31 July is African Heroes Day in the Africanist calendar. This is a day to commemorate and honour the founding fathers and mothers of the African liberation struggle.
Anton Mziwakhe Lembede passed on six decades ago in 1947 at the early age of 33. Lembede was a firebrand youth leader who pioneered the historic 1949 Nation Building programme. It is therefore fitting, as we commemorate the heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle, to pay special tribute to Lembede, who is regarded as the father of Africanism.
At the time when the liberation movement was docile and lacking in direction, it was Lembede and his contemporaries who breathed life into the liberation movement by putting forward a clearly defined Programme of Action which talked to relevant issues of the day – to fight for the freedom of the African masses from settler colonialism. It is this programme that also inspired the formation of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in 1959.