THE IMPORTANCE AND RELEVANCE OF KEY PAC CALENDAR DATES!

AFRICA DAY -               Source: www.himajina.blogspot

AFRICA DAY – Source: www.himajina.blogspot.com

INTRODUCTION……

The PAC must be seen to be active throughout the year; and to make this possible, PAC structures must make use of the calendar dates that mark some of the key events relating to past party activities, campaigns and memorials of the life of its leaders. The following are some of the important landmarks in the life of the PAC from its inception to date.

THE STATUS CAMPAIGN (Launched 2 August 1959)……

This was the first PAC campaign at its inception that focused on the mental and psychological state of the African people. At that time Africans were not only politically subjugated and economically exploited but they were also mentally and psychologically subjugated. It is important that we remember this campaign at the beginning of every year so that we gear ourselves for the whole year.

That is why Sobukwe observed that: “now for over three hundred years, the white foreign ruling minority has used its power to inculcate in the African the feeling of inferiority. This group has educated the African to accept the status quo of white supremacy and Black inferiority as normal”. It is our task to exorcise this slave mentality and to impart to the African masses that sense of self-reliance which will make them choose ’to starve in freedom rather than have plenty in bondage.’ We are reminding our people that acceptance of any indignity, any insult, any humiliation, is acceptance of inferiority. They must first think of themselves as men and women before they can demand to be treated as such. The campaign will free the mind of the African – and once the mind is free, the body will soon be free. Once white supremacy has become mentally untenable to our people, it will become physically untenable too – and will go.”

Briefly these are the core ideas of the status campaign which was all-embracing, multi-frontal and multi-faceted and covered the ideological, political, economic, social and cultural aspects of the lives of the African majority. This campaign is still valid. Its main thrust should be to expose the current false consciousness prevalent in the masses of the poor in our communities urban and rural and replace it with a true consciousness that is a reflection of the material conditions of the masses of the poorest of the poor, the have-nots and the dispossessed in our country. It is this campaign that fired the youth of the 1960s that became Poqo militants who carried the struggle forward under new conditions of armed conflict whilst our leaders were in prison.

SOBUKWE DAY (27 February)……

This is the day (27 February 1978) on which the PAC lost its great founder leader; a man of great intellect; a man of courage; a fearlessness man; a man with a purpose, mission, commitment, dedication and feared by the white minority oppressors who ensured that he died of torture and pain. The loss of Sobukwe resulted in the PAC losing direction and effectiveness. The PAC has since been in the wilderness and not making impact in the politics of this country despite its liberation struggle credentials. It is time the dignity of Sobukwe is restored and this will happen the day the PAC reorganizes itself and produce a credible leadership.

SHARPEVILLE DAY (21 March)……

21 March 1960 is the day that ended non-violence and passive resistance as a method of struggle and philosophy in the struggle in South Africa. In fact Mahatma Gandhi left with the latter to India where it was applicable. Sharpeville and Langa Massacres ushered in the new era of armed struggle that saw the emergence of Poqo – the forerunner of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA). It is this method of struggle combined with mass struggles inside the country and external support that finally brought political freedom to South Africa which has yet to be complimented by economic liberation hence the unfinished business and the cry ‘NOT YET UHURU’.

PAC ANNIVERSARY (6 April)……

The 6th April 1959 marks the day on which the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania was formed/ founded. It is coincidentally the day the first Dutch colonialists arrived (6 April 1652) on the shores of the tip of the African continent in three ships: the dromedaries, the Goode Hoop and the Reiger. On this day was launched the ship of freedom of the African people. Sobukwe stated that, “on that historic day the African people declared total war against white domination, not only in South Africa but throughout the continent. On that day there entered into the Maelstrom of South African politics an organization committed to the overthrow of white supremacy and the establishment of an Africanist Socialist Democracy”. The President of the PAC also rejected what is called “South African Exceptionalism” because for the PAC South Africa is an integral part of the African continent and the outcome of the scramble for Africa and the division and re-division of Africa among the imperial powers following the Berlin congress of 1884-85.

JAFTA KGALABI MASEMOLA DAY (17 April)……

This day marks the tragic death (on 17 April 1990) of Jafta Kgalabi Masemola – The Tiger of Azania. He died in a mysterious car crash. The truck that crashed his car/beetle disappeared from the scene of the accident. No one ever reported or handed himself over to the nearest police station from where the accident occurred. This has appeared as a hit and run and yet we are aware of the programme of the system at the time. For us this was politically motivated assassination. When he was released from prison Jafta did not wait to be made a leader because he was a leader in his own right. He immediately plunged into intensive political activity that took him all over the country reviving and organizing PAC structures.

Jafta was hated and feared by the system because of his uncompromising revolutionary attitude and position both in prison and outside prison. His death was a devastating blow and great loss for the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania and his family who had missed him for over 26 years while incarcerated on Robben Island and other apartheid prisons. In celebrating him, we also need to emulate him as he remains a clear example of a tireless, relentless organizer and uncompromising leader.

WORKERS’ DAY (1 May)……

On this day we join rural and urban workers of this country who have waged heroic struggles against exploitation under white minority domination during slavery and apartheid colonialism. They continue these struggles in the conditions of capitalist exploitation under the new form of imperialism known as globalization – domination by transnational corporations of the industrialized and developed countries of the North supported by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to impose a political and economic system that facilitates the continued plundering of the resources of African countries which are encouraged to remain fragmented.

