"Our struggle is for progress": Statement by Albert Luthuli, 15 June 1962

[Chief Lutuli said that it was no coincidence that he has chosen New Age to make this statement. "New Age has already been threatened under the Sabotage Bill with banning and I have decided to make this statement to your paper precisely because it is read by the politically conscious peoples of South Africa, and because it may appear in the last issue of this most valuable fighter for freedom and democracy in this country," he said. His statement continued:]

On the occasion of June 26, 1962, I want to address my message to all sections of the South African population - both Black and White. I want to address it to the peasants in the country-side and the workers in the factories. I want to address it to the Chiefs and the leaders of the all-White political parties, to the intellectuals and students, to the religious leaders of all denominations and religious groups.

No Compromise!

In the atmosphere in which we live it is imperative that all those who value freedom should make common cause and with courage and determination face the threat which the Nationalist Government has imposed upon us by the introduction of the Sabotage Bill.

There can be no compromise in our struggle to make South Africa a truly democratic country, and in the coming fight against the monstrous Sabotage Bill which aims at destroying all vestiges of freedom in this country there can be no neutrals. The choice before South Africa is open unadulterated fascism or full democracy for all.

In this situation a greater responsibility rests with White South Africans. By the nature of things they are in the ruling group and it is in their name that all this evil is being done.

Our Inspiration

This does not mean that the Non-White peoples must now hope for their salvation through the ballot box. Theirs is the role of continuing the struggle, which began with our forefathers. They must draw inspiration from the great battles and the sacrifices of Tshaka and Moshesh, of Gandhi and Hintsa. They must also draw inspiration from our more recent martyrs who fell at Sharpeville and Langa, at Pondoland and Cato Manor, at Zeerust and Sekhukhuneland.

They must draw inspiration from the hundreds who rot in exile in the far corners of our beloved country and those who languish in prison because of their love for freedom. They must draw inspiration from their many gallant leaders who have been gagged and restricted because of their role in the struggle for freedom for all in South Africa.

In the dark and difficult days that lie ahead of us, we must not only draw inspiration from our martyrs for freedom - past and present - we must also re-dedicate ourselves for the bitter fight ahead. We cannot and must not allow fascism to take root in our beloved country. We must not allow the despotism and degradation that befell the peoples of Nazi Germany, Fascist Spain and Portugal.

It is only the determined will of the people that can stop this dangerous trend in South African politics.

I call on the people not to be despondent. The battle has long been joined. It is not the beginning of our fight for liberation, but the beginning of the end of our struggle.

The future may look black and the problems insurmountable, but history has many examples which teach us that no power on earth could stop a determined and courageous people. History also teaches us that no power on earth could stop progress - and our struggle is for progress.

Raise the Banner!

Join your respective organisations and help organise the unorganised peoples, instil courage into the waverers and determination into those who are with us and finally, but most important, unite with all anti-Nationalist forces in this country so that jointly we can march forward to a glorious free and democratic South Africa, free from all the evils of apartheid and race barriers, free from want and fear.

Raise the banner of democracy high and proudly say to the world: "We are not defeated by this Sabotage Bill. We have dedicated ourselves to the fight for freedom and until it is won we shall continue no matter what the cost. We shall lay down our lives, if need be, for what is the use of living in darkness and terror."

Amandhla! Ngewethu!

ES Reddy