About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Towards Freedom

One of the first observable stages in man's development and in his gaining a modicum of freedom was man's movement away from animal characteristics towards assuming all the characteristics of a human being. Of further significance to our observation is that no culture or humanity is ever static. Thus, there is always in everything a perpetual state of transformation, motion and change. Where no change is permitted, atrophy and death set in. Likewise, nothing ever disappears without a trace in the sense that it gives rise to absolutely nothing that exists in later times. In the course of man's development we find that human beings have been collectively engaged in a perpetual struggle to master their environment and, in the process, they create a social environment that is the germ for and nucleus of what we term humanity. And it is indeed this that distinguishes man from other animals.

There has been significant growth in man's development. Hence a relatively high level of culture has been attained. We see a marked qualitative change in man's power of thinking and capacity to take action. This is accompanied by a progressive development of social organisations possessing forms of communication endowed with speech.

Another thread in man's story is that like all other animals, he initially depended entirely on nature. He collected ready food, along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates or in the vast forests of tropical Africa, he sought shelter in the caves or in the branches of trees and he clothed himself with what nature provided. His whole life was one of adapting to nature. Man then, was at the mercy of nature, hemmed in, stupefied by his own ignorance and puzzled by the vastness and diversity of nature.

However, a decisive turning point was reached as man continued to falter, gaining experience and skills, on the day man was able to reconcile his speech and the fruits of his collective labour. Both achievements constituted a collective contribution of a collective heritage. These two achievements are at the heart of society. As a result of this achievement, man's range of activities diversified and multiplied. He was able to leave behind that passive stage of mere adaptation to nature and to begin to move positively to conquer nature and tame it, such that it ministered to his own need. A positive social environment became a reality.

In this environment man acquired two attributes: that of being physically able to change nature and that of categoric conversion of things material and non-material. With these two weapons the sky was the limit to what man could achieve. Man proceeded on his tortuous way to transform himself and nature.

At this point we can look back into the distant past and say that the level human beings have reached is at a supreme stage in specific qualitative terms of man's evolution. It is a stage at which man is capable of achieving his freedom, which is the birthright of humanity as a unit, and as a whole. And we can now safely remark that language, work and humanity have no colour and no prejudices. Up to this point no man dominated another, no man colonised the country of another, no man treated another as a commodity, no man discriminated against another on the basis of colour, and none was dehumanised or cheated.

Some writers say that, as man became aware of himself not merely as a species but as an individual distinct from others and possessing a free will and his own personal destiny, man began to open up two divergent paths - the one distinctively individualistic, and the other positively collectivist. These constituted two linear times running concurrently at different speeds. Thus it is said that, as man left the cyclic period, he found himself torn between, on the one hand, his own rapid individual becoming and, on the other, the slow growth of society. Here, then, we discover for the first time two paths diverging fork-like. Indeed, two linear times running at different speeds of change, motion and transformation.

It does seem again that it is here where different wills and destinies of nationalities are initiated, governed in addition by different geographic patterns of the world surface and intercourse and of circumstances of each era.

We may now take western man and African man as our points of departure. Levi-Strauss, the social anthropologist, simplifies an enormous argument in his indictment of European society: 'We Europeans have been taught from infancy to be self-centred and individualistic.'1 On the other hand, before the arrival of colonialists, African man continued to so structure his society that it provided him with the security and harm-ony the vanishing mythical life no longer effectively provided. But he, too, like western man, created a social environment and made history rooted in his way of life, his activities and his expectations. Thus history to him meant a living awareness of his essentially social personality identifiable in a community ethos.

Two basic principles emerge from the above. One is the individualistic principle, and inherent to it is an exploitative motive. Any society that emphasises this principle invariably must be led to the path of exploitation of man by man. Another is the collective principle, which invariably leads to sharing and distribution of the fruits of collective labour. Now, one of the tasks of man is that of freeing himself from the snares of individualism and all that is inherent to it.

If education and all the other machinery of coercion and cohesion emphasise one or the other of the two principles, the scales are tilted or tipped in favour of the emphasised and then comes the sanction or otherwise of society. Basically then, the two principles are incompatible and contradictory.