AFRICA DAY (25 May)……

On this day (25 May 1963), which is being celebrated today, African leaders of all independent and sovereign states which included Ethiopia and Liberia which were not colonized came together in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They were hosted by Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, the Kings of kings and the lion of Judah. Presidents, Prime ministers and other kings met to unite Africa and plan the liberation of the countries still under colonial and white minority rule on the continent including the Islands and Archipelagoes around Africa. It was here that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the President of Ghana came with the idea of the United States of Africa. He proposed that Africa must unite at that time and establish a centrally administered government. He also suggested the creation of an African High Command to protect Africa from external threats and interference, one African bank and African currency. These ideas did not go down well with a section of African leaders at the time. These leaders were regarded as moderates who preferred and continue to prefer fragmentation and the perpetuation of the colonial created sovereign states which are easy preys to imperialism or foreign control of these leaders who are agents of neo-colonialism -facilitators of the plundering of the resources of the continent for the benefit of the developed and industrialized countries of the North and Japan under the cloak of globalization or global markets. It is important that we observe this day to highlight these factors and the plight of the African masses on the continent and continue to call for the creation of the United States of Africa, regionally or sub-regionally (within SADC, ECOWAS, EAC, etc) until this goal is achieved. Like the liberation of Africa, the unity of Africa will be achieved by Africans themselves because the liberation of Africa lies in her unity or the United States of Africa from Cape to Cairo, Madagascar to Morocco.

SOWETO STUDENTS’ UPRISINGS (16 June)……

On this day (June 16, 1976) we remember the thousands of school children who courageously and fearlessly rose against the system of apartheid when they rejected the imposition of Afrikaans as medium of instruction in African schools. We remember the sacrifices they made when they faced the might of the South African racist police and soldiers with bare hands and dustbin covers; and in the process many were killed, many maimed for life, some unaccounted for to this day; many others forced into exile and only to return to the country ready to face the oppressors at their game. We remember this day to honour these young men and women who dared and changed the struggle qualitatively by intensifying the struggle on all fronts with armed struggle as the principal method of struggle that eventually triumphed when the first democratic elections were held on the 27 April 1994.

JOHN NYATI POKELA DAY (30 June)……

He became chairman of the PAC Central Committee and leader of the PAC in exile in 1981. The PAC had been going through serious crises that had dented its image and paralysed its effectiveness. He was received with enthusiasm and renewed commitment by all PAC members in exile because of his credibility and the inspiring leadership he provided. He restored confidence, pride, hope and unity in the ranks. He defined his mission as follows: “To unite all loyal members of the PAC here abroad and to reorganise the Part; to establish a permanent link between the External Mission and the home base; to re-orientate the party external wing membership homeward; and to implement the home going programme in its political and military aspects – in other words to intensify armed struggle and mass struggles in occupied Azania.

But unfortunately Pokela would not see the accomplishment or fulfillment of his mission because his life was cut short on 30 June 1985 when he suddenly collapsed and died in Harare, Zimbabwe after visiting Botswana. His remains have yet to be brought home; a serious indictment against PAC leadership and its cadres.

HEROES’ DAY (31 July)……

This day was initiated a month after the adoption of the Kliptown Charter in June 1955 (so called Freedom Charter) when “the Africanists staged a memorial service to Anton Lembede and used this occasion to honour the heroes of the African past”. This day is observed by the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania as “Heroes’ Day’ and celebrated every year to remember those men and women who served, sacrificed and suffered for the liberation of this country and the continent.

WOMEN’S DAY (9 August)……

We celebrate this day in solidarity with the women counterparts in their struggle for equality and justice in this country. It will be remembered how on this day, 9 August 1956, 20 000 women of this country challenged the oppressive, repressive and white supremacist regime and marched on the Union Buildings to protest the carrying of the passbook or ‘Dopass’ by African women.

APLA DAY (11 September)……

This day (11 September 1961) marks the birth of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) initially known as Poqo. Poqo heralded the dawn of a new era – the era of armed conflict. Armed struggle became a necessity when the state of emergency was declared on 30 March 1960 followed by the banning of PAC on 8 April 1960 and this closed all peaceful avenues of struggle. The liberation movement had no choice but to respond to reactionary violence with revolutionary violence in waging guerilla warfare in the form of a people’s war that eventually forced the racist minority to plead for a negotiated settlement before the war had reached the third phase of strategic offensive.

HERITAGE DAY (24 September)……

Let us observe this day with the entire nation to celebrate the heritage of our country and people. This day should remind us of who we are, where we come from, how we came to be where we are and where we are going as a people. We should know our heritage as a people of this continent of Africa and this heritage is our land which is God given and not a commodity to be exchanged like any product of labour.

MOTHOPENG DAY (23 October)……

On this day (23 October 1990) Zephania Mothopeng – ‘The Lion of Azania’ gave in to long and painful struggle for life. This was a sad day and a great loss for his family and the PAC who had never enjoyed his company for the many years he has lived because he was either in and out of prison, under restriction or banished or under house arrest or on the way mobilizing the masses for the cause of national liberation. We celebrate this day to remember the sterling work he did after Sharpeville and in the period leading to the SOWETO students’ uprisings. His consistent and courageous involvement in the struggle of the masses made him the indisputable successor to the Great Mangaliso Sobukwe, the first President of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania.

Finally, let us use every other opportunity to promote the PAC and its leaders and not blame others for what is our responsibility or duty as genuine and committed members of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC). Let us be there at all times and on time.

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.