AFRIKA DAY – A PLATFORM TO FIGHT NEOCOLONIALISM
On 25 May 1963, 32 Afrikan countries converged to form the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). At its summit held in Lusaka, Zambia, on May 25 2001, the OAU dissolved to become the African Union (AU).
For more than 50 years, 25 May has been observed and celebrated as Afrika Day in many countries including Azania. The OAU, through its Liberation Committee, supported the Liberation Movements in the Continent as the quest for freedom and independence against colonial rule.
While the OAU provided critical support to other components of the liberation movement in Azania, it sadly refused to recognise the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania (BCMA), the exiled wing of the Black Consciousness Movement, which operated as AZAPO in occupied Azania.
The OAU’s founding fathers, such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Sekou Touré of Guinea and Madibo Keita of Mali, had a vision of a united Afrika free from colonial bondage and imperialist domination.
They believed that Afrika would never be really free until the entire Continent had attained political freedom. The vision for a free Afrika has largely been realised, save for Western Sahara which is still to get its independence from Morocco.
While European settlers had invaded Afrika as early as 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck landed on the Cape, colonialism on the Continent was entrenched in 1845 at the Berlin Conference where European powers decided to cut up Afrika among themselves. The major beneficiaries of this Divide and Rule strategy that saw Afrika being divided in Anglophone and Francophone were Britain and France. Of course, there were other beneficiaries such as Germany and Portugal.
The colonial powers understood that they had a better chance of dominating Afrika if Afrika was divided. Our founding fathers also understood this, and that is why they resolved to form the OAU. They wanted to unite Afrika so that we could stand together against colonialism and imperialism.
Colonialists know that the most effective way of continuing with the plunder of our resources would be to create instability and mayhem in post-colonial Afrika – a political condition that AZAPO generally characterises as neo-colonialism. The invasion of Libya in 2011 is one example of how the colonial powers keep Afrika under-developed. Under the guise of promoting democracy, western countries violently invaded Libya and removed and murdered the leader of the Libyan Revolution Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Today Libya is one of the most unstable countries in the world; creating a conducive environment for the country’s resources to be looted.
As we celebrate Afrika Day, we should pause and reflect on the condition of Afrikans throughout the Continent. We must accept that we are the authors of our own destiny, and that Afrika will only develop to the extent that we ourselves work towards its development. We need to eradicate greed and ignorance that make us to turn against each other and make us easy targets for exploitation by modern day colonisers – imperialists. Put differently, the fighting masses of the Continent need to realise that the struggle against neo-colonialism continues. The Afrikan masses need to unite beyond the artificial borders created by colonialism and strive towards total liberation of the Continent.
As our founding fathers realised, our freedom as Afrikans is intertwined. No single Afrikan country can really be an island of peace and prosperity unless the Continent as a whole enjoys stability and economic progress.
AZAPO ON THE RISE!
As Black Consciousness is enjoying an amazing surge in the activism and discourse of the Azanian masses, AZAPO is experiencing a swell in its ranks with a number of Black people identifying AZAPO as their political home. This migration by Black people towards AZAPO has been driven mainly by their realisation that the ruling party does not have their interests at heart.
Almost every week AZAPO Branches are being formed throughout the country. The mass media does not see this development as newsworthy. Understandably, the Azanian masses may not be aware of this productive development.
On 1 May 2018, the AZAPO Limpopo Province is one of the AZAPO Provinces that held a massive Congress to consolidate this surge in membership and structures. The political benefits derived from the sterling community development work done by BC veterans such as the late Dr Tshehla Hlahla were beginning to show. Dr Hlahla was a peer of yet another late AZAPO veteran Dr Abu Asvat. It is no wonder that Dr Hlahla carried on with AZAPO’s community work of providing free public healthcare to the poor Black people in the villages and the townships.
The newly elected PEC members include veterans like Chairperson Ngoako Moyaha, Deputy Chairperson Noko Mokwele, Secretary Tsoaledi Thobejane, Organiser Tshepo Makgeta, Treasurer Select Mphahlele, Publicity Secretary Mokotedi Radingoana and Projects Coordinator Kedibone Tjale.
The Provinces of the Northern Cape and KwaZulu Natal have also held their own Congresses where a new leadership was elected. These Provinces are Chaired by Cdes Gaopalelwe Motebe and Mfana Nene, respectively.
The common theme in all these three Provincial Congresses is to rebuild AZAPO and position it as the political organisation of choice because AZAPO is not an alternative to other political parties, but it is the truth. It is for that reason that AZAPO has retained its Liberation Movement political character because it is Not Yet Uhuru.
The Land Question came up in all these Congresses. AZAPO is concerned that the Land has now become a chicken in everyone’s pot. It is being used as an electioneering ploy to fool the electorate into voting for political parties that auctioned the Azanian Land to the white settlers, thereby perpetuating their own landlessness.
