamity to die with ideals unfulfilled, but it is a calamity to have no ideals to fulfil. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars. But it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach.” NELSON NANA MAHOMO HAD STARS TO REACH! MAY HIS SPIRIT RISE IN GLORY!

By Dr. Motsoko Pheko
The writer is a historian, political scientist, lawyer, theologian and author of several books such as THE HIDDEN SIDE OF SOUTH AFRICAN POLITICS, THE TRUE HISTORY OF ROBBEN ISLAND MUST BE PRESERVED and 1OO YEARS NATIVE LAND ACT 1913 – Womb of African Poverty And Marikana Massacre.


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