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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Extract - BBC Interview with Joe Slovo 1986

Joe Slovo

Interview Extract - "Focus on Africa" program BBC World Service 4th July 1986

Slovo - The ANC announced that this is a year of Umkhonto we Sizwe and that it is going to step up its armed struggle in new directions and the increase in military activity is a measure of that resolution. I have no personal knowledge of each and every action which has taken place, nor whether the facts that are being divulged under the restrictive form of reporting which is coming from South Africa are correct or not. All I can say as far as the ANC is concerned, as far as the armed wing of the ANC is concerned, the policies which have in the past been announced, that we are not directing our fire against innocent civilians, remains the policy. But I believe that there is no way forward in South Africa at the moment. I wish there were, but there is no way forward in South Africa without the armed factor in the struggle. To cancel a movement like ours, to abandon it, even if it does ocassionally have blemishes, is to counsel us to submit to surrender.

White - These are blemishes, I take it, that you regret when civilians are killed. Is that right?

Slovo - Absolutely, regret. I think it is tragic that a situation should arise where civilians on any side are killed. But it is almost a cliche to say that it is virtually unavoidable and this isn't unique to us alone. In fact, it operated in all situations where the armed factor is used including the last war, including action by the allies.

For full text see http://www.liberation.org.za/collections/sacp/slovo/military.php

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.