We find that before the arrival of colonialists most of Africa had opted in favour of the collective principle. Thus Africa was at the height of communal life. And communal organisation in Africa is not just a matter of individuals clinging together to eke out an existence, nor is it comparable to rural communities in Europe. It is communal organisation that has evolved its own ethics, its own philosophical system, and its own forms of projecting and interpreting its realities and experiences. Nor does it relate this evolution to an urban centre. In brief, it is a communal structure that has affirmed its particularity.

Thus, even as late as 1962, after many years of colonial domination, it could still be said of Guinea, Ghana and Mali that capitalist relations are at a rudimentary stage, a national bourgeoisie is non-existent or almost non-existent, and at the same time there is no class of feudalists. Further we believe that when the colonialists arrived in Africa the tribal structure was already in a state of disintegration as a result of the evolution of the economy and historical events on the African scene.

When the colonialists arrived two types of society existed: One had a centralised authority and an administrative set-up and well-defined institutions. Among the inhabitants of this society there existed marked divisions of wealth, privilege and status, and these always corresponded to the distribution of powers of authority. The second type of society had no centralised authority, but it also had an administrative machinery and judicial institutions. In this type of society there were no sharp divisions of rank, status and wealth.

The Yoruba of Nigeria and the Baganda of Uganda fell under the first type of society, where sharp divisions of status existed and where surplus from the farmers was squandered in high places. The Ibo of Nigeria and the Akiguyu of Kenya form the second type of society. The Ibo and the Akiguyu political set-up did not carry with it economic privileges and it certainly did not confer on the holder power over the community's surplus or over the loot obtained from wars.

With the arrival of colonialism Africa suffered devastating deprivation, plunder and dehumanisation. Africa was carved and parcelled to warring European powers. Africans suffered military defeat at the hands of superior arms. What was most appalling and devastating was the realisation that as a result of colonisation, land, which formed the material base, had been taken away, and further that the colonialists had demolished the political and economic institutions that were the life-blood of Africa. In the process of this rampant deprivation, political and economic power was denied them. This put a knife to the things that nourished our humanity, or as one writer put it, 'the electrode was put at their genitals.'

We now wish to present the legacies left behind by those patriots of Africa who were conquered by the colonialists. Since the emphasis of revolution is on southern Africa we arbitrarily draw more from this area, without forgetting about the rest of the continent.

As already pointed out, we believe that when the colonialists arrived in Africa the tribal structure was already in a state of disintegration due to the evolution of the economy and historical events. Africans were already evolving greater groupings, which in turn were continually merging and consolidating into larger groupings. The move therefore was towards continental unity.

We know further that when the colonialists came, African governments did not regard such people as constituting a threat to their survival. They sought to accommodate them and their presence positively by freely admitting them as equals, controlling them as one people, and assimilating them as they were accustomed with all foreigners. But alas, the white people kept aloof, sinking deeper into a group exclusiveness founded on discrimination and racism. Thus they imported to our continent a product of racism which remains a scourge and threat to world peace. Yet we cannot abandon the non-racist practices of our forebears. Consider the case of the survivors of the Stavenisse, a ship wrecked near the Transkei in 1686. When Simon van der Stel reported this incident to the Council of Seventeen, he extolled the finest practice amongst our people: 'It would be impossible to buy slaves therefore they would not part with their children or any of their connections for anything in the world, loving one another with a most remarkable affection.' This shows how our people resisted the insidious practice of slavery being imposed on them to mar social development. Again we find a foreign product - slave trade and slavery - being imposed and equally rejected by our people.

About Moshesh2 it is reported that Casalis, a French missionary, joined the Basotho and was building a house with the help of workers sent by Moshesh. The Basotho worked diligently and competed with each other in spite of the fact that the Frenchman had been strongly warned neither to reward them for services nor to spoil them with gifts. Moshesh had warned that 'if you do they will end by demanding that I also pay them to do anything for me.' Here it is clear that Moshesh was hitting at the root of that instrument of degradation and dehumanisation - wages or payments of the exploited.

In another context Casalis was extolling God's great wisdom in creating all men equal and 'of one blood', when one of Moshesh's followers challenged him: 'You are white, we are black, how could we come from the same father?' Moshesh, who was present, replied. 'Stupids, he yelled, in my herds are white, red and spotted cattle. Are they not all cattle? Do they not come from the same stock? And belong to the same master? What of albinos? Were they not as worthy to be called Basotho as the blackest of the Basotho?' 'Black or white,' he continued, 'we laugh and cry in the same way or manner and from the same causes. What gives pleasure or pain to one race causes equally pleasure or pain to the other.' Thus again it is demonstrated that whilst Europe and its colonial system were planting their religious mission under the guise of one God, our people were showing that we were non-racists already.

