There is this hullabaloo around the twentieth anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison which falls on the 11th February. The media, which created this hue and cry in the first place, is abuzz with the news of this anniversary.
The South African media’s portraying of Mandela as the only person who fought for our liberation and whose release from prison is the only occasion to be celebrated is fundamentally objectionable. And I equally disapprove of the Pan Africanist Congress’s leadership, members and followers to let the South African media appropriate the glorious history of the PAC and bestow it on the ANC and Nelson Mandela and relegate Robert Sobukwe, Zeph Mothopeng and Japhta Masemola to the dust bin of history and to the margins of South Africa’s fight for liberation.
Let us get some facts straight. After the proscription of the PAC and ANC in April 1960, the first political prisoners on Robben Island were from the PAC and included Japhta Masemola. When the Rivonia trialists like Mandela, Walter Sisulu and others arrived on Robben Island in 1964, Masemola and other PAC members had already been on Robben Island for two years.
Mandela was released from Robben Island after 18 years and Masemola was released after 26 years. Masemola spent 9 of those 26 years in solitary confinement because some of the ANC prisoners had told white prison authorities that Masemola had designed a master key that could open all the prison doors. These facts are suppressed in the South African media. That is why the South African media, which is sucking up to the ANC, won’t push for the celebration of the release of Masemola because the betrayal of Masemola may be exposed. When Masemola was betrayed, Mandela was still on Robben Island.