Fighting for dignity and freedom in our lifetime

I am a proud member of the ANC

I am a member of the African National Congress (ANC), and I am proud to be associated with this glorious revolutionary movement.

When I was 15 years old (1982), my late father advised that I go find the ANC as it was the only true representative of the aspirations of the people of South Africa. I had been frustrated by the "Whites only" signs at toilets, bank queues and some shops, where blacks had to buy from the window outside the shops. And schools for whites were much better than the schools I went to.

I joined the ANC with the hope of liberation. I had anger and hatred towards whites and the police. But the ANC comrades that I met, way back in 1983, moved quickly to remove all racial and ethnic thoughts from my mind.

By 1984 I had been exposed to the most advanced thinking about the world we live in. From the various reading materials that were brought to my house by ANC cadres, I understood the primacy of democracy; that the struggle against apartheid was not a gripe against whites as a racial group; that ours was a principled struggle against a system of institutionalised racism.

This became very clear in 1985 when Oliver Tambo commanded that the youth render the country ungovernable, thus making apartheid unworkable.

This is the ANC I joined, this is the ANC I am proud of and honoured to be associated with, the ANC that taught me the principles of non-racialism and non-sexism.

This is the ANC of Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela. This is the ANC that produced Thabo Mbeki. The ANC of Solomon Mahlangu and Bathandwa Ndondo. The ANC that taught us never to betray the masses of our people, the millions of ordinary people – the overwhelming majority of whom are working-class Africans, who, through their daily experiences, struggle and battle against adversities together as comrades in pursuance of the vision of a South Africa that would be a better place for all its people.

Strategies and tactics

At university I got to understand the strategies and tactics of the ANC, the strategic content of which is the total emancipation of the black people in general, and Africans in particular.

I learned the skills of organising communities around their basic needs. The ANC gave me the privilege of participating in the transformation of government, from municipalities to provincial administration. Two years ago, the very same ANC treated me badly. That notwithstanding, I have long been in this organisation and know that it has the capacity for introspection, self-criticism and corrective action.

I know and understand that the ANC was not well prepared to adapt to being a ruling party with control over state machinery and resources, potentially for patronage.

This ANC is now grappling with challenges it never prepared for – the competition for elected positions and government posts, the reality of being an open organisation that draws within its ranks even the most unscrupulous in society. It is such deviant characters that have occupied the driving seat at all levels of the organisation.

But this organisation has survived for 100 years. I have no doubt it will cleanse itself – drawing from its capacity to introspect, self-criticise and take corrective action.

I am a proud member of the ANC. The ANC has a proud history of struggle; my generation will live to reclaim the proud character of this organisation.

As we reach the critical milestone of the ANC centenary, we owe it to the fallen heroes to bring integrity and sacrifice back to this glorious movement of the people of South Africa.

This entry first appeared on the German site SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontratse

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