In the military field we have to begin with the rare genius of our statesman Shaka. He was about 41 years old when he assumed power, and it is said he ruled only for a brief period of 11 years. In that time he forged one of the mightiest empires the African continent had ever known. Under his leadership his small insignificant clan rose from obscurity and gave its name to an all-powerful nation. During Shaka's lifetime the Zulu army was organised into a fearsome military machine, which transformed the age-old pattern of South African society. Thus his rule demonstrated positive nation-building.

One writer puts it this way: 'For generations oral tradition had hailed Shaka as the greatest of Zulu heroes. His name is frequently invoked in Zulu councils, his example is sighted as supreme authority ... He is the subject of eulogistic praise and chants and poems, the hero of more than one African novel.'

This story would not be complete and would not represent a true history if we confined ourselves only to Shaka in matters military. Other African patriots like Makana, that famous warrior and philosopher; Ndlambe, who virtually captured the Zuurveld; Tyhali, who inflicted one of the greatest war damages against colonialism; Moshesh, that great statesman and diplomat, Sekhukhune, Mampuru and many others, are worthy of equal standing.

In the economic sphere we note that the historians concerned with development of the African nations tend to stress, as a cause of changes, the shortage of land, and that, by the eighteenth century, the population of southern Africa had so increased as to result in a shortage of land. I feel that this is an over-simplification and a mere parrot copy of arguments used elsewhere. I believe that land was not scarce. In a sense it only became scarce when colonialists arrived and paddocked Africans into reserves and locations.

We find that the middle of the eighteenth century became a watershed in the evolution and development of trade. Many nations from far and wide were attracted to trade with Africa and 'big business or extremely voluminous' trade became the order of the day.

On the African side, the most important commodity was ivory and, on the other side, the important goods were cloth, brass and beads. The African chiefs, as executive officers of state, monopolised the ivory trade. As a result they or most of them experienced internal growth and consolidation. We can thus say that trade influenced developments in the following ways:

Ø     The wars that were fought over matters of trade increased militarism and consolidation of the people into larger aggregations and in turn led to further prosecution of trade.

Ø     The accumulation of wealth derived mainly from trade helped the process of consolidation of states and in large measure, by distributing goods obtained from long-distance trade, a chief could command increased loyalty from within and without the normal lineage structure. But what is more significant to us is that a large proportion of what the chief obtained through trade was distributed free of charge amongst his people.

We find that amongst the Pedis and during the rule of Shaka export of ivory to Delagoa Bay formed an important part of trade and that during that period trade was highly organised. As suggested by Captain William Owen in 1823, a caravan of 1 000 porters transported between 300 and 400 elephant tusks and a large quantity of cattle.

As a fitting conclusion to the legacies of our forebears, it is proper to make a passing reference to the revolution they faced before being defeated by the colonialists, namely, the mfecane (lifaqane). One notable feature of the mfecane is the quality of leadership that emerged from this crucible. According to one historian, 'many of them were men who demonstrated not only courage, powers of leadership and military skill but the capacity of original thought and action, the ability to devise or adapt new institutions and new techniques to solve new problems, the statesmanship to rise above a narrow tribal point of view. They demonstrated the capacity of Africans to respond to challenges and that the traditional tribal education had a far less cramping effect on the development of human personalities than some have supposed.'

The memory and traditions that derived from the mfecane have certainly played and do play, even in our own period, a vital inspirational role among freedom fighters. For that period, more than any other, represents an heroic period in terms of circumstances and of the leaders who emerged. Many defined their unity and sense of identity in terms of this period, and their determined psychological attitude to minority rule is the result of this period. In our times, the traditions born of the mfecane continue still to possess a fascination and form a bulwark of self-respect around us.

Let us now turn to colonialism. In Azania the year 1906 marks the end, or to be more correct, the suspension of armed resistance by the African people against the forces of colonialism with the end of the last of the wars of dispossession. It was immediately after this war that the Boers and the English combined to form the Union of South Africa and joined together in the political oppression, economic exploitation and social degradation of the African people.

