AZAPO EXISTS TO RESTORE THE DIGNITY OF BLACK PEOPLE
The primary mission for the existence of AZAPO is to restore the dignity of the Black person. When European settlers arrived on our shores in April 1652 as part of the global colonial project, they started a systematic process of dispossessing our forebears of land and livestock. But perhaps more damaging, the settlers waged a psychological warfare of cultural imperialism, essentially rendering everything Afrikan as backward and evil, and replacing these values with those of Europe, including the European version of religion in general and Christianity in particular.
Through various tools of subjugation, including education and religion, Black people were made to accept a second class status. White people became part of the ruling class and Black people became the dominated class, which had no access to land, wealth and other means of production. The white man became the “Baas” by virtue of his skin colour and the Black person became a servant, also by virtue of skin pigmentation.
In some parts of the country, our forefathers fought against the European invaders. Afrikan warriors such as Dingane, Makhado and Cetshwayo won some battles against the settler forces. But the war in general was lost, and the land was taken by the colonisers, many of whom settled permanently in our country. Hence the unique phenomenon of settler-colonialism.
Throughout the occupation of Azania by the settlers, the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor was the mind of the oppressed. For as long as the oppressed believed that they are weak, powerless and had no chance to defeat the settlers, the oppression of the Black people and their status of a landless people would continue. In fact, it continued for a very long time and there are still non-white people who are still so mentally oppressed that they have no confidence in the ability of Black people to run the country effectively.
The challenge of AZAPO is to first make Black people accept that they are not inferior to anybody, and that they deserve to be free. They deserve to own land. They deserve to live in decent houses. They deserve to have access to quality basic services such as water, electricity and a good environment. In other words, the historic mission of AZAPO is to trigger the conscience of Black people to demand the dignity of Black people as a collective.
If Black people continue to live in shacks; if they continue to compete for water with animals in polluted rivers; if Black people continue to lack basic facilities such as a toilet; if they continue to live without owning the land, their dignity as a people is undermined.
24 years after the dawn of democracy, what is the role of AZAPO today? What does AZAPO say when coalitions fall and others rise in the metros? AZAPO has no option but to remain principled and state the truth. The truth is that the 1994 CODESA deal was a sell-out settlement. The deal delivered only a fraction of the objective of the liberation struggle – the right to vote. But the deal failed on the substance of the objectives of the struggle – the Repossession of the Land and the redistribution of wealth.
So, whether the DA-led coalition is replaced by the ANC-led coalition in the Nelson Mandela Bay, in reality the condition of Black people will not change. Black people will continue to stage protest marches to demand services, to demand jobs, to demand land because the CODESA has pre-determined that system that ensured that the preservation of white privileges will remain intact. Whether one is in Tshwane or eThekwini, or in Cape Town, it will exclusively be the Black people who are marching for jobs and services. We were given a raw deal as Black people.
The situation looks hopeless. As AZAPO, we offer the Black Consciousness philosophy as a panacea for these ills. A politician or a mayor baptised in BC will respect themselves and respect Black people enough to give them services that they deserve.
The voters who understand BC will know that they are the masters of their own destiny, and that they alone have the power to change their lives. They will know that those who are in office are there for as long as the voters have prescribed. Voters who have embraced BC will have self-respect, and they will reject politicians who abuse state resources through corruption.
That is why after all is said and done, as AZAPO, our mission must remain a quest to restore the dignity of the Black people. When Black people have restored their dignity, they will not be vulnerable and be used as pawns in political games of greedy and unscrupulous politicians.
LAND REPOSSESSION IS THE PRIMARY OBJECTIVE OF THE AZANIAN REVOLUTION
“The UK has for some time now supported land reform. Land reform that is legal, that is transparent, that is generated through a democratic process. It’s an issue that I raised and discussed with President Ramaphosa when he was in London earlier this year”. This is what the British Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters on her visit to South Africa this week.
