We are gathered here today to remember, honour and celebrate the life of a man whose death has left not only sorrow, grief and nostalgia but also in disarray, confusion, disorganization and lack of leadership or direction in the ranks of the PAC. For 32 years now members of the PAC have been looking for a leader who does not exist but who only exists in their minds and wishful thinking. The Party has experienced endemic and continuous crises that have led to the scattering, drifting away, marginalization and loss of some of its best cadres through disappointment, despondent, despair, tiredness, demoralization, de-motivation but also because of opportunism and corruptibility by a few others who were not prepared to leave the ‘gravy train’ pass by while there was time as this is seen as the phase or era of benefits. Sobukwe and many others who did not see 1994 toiled for no benefits and some who lived to see 1994 have yet to enjoy the fruits of freedom or liberation.

Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe Remembered. (Source: Graaff-Reinet Publicity Association)

At the time we remember, honour and celebrate this great man, the party he founded and led briefly has lost shape, identity and soul. It is unrecognizable because it is neither heard nor visible; its voice has been deliberately and systematically stifled and choked by those who fear the truth and their puppets and agents who are aiding and abetting in the destruction of this Party of the African masses. The space of the party of Sobukwe is occupied by those who pay lip service to the interests and aspirations of the masses of the poor and have-nots who have yet to enjoy the fruits of the freedom they and their children sacrificed and suffered for. Their material conditions have yet to change radically 15 years since national freedom was attained in April 1994. They continue to live in abject poverty and squalor and ravaged by HIV/AIDES, tuberculosis and many other common diseases. The majority are still illiterate, semi-literate and ignorant in this era of information technology and globalization.

The unchanged situation is characterized by socio-economic inequalities and disparities that obtained during the apartheid era and have been carried forward into new South Africa and are perpetuated and sustained by the new African political, bureaucratic and business elites in partnership with the apartheid elites and this is what constitutes neo-colonialism known as new South Africa or the Rainbow nation buttressed by reconciliation without justice. This is the Mandela and Tutu order which has meant the maintenance and perpetuation of the apartheid status quo or the apartheid property relations buttressed by the most liberal constitution that does not serve the interests and aspirations of the masses of the African people who are crying for leadership as they did prior to the Sharpeville and Langa Massacres.

For instance “the Africanists take the view that there is only one race to which we all belong, that is, the human race”. This is a powerful policy position or statement that has stood the test of time and still valid in a society prone to slipping back into racial attitude and behaviour by elements that have yet to accept that majority rule is here to stay. In pursuit of this vision, the struggle must be intensified to ensure that the majority downtrodden and poor are brought to the same level as other national and racial groups in this country.

In relation to the concept of one race, Sobukwe made it clear that “Africanists guarantee no minority rights because we are fighting group exclusiveness which those who plead for minority rights would like to perpetuate. It is our view that if we have guaranteed individual liberties, we have given the highest guarantee necessary and possible”. This is how Sobukwe understood and interpreted the resolution of the National Question, that is, the elimination of social, racial and national inequalities in South Africa.

Sobukwe stood for and believed in a planed economy because this will facilitate the most equitable distribution of wealth. This will not only tackle socio-economic inequalities but it will also deal with unequal development of the country and people. He understood that the market forces of the free market economy will not do justice to the just allocation of resources in our society. It is for this reason that he also rejected the exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few. To achieve equitable distribution of wealth, the starting-point for Sobukwe is ‘equality of income’ which will create equal opportunities or equal access.

Sobukwe was an Africanist and Pan Africanist at the core. He did not only espouse these concepts and ideals but he also believed in them. His commitment to these concepts and ideals verged on religious belief. He loved the African people and the African continent. Like Kwame Nkrumah he was committed to the immediate unification of Africa with a centrally controlled government. He also believed in the surrendering of power to the central authority of the Union or the United States of Africa stretching from Cape to Cairo, Madagascar to Morocco.

The other option would be the creation of the Federation of Southern African States in the SADC states as a step towards the formation of the United States of Africa. The same would apply in the states of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), East African Community (EAC) and other sub-regions. This process must eventually lead to the obliteration of existing colonial-created boundaries and the so-called nation states or state nations. The achievement of this goal will end the fragmentation of Africa’s mineral resources, energy resources, human resources, etc. This will ensure that Africa speaks and negotiates with one voice at all international forums. This is the Africa Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe envisaged.

By Molefe Ike Mafole
(Mafole is a founder member, political activist, former international representative,  Senior leader of the PAC and a member of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army Military Veterans Association (APLA MVA). He delivered this address on Saturday February 27th, 2010 at the Ethiopian Church, Pimville Zone 1, Soweto, on the occasion of the 32nd Anniversary of Sobukwe’s death)



  1. Forward Sons and Daughters of Afrika! Afrika needs its Revolution, the pan-Afrikanism, the West so fears. Afrika owes the West nothing, it is the West that owes Afrika. This is a great article. I was at the centre of the “troubles” of the 1960s in Cape Town and Transkei and lost over 50 comrades to the hangman; how I think can be seen from Preambles of the Prevention of Discrimination & Promotion of Equality Bill and that of the Equality Act. Impromptu speech!