This period also witnessed the birth of British neo-colonialism which, though it allowed the Afrikaner to lord over the African people, it subtly continued to exploit both black and white workers. Indeed, the period was marked by an ingenious policy of divide and rule. This period marked the erosion of the political rights of the African people as more and more draconian laws were passed, which ensured perpetual suppression and subjugation, and which reduced the black man to the status of a third-class citizen in the land of his birth.

Ironically throughout the continent and even beyond the seas, the spirit of resistance persisted, but this time in another form. The year 1900 had seen the inauguration of the first Pan African Conference that aimed at making this century a century of the Coloured man. In 1912 in South Africa the African people established the African National Congress. Throughout Africa and beyond the seas a cultural movement continued to forge ahead. It began as a negritude movement. Its aim was to act as a conscience to the African to resist de-culturation by imperialism. Its leaders understood clearly that de-culturation was a process whereby Africans were being consciously and deliberately dominated, their culture was denied existence, was doubted and questioned as being uncivilised, and thus needed their determination to resist.

Let us return to our story about the Afrikaner and English. The statement made about white workers must not lead us to an erroneous conclusion that in fact a white worker was on the same Poverty Datum Line as the African. That could never be the case since there was a white minority government that made laws aimed at making Africans perpetual hewers of wood and drawers of water.

Why did British imperialists appear to be succeeding? The British appeared to be succeeding in dividing the people of this country for the following reasons: they were the victors of the Anglo-Boer war and they had properly assessed the situation after this war and realised that the Afrikaner in particular possessed an almost inherent racist attitude or had acquired one; and the British convinced themselves that the chief enemy to imperialism was the African, who had proved himself to be a stubborn resister, as was seen in the nine destructive wars of dispossession. To put it in another way. We remember that in 1879 at Isandhlwana the Zulus had executed one of the most devastating massacres to be recorded in the annals of British colonial warfare. British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli was reported to have remarked: 'A remarkable people, the Zulus, they defeat our generals, they convert our bishops, they have settled the fate of a great European dynasty.' The British therefore feared that the African people possessed the biggest effective and permanent weapon - superiority in numbers which, when combined, could effectively and decisively be used against imperialism. It therefore dawned on the British imperialists that their salvation would lie only in their unity with the Afrikaners. They felt that if they harnessed and channelled the Afrikaner's inflexible racism, they could win the Afrikaner to their side as a junior partner and ally against the African majority.

By 1910 the Afrikaner was still a rural and feudalist man, who scarcely grasped the intricacies of a sophisticated industrial society which came in the wake of the mining revolution. The war against the British had left him a poor man. The British imperialists had discovered that they could not use the Afrikaner profitably in his raw state. As a consequence, British artisans were imported to come and tutor him. This action of the British imperialists marked the beginning of the consciousness of the Afrikaner as an industrial worker and this, combined with his racist and Calvinist religion, helped him to forge ahead.

In Europe there was an awakening of the down-trodden working classes. The imported British artisans carried in them the seeds of discontent and when later they were faced with the terrible and exploitative conditions in the mines of South Africa, they formed themselves into unions.

Sensing the potential danger of trade unionism the British capitalists decided to use this awakening of the white worker to achieve their own purposes. The backwardness of the Afrikaner formed the stumbling block. However, the imported artisans soon organised Afrikaners into trade unions too. But this was unity amongst the white workers. Realising this, both the British statesmen and workers decided to harness Afrikaner racism as well.

From that time on, the emphasis was placed on the protection of the rights of white workers as against the rights of African workers and against the capitalists. This racial approach suited British neo-colonialism and South African politics became nothing more than the politics of colour.

The Africans did not sit down and cry crocodile tears. Oh no! A new organisation came into existence, namely the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) and joined the forces of those who fought to uplift the African and free him from destitution, humiliation and exploitation. The ICU suffered from the fact that it was a semi-industrial and semi-political organisation without a real, full grasp of its mission. Nonetheless it left its mark on the sands of history.

At the same time white supremacy was growing by leaps and bounds. This led to the formation of the Labour Party which, together with an Afrikaner government in 1924, sealed the fate of the black man in industry and left him excommunicated and defenceless.

We have already said that the last attempt of the Africans to regain their land and freedom was in 1906 when a group of African patriots led by Bambata staged a revolt against the British colonialists. This last desperate attempt on the part of a section of the indigenous population using primitive weapons marked the beginning of a new page in the history of oppression of our people. True enough, a hybrid progress in African franchise had been made in the Cape, whereby a certain category of Africans enjoyed a qualified vote. But the number was so insignificant as to be meaningless; equally observable were half-attempts by Cape liberals to have the clauses entrenched.