AZAPO wonders what assurances President Ramaphosa gave to May and Britain, which makes them to be so uncharacteristically supportive of the proposed government land reform. Britain is the same country that summoned its imperialist evil to destroy the economy of Zimbabwe for daring to repossess its farms and placing them in the ownership of indigenous Zimbabweans. If that same Britain supports the government land reform, it stands to reason that that land reform falls short of the Land Repossession that Steve Biko and millions of Azanians died for.
The Black Consciousness Movement has been saying this for the past 50 years; but there is no harm repeating it. AZAPO is not fighting for the Expropriation of Land Without Compensation. Our struggle is primarily about the Repossession of the Land. That is what we fought and died for; and we continue to die for the Land Reconquest.
Expropriation of Land Without Compensation is not a legal process that is not worth dying for. AZAPO knows this because the elaborate 1993 AZAPO Economic Policy document spelled it out that the Expropriation of Land Without Expropriation is nothing more than a gradual Strategy to legally take property that is certified to belong to some owner. In that “ancient” document, AZAPO embraced the Strategy of Expropriation of Land Without Compensation as a parallel process to the continuing overall struggle for Land Repossession.
The Parliamentary version of Expropriation of Land Without Compensation is far tame than the one of AZAPO. The Parliamentarians are talking about a land reform that will not disrupt economic growth and food security. It is for that reason that they target only the so-called unused land to the exclusion of commercial farms and industrial land.
Foremost in AZAPO’s Land Dictionary are the terms of Land Repossession and Land Reconquest.
LET US RESTORE BLACK ECONOMIC CONTROL
Once more violence has erupted in the Black community after Afrophobic messages have been circulating on social media inciting Azanians to close down the shops of fellow Afrikans from other countries. The message claimed that “South Africans are tired of Somalians and Pakistanis” who are “killing our Families, Friends, and even our new babies with their imitation (fake) food and expired food”. The instigation went on and claimed that our fellow Afrikans take “more than 50 billion every year… to their countries”.
The worst part was that the Afrophobic instigation blamed all the suffering of Black people in Azania on our fellow Afrikans.
There is no evidence that the police did anything to deal with the originators of these Afrophobic messages despite the fact that the violence that usually ended up with the loss of lives and displacement of thousands of fellow Afrikans usually start that way.
If Black people in Azania are made to mete out violence against fellow Afrikans allegedly because they take “more than 50 Billion” to their countries, who cares to tell us how much money and wealth is taken to Europe by the multinational companies? Are the Afrophobic elements going to evict these European companies and unleash violence on European immigrants? Never! White racism has conditioned these Afrophobic elements not to even think about that possibility.
Can it be true that the poverty and suffering of Black people is caused by fellow Afrikans? White racism implants self-blame in its victims. That is why the Afrophobic mob will rather blame other Black people for their suffering. Yet fellow Afrikans did not dispossess us of our land. Nor did they colonise us and continually steal our minerals and wealth.
As a matter of fact, it is true that there are counterfeit food products that are stocked in the township and village shops. But the police have confirmed that even some shops of the locals do stock those fake products. Accordingly, AZAPO condemns the lack of protection of the Black community by the government when it comes to unhygienic and toxic food products manufactured illegally by the underworld.
This dangerous and fraudulent activity has been happening for years under the nose of government despite whistleblowing by the Black consumers. This lack of protection and support by government extends to the destruction of township and village supermarkets and spaza shops by the encroaching Malls run by big and white businesses.
It is a known fact that many of the food products stocked in the Malls located in the townships and villages are not only below standard but also endanger the lives of Black consumers. It is mainly in these Malls and chain stores that the unhygienic American poultry is stocked and sold. What is worse are allegations that some of these unscrupulous shop owners are tempering with expiry dates on their expired products. AZAPO calls on the Department of Health to start prioritising the health and nutrition of Black consumers, and to regularly visit and inspect the stores wherein Black people spend their hard-earned salaries.
AZAPO therefore supports the local residents for standing up to restore their control of the local economy. AZAPO insists that the fight should primarily be directed against the encroaching Malls in which Black business must have a bigger stake. AZAPO insists that the fight for Black Economic Control should be directed at the Malls and ownership of industrial factories and commercial farms.
To print and read the pdf version, please click here ⇒ AZAPO Voice Volume 1 Issue Number 27
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