Appeal by Oliver Tambo to the people of the world on the 75th anniversary of the African National Congress, 08 January 1987

On January 8, 1987, we observed the 75th anniversary of our movement, the African National Congress. This historic anniversary has come at a critical moment in the struggle for the liberation of our country. Its observance will give both our membership and the people of our country as a whole an opportunity to adopt new initiatives aimed at making further advances toward the birth of a democratic South Africa.

The continuing struggle inside our country, combined with the inspiring actions taken by the international community against racist South Africa, have driven the apartheid system into a deep and worsening crisis. Inside our country, the balance of strength between the forces of democracy on the one hand and those of racism on the other has shifted to such an extent that our victory over the apartheid regime is now in sight.

That confidence in the certainty of victory continues to inspire our people to carry out great feats of heroism in the struggle to liberate South Africa and bring peace to our region. The heightened offensive for democracy that has gripped our country for more than two years now is both unstoppable and irreversible.

In the face of these developments, the apartheid regime finds itself with no alternative but to admit the utter bankruptcy of its policy and resort to extreme measures of repression that are doomed to failure. All its actions are those of a regime that is fighting for its very survival.

Indeed, the 75 years of our existence have been characterised by resistance and survival against heavy odds. We have survived martial law and states of emergency. We have been hounded, abducted, raided and massacred in various countries only to emerge, each time, stronger and more resolute to rid our country and the world of the scourge of apartheid.

It is, therefore, most appropriate that as we observe the 75th anniversary of our movement throughout the year, we should focus our attention on the central question of the destruction of the oppressive and evil system of white minority colonial domination and its replacement by a new democratic and nonracial political and social order.

To do this, and inspired by the greatly increased strength of the democratic movement in South Africa and the anti-apartheid movement internationally as compared to the increasing weakness of the apartheid regime, we must mount the most massive all-round offensive that the apartheid system has ever faced. Our own people are ready to confront this challenge.

We appeal to the world community to join us in this effort. Let the nations across the face of the globe impose comprehensive sanctions against apartheid South Africa. Let the people of the world not only isolate the racists, but also reject their criminal regime as illegitimate.

Let us see the entire peace-loving humanity rally behind the ANC and the rest of the democratic movement of our country. Let us see not only greatly increased moral and material support to the forces of liberty and peace in South Africa but also their recognition as the genuine representatives of the people of our country.

Let the peoples of the world further increase their support for SWAPO and the people of Namibia in their struggle to liberate their country from apartheid colonialism and military occupation. Let all rally to the support of the Frontline States and other States of southern Africa to help them withstand Pretoria`s campaign of aggression and destabilisation.

We are certain that if together we take these measures, we will make a decisive movement forward towards the birth of a free South Africa, and an independent Namibia and a peaceful, secure and stable region of southern Africa. The masses of our people have no doubt whatsoever at this time of great hope and confidence in the future that the international community will march side by side with us to transform the retreat of the enemy into a rout.

Forward to the 75th Anniversary of the African National Congress!

Democracy will Triumph!

Victory is Certain!

ES Reddy