Dear Mr. Mandela,
It seems, Mr. Mandela you are pleased and content with the current egoistic situation where everything is named after yourself while other freedom fighters are ignored as though they never existed. The African National Congress culture of elevating and hero-worshipping individuals over and above the revolution itself is not revolutionary and is actually tantamount to retrogressive politics of personality cult. Your own contribution to the struggle has been overrated by the ANC and the liberal South African media to the detriment of many revolutionaries who served the masses of our people with distinction.
Revolutionaries worldwide are in agreement that the highest price to pay in a revolution is to sacrifice one’s life. Many people who paid for our liberation with their dear lives have been forgotten and their families left to suffer in abject poverty. Their efforts and sacrifices are insulted by ANC government which continues to oppose reparation lawsuits by victims of apartheid settler colonial regime against colluding multinational companies whereas the elite and petty bourgeois class members of the ANC enjoy the fruits of sacrifices made by martyrs of our struggle for liberation whose families must be adequately compensated.
The ANC government, since your presidency of the country, ironically and unashamedly inherited and is sustaining apartheid settler colonialist war machinery against the African masses. You are busy derecognizing and writing-off history, significant names of freedom fighters while in the same vein keeping and maintaining apartheid monuments, statues and other undesirable symbols.
When a proposal was first made by Africanists members of Ekurhuleni Municipal community to rename Jan Smuts Airport after Robert Sobukwe, it was the ANC which vehemently opposed this suggestion. Three years later the ANC decided to name it OR Tambo International Airport. Another proposal was made by PASMA to rename University of Fort Hare after Robert Sobukwe; again this proposal was rejected by the ANC.
We were extremely exasperated by your decision to accept naming of University of Natal’s Medical School after you, when you have no relationship with the institution. In fact you stole the honour and glory of Steve Biko who studied there and was highly involved in student politics at the university. We expected you to rise above petty party differences, arrogance, self interest, and greed. It would have been responsible for you to humble yourself, advice and pressure the institution to give honour to Steve Biko.
The question that continues to boggle our minds is what sins Sobukwe, Biko, Mothopeng and many other freedom fighters committed against you? It is very cruel and unjust to Sobukwe who was apartheid settler colonial regime No. 1 enemy and who suffered so much torture in the hands of the regime to be subjected to another torture of marginalization in the hands of a government that claims to be representing the interests of the African masses.
In respect of the national anthem which you bastardized, we have a resolute position; we don’t respect it. Every time it is sung anywhere we just walk out. We promise not to ever insult Enoch Sontonga and our forefathers who crafted our only legitimate National Anthem, Nkosi Sikelele I-Africa. It is quite amazing that you are prepared to go all out to appease and honour white settlers to the detriment of freedom fighters and vast majority of the African masses.
CO-AUTHORED BY LINDA NDEBELE (PAYCO SECRETARY GENERAL)
AND BATHO MAKHUBO (A FELLOW AFRICANIST)