In spite of this, the impression that remained dominant in the minds of the British imperialists was that they now had got the gold in the country and did not want to offend the Boers anymore. They decided to console him by allowing him to lord over his hated enemy, the African. The imperialists decided to let the African pay for all the offences the imperialists had committed against the Boers while they (the imperialists) went on to fill their bags with gold and diamonds. The British, in fact, continued to allow the Boers to run governments while they (the Britons) managed and ran industry, commerce and mining. We know that this strategy has been the corner stone of British imperialism ever since. As a result, the English in South Africa have played an insignificant part in politics but a significant part in its economy.

The establishment of the Afrikaner authority in government began a new chapter in the history of this country. In the process, the Afrikaner discovered the sterility of British colonialism. Equally, the British imperialists discovered the potential danger of an estranged Afrikaner. And finding that they could not win him, they felt they had to join him.

A scapegoat had to be found for both parties. That scapegoat was the African, who was defenceless, politically disenfranchised, militarily disarmed and legally inhibited. Draconian laws were passed, none more less pernicious than the Industrial Conciliation Act, which sought to exclude all Africans from registered trade unions. The frustrated Afrikaner did not confine himself to economic exploitation of the African. We also saw the intensification of anti-blackism. War was therefore declared on our people, men, women and children. They burdened and chained us with the pass laws. In the field of education the story was the same. The African was to be given an inferior type of education that prepared him to serve and minister the needs of the white communities.

The irony was that the English were benefiting more than the Afrikaner and were making exorbitant profits in the process. The Afrikaner, under the delusion of an empty political power, was being kept down too in the economic sphere. The situation has not improved much even today except for a few Ruperts, Maraises and Wessels.

However, human endurance has its limitations. And it has its limitations among the Africans too. A spirit of defiance has been rising among the Africans and deeper and wider knowledge was acquired. In 1943 came Mziwakhe Lembede, propagating African nationalism as a unifying force. In 1945 we again saw the imagination of the African people come to fruition in the decisions of the Pan African Conference in Manchester where the leaders felt that Pan-Africanism must be planted in the soil of Africa; further, they embraced socialism in their ideology. A dynamic movement was regenerated and it began to sow the seeds of freedom in the hearts and minds of Africans everywhere. Amongst the leaders that attended a true will for independence and freedom could be seen. One observed among these nationalists, who were ready to impart a new ideology to their people, a revolutionary potential and the possibility then of national liberation by peaceful methods.

The early 1950s saw the emergence of Africanists in Azania who were propelled by the desire for positive action and were opposed to multi-racialism. The true spirit of these men was concretely and effectively translated by the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), which was launched as a ship of freedom on the 6 April 1959. The PAC was launched at the time of the 'awakening of the peoples of Africa', which had begun and was given expression by the independence of Ghana in 1957.

Now, if we are to achieve our goals and fundamentally attain our major aims, namely, the achievement of maximum satisfaction of the needs of our people; the achievement of political and economic overthrow of imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism; cultural enrichment of our people; and if we want to reconstruct the history of the continent, psychologically recreate a new ethos of a people zealous and dedicated to create and live in a new society, we must radically change the pattern of the present set-up and, in its place, establish a society which is non-racial, Africanist in origin, socialist in content and democratic in form. We must reject multi-racialism because to us multi-racialism is nothing else but apartheid multiplied.

The early Europeans succeeded in deceiving themselves and the world that they represented humanity in its most civilised form and by a twist of a trick elected themselves the leaders of humanity. They have heaped abuse on us, declaring us half-developed and without a history and without a worthwhile human contribution. That is why even outstanding scholars like Hegel could proclaim for all to hear that the African has contributed nothing to humanity but slavery.

For centuries unnatural suffering has existed among our people. There can be little doubt that this suffering is unprecedented in scale. Further, we are aware that our suffering is caused by economic, political and social factors. Look around us, and about us, we have been robbed left, right and centre. We have been exploited, deceived and bestially humiliated and condemned to poverty of the worst type, which is corrosive in its effects and stupefying in impact. We were denied our humanity. This is neatly put by Levi-Strauss: 'Western man began to see that he would never understand himself as long as there was a single race or people on the surface of the earth, that he treated as an object.' Western man has taken a detour most of us know. A detour that took him through many statuses before he came back to humanity. He had passed through the stages of slave and slaveowner, serf and feudal lord, worker and capitalist and was now entering the stage of socialism. Not so with African man, who had been moving along a helicoidal path to humanity and socialism.