The immediate challenge of AZAPO is to “take” AZAPO to the people. As it had always done, AZAPO must champion the struggles of the Azanian masses. For AZAPO to govern Azania, it has to be in the villages and townships where our people dwell.
THE TIMELESS RELEVANCE OF BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS
One of the main historical missions of AZAPO is to convert every Black person to be an adherent of Black Consciousness. It may sound like we are political chauvinists, but as we said on this platform before, AZAPO is not an alternative political party. AZAPO is the custodian of the truth. And there is only one truth. Black people, whether they are aware of this reality or not, need Black Consciousness. Period.
Why do we make this bold assertion? We state this statement because it is the truth. The condition of Black people, globally, will tell you that we desperately need BC. You may go to a country whose population is 99% Caucasian, but you will find the menial jobs such as sweeping the streets and collecting rubbish being performed by people of Afrikan origin.
Black people have been the main victims of the worst forms of human’s cruelties to another such as slavery, colonialism, capitalism an imperialism. These successive systems of political oppression and economic exploitation have rendered an average Black person to be a shell; to develop self-doubt and an inferiority complex that renders them completely impotent.
Whereas the concept of “white” is associated with words such as pure, uncontaminated, refined, honourable, upright, moral, righteous, irreproachable and angelic, the word “black” is associated with terms such as polluted, corrupt, immoral, sinful, devilish and barbarism.
Naturally, nobody wants to associate themselves with bad things. This, in part, explains why many Black people aspire to be white. While our definition of beauty is essentially the description of a white person’s features – light-skinned, long hair and pointed nose – the opposite is also true. “Black” is perceived as ugly.
This mentality has done serious damage to many Black people. Many of us have low self-esteem. Many of us have been conditioned to believe that whites are naturally superior to us. That is why we tend to rely on white people to give us jobs; to educate our children; to lead our struggles; to help us with our legal issues; to give us health care and many other things.
It is impossible for Black people to attain self-determination without first exploding the myth of white superiority. BC is the only appropriate antidote to white supremacy and white racism.
BC is also a critical ingredient to build national patriotism and international solidarity. It is BC that will teach Black people that it is only them that can build a country of our dream. BC will teach us to have pride in what we do as public servants; as teachers in public schools; as nurses in public hospitals; as doctors in our own practices; as lawyers; as engineers and as any professional.
BC is the theory and practice that will convince Black people that we are not chickens, but eagles that should fly high.
WALKING OUT ON RUGBY RACISM
Rainbow hypocrites are still calling for calm and investigation before “blowing out of proportion” the walking out on a live SuperSport TV rugby programme by former Springbok star and rugby analyst Ashwin Willemse after protesting against his white colleagues Nick Mallet and Naas Botha that he would not be “patronised by two individuals who played rugby in an apartheid, segregated era”.
The former Black Springbok Willemse protested against being referred to as a “quota player”, a term abused to undermine Black rugby players who made it to the “whites only” Springbok team. The connotation by white racists is that such a Black player would not have been selected on merit, but on a political scheme basis.
The first irony is that these white players forget that they were selected ahead of Black players due to the apartheid-created white quotas. In a sense, white players are quota players. The second irony is that most of these apartheid privileged white players, who enjoyed structural advantages like access to heavily state funded education and rugby infrastructure and facilities right from kindergarten, were no match to the naturally talented Black players from landless and colonised background like Peter Mkhatha, Norman Xhoxho, Themba Ludwaba, Zola Yeye and many others.
Racism could not suppress the organic talents and indomitable spirit of the Black athletes who were determined, despite the constraints, to make a political statement that they too were human beings who could do anything that was doable by fellow human beings.
To be sure, when it comes to an allegation of racism, which is an institutionalised crime against Black people, in AZAPO’s court a racist has to be guilty until proven innocent.
Thando Manana, a highly talented former Springbok star who endured racism and humiliation during his shortened stint with the Springboks, ended up writing a book titled Being a Black Springbok: The Story of Thando Manana. In an interview with Sport24 (27 October 2017), Manana details his story:
“I felt it was a must to tell my story in order to seek to inspire players who came before and after me… When you open your lips and voice an opinion you are seen as different. That is what stopped me from playing more times for the green and gold. But at least I spoke up for a cause which I believe was the right one. I took the fall, but for the right reasons. I spoke up because I love the game and wanted a player from the location to get the same respect and opportunity as one that hails from an affluent school with a rich rugby history… I could have stuck it out, but I decided to be the one that called for change so that black players can be looked at in the same vein as their white counterparts.”
Granted this background, AZAPO calls on SuperSport to take Mallet and Botha off the screen until the matter is properly addressed. Otherwise, Black subscribers should walk out on MultiChoice.
To read and print in pdf format, please click this link AZAPO Voice Volume 1 Issue 13