  2. When Tebogo Matime was doing the show that is being done by Siki Mgabadeli he promised me on air that he would read a book about Sobukwe just like SAFM read books by and about other people. Matima is no longer doing that show. However, the show is still there. Let us flood the SABC with emails, faxes, phone calls to remind them to read Benjamim Pogrund’s book How Can Man Die Better like the did with other books like Native Nostalgia. We must remind them that they are a public broadcaster. Let us face it, Elizabeth Windsor (the Queen of England) doesn’t give a damn about President Jacob Zuma. So why was he invited to Buckingham Palace? You guessed it right – to be given instructions to behave like an obedient servant of Western Imperialism.

  3. Just yesterday I wrote on Mayihlome that President Jacob Zuma was in Britain to ensure Western Imperialists that he would become their obedient servant. Today on the SABC Morning Live television news broadcast Zuma said South African law doesn’t allow for nationalisation of mineral resources and there was no discussion of natiomalisation in the ruling ANC. He then contradicted himself by saying this country’s natural resources belong to the people of this country and are therefore the country’s our national heritage. I am not a prophet it is just that members of the ANC and its tripartite alliance are predictable. Moreover, great African leaders like Sobukwe foretold the calamity into which the betrayers in the ANC are going to lead us. That is why they don’t want to talk about him, that is why they would rather the public should not know about this intrepid freedom fighter and intellectual giant.

  4. In my last comment I wrote that President Zuma ‘ensured’ western imperialists instead of writing ‘assured western imperialists that he would be their obedient servant. When I suggested that SABC radio read Benjamin Pogrund’s book, How Can Man Die Better, I am not oblivious of the shortcomings in the book such as Pogrund bringing into sharp focus the story of the PAC the organisation for which Sobukwe gave his life and the fact that on Robben Island conditions were bad and that PAC members were treated harsher than those of the ANC. I have already mentioned in Mayihlome that Japhta Masemola spent 9 years in solitary confinement. Johnson Mlambo was buried up to the neck in a dug up hole and white warders urinated on his head. It is upon us to tell that story. Although Pogrund was a close friend of Sobukwe, as a white person he has prejudices against the PAC just like the majority of white people. Which brings us to the role of the current PAC leadership and members to grow the membership of the PAC to become a formidable organisation instead of engaging in petty squabbles and factionalism. The ANC and the imperialist world are dead set to destroy the PAC through many ways including using state organs like NIA and the IEC and amassing money to perpetuate itself in power through a fund-raising outfit called Chancellor House which has a stake in a Japanese company known as Hitachi which won billions of rands in a tender to supply Eskom with generators. Has the PAC leadership condemned this blatant conflict of interest exercise?There is also the US’s High-frequency Active Auroral Research Programme (HAARP) which US Air Force documents revealed that it has been developed for manipulating and disturbing human mental processes through pulsed radio-frequency radiation over large geographical areas. There could be negative effects on human health and thinking. The mental-disturbing possibilities for HAARP are the most disturbing. Could this programme have been used to influence the South African human cattle to vote for the corrupt and good-for-nothing ANC coupled with rigging elections? Students of science should look into this new technology which has also been used to generate earthquakes such as the one that hit Haity, Venezuela, Honduras and Chile. That technology exists and uses plasma, tesla technology and shock wave bombs. When I write to South African newspapers that Haiti was hit by a man-made earthquake, they rejected my articles. They waste an inordinate amount of time bombarding us with chaff about Nelson Mandela and other irrelevant stuff instead of educating us about issues of interest to us.

  5. In the comment posted earlier today in the sentence where I wrote about Pogrund’s shortcomings, I omitted the word ‘failure’. The sentence should read, “I am not oblivious of the shortcomings in the book such as Pogrund’s failure to bring into sharp focus the story of the PAC…”

  6. Winnie Madikizela Mandela confirmed in an interview with a British newspaper, the Evening Standard what PAC leaders like Zephania Mothopeng and Japhta Masemola said before that Nelson Mandela has sold out Africans. Sobukwe was prophetic and incisive when in 1948 addressing nurses who had completed their studies said: “Watch our movements keenly and if you see any signs of ‘broadmindedness’ or ‘reasonableness’ in us, or if you hear us talk of practical experience as a modifier of man’s views, denounce us as traitors to Africa”. This describes exactly what Mandela did. Let us denounce Nelson Mandela and the ANC as traitors to Africa.

  7. I have met and been interviewed by many of the journalists of the past decades preceding South Africa’s first “Free Elections”. And No, I did not spend any time with the “enlightened” Liberals of South Africa – for I saw them as being privileged – able to afford to be outspoken … to a point. I went through the revolutionary paths of BPC (BCM) SASO, ANC and PAC and so had a first hand experience of being “in the trenches”.

    Three years in detention – some of it in solitary confinement ensured that I would not/could not ever be anything different from what I became during those accumulative years of being in “The Struggle”.

    South African Elections – 1994: It is obvious (expected) that many compromises were entered into was pretty obvious. FW de Klerk was no “enlightened” soul and knew what he was doing – and for who’s ultimate benefit.

    Madiba – just like Obama have spent so much time dwelling on compromise and conciliation – afraid to rock the boat … not progress.

    During my first stint in exile (Lesotho) I was elected as Secretary of the Refugee Committee where the “collective” membership comprised of ANC and PAC cadré’s. I thus got to get a much better feel as to who my fellow revolutionaries were and came to respect Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe all the more.

    For me: We may have won the Elections but have failed miserably in the path of creating empowerment to the masses … for they still remain as far from viewing the New South Africa – the “Rainbow Nation” … as it is absent …


  8. I wish to know that people like Steve Biko,Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe are their Souls rest in Peace while the land of African People still in the hands of white afrikaner minorty?

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