We know that after centuries of unreality our people have awakened to the truth. Whilst exploitation and enslavement remain immeasurable and the suffering remains inhuman, and whilst the waste in manpower remains and wealth is being squandered, the spark of freedom has been lit. Knowledge of our strength and potential is equally increasing. And we now say that no one has a right to adopt a psychological indifference to the suffering and struggle of the people. If conditions are accepted passively it is clear that the sufferings will never improve or be eliminated, for we know from experience that the thirst of imperialism can never be quenched or subdued by mere words alone. We are strengthened by the knowledge that oppression and domination have no stamina.

We have reached the stage of purposeful direction. Nkrumah has given a sharp and graphic picture of colonialism and neo-colonialism. He concluded that existing colonies may linger on but no newer colony will be created; that neo-colonialism represents imperialism in its last and perhaps its most dangerous stage. That the essence of neo-colonialism is that the state that is subject to it is in theory independent and appears to have all the characteristics of a sovereign state. He goes further to add that the methods of neo-colonialism and colonialism are varied and variegated. For instance, troops of an imperialist power may be stationed in a neo-colonialist state. Not only that, the neo-colonialist state may supply raw materials, whilst goods from the Imperial power are exported to such neo-colonialist state. Civil servants from the imperial power are often placed in positions where they control and dictate policy of a political, economic and cultural nature.

Further, we find in such instances that foreign capital in the colonies or dependent states is used for the exploitation rather than for the improvement of the social conditions of the indigenous people. Investments, too, lead to widening the gap between the rich and the poor countries, and for those who practice neo-colonialism this means exploitation without regress. In addition, neo-colonialism, like colonialism before it, postpones facing social issues that will have to be faced. Further neo-colonialism, like colonialism, exports the social evils and conflicts of the capitalist countries. This, in my view, is the most serious and heinous phenomenon, for class interests are being introduced and nourished on a continent that has been predominantly egalitarian.

Whilst it is true that these things have happened and have helped to influence present trends, many of us still feel that it was not really directly from these developments that the truth was born. What seems indisputable is that the truth of the new resurgence was born first and foremost of the determination of the exploited Africans to fight not only for economic justice, but for their identity as human beings, to rid themselves of the eternal foreigner, the other who had invented and imposed for centuries upon them his wretched doctrine of other-ness, of hereditary excommunication. The last need of imperialism and its cognates is not for raw materials, exploited labour and controlled markets, but for mankind, which it counts for nothing.

To achieve our freedom we must re-examine our political, social and economic conditions. Julius Nyerere has correctly pointed the way in his famous speech: 'We have been oppressed a great deal, we have been exploited a great deal and we have been degraded a great deal. It is our weakness that has led to our being oppressed, exploited, disregarded. Now we want a revolution, a revolution which brings to an end our weakness so that we are never again exploited, oppressed and humiliated.' Fanon says: 'After centuries of unreality, after having wallowed in the most outlandish phantoms, at long last the nation gun in hand stands face to face with the only force contending for his life, the forces of colonialism.'

Nkrumah says: 'I see before my mind's eye a great monolithic party growing out of this process (of training freedom fighters) united and strong spreading its protective wings over the whole of Africa.'

If we are to achieve freedom and unity, Africa must be united. Nyerere says, 'African nationalism differs from the nationalism of the past in that the African national state is an instrument of unity and not for dividing her'.

The whole people as an organised force must take their destiny into their hands. United and strong they must forge ahead. We must carry out an intensive and thorough education. And, it is this realisation which made us launch a campaign in 1960 with the aim of freeing the mind of the African. This campaign will never succeed unless it is backed up by a thorough and systematic education that involves the entire population.

Last but not least we must succeed in reconciling mental and manual labour. When the African revolution has taken its full course and attained its purpose and humanity is fully re-established on our continent, only then can we declare: We are free. Only then can history accurately reflect its true programme of a humanity rediscovered and rejuvenated. Izwe Letu Ma-Afrika!

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.