From: South Africa's Radical Tradition, a documentary history, Volume Two 1943 - 1964, by Allison Drew

Document 58 - Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, "The Opening Address at the Africanist Inaugural Convention", 4 April 1959 [”¦.]


We are living today. Sons and Daughters of the Soil, fighters in the cause of African freedom, in an era that is pregnant with untold possibilities for good and evil. In the course of the past two years we have seen man-solving asunder, with dramatic suddenness, the chains that have bound his mind, solving problems which for ages it has been regarded as sacrilege even to attempt to solve. The tremendous epoch-making scientific achievements in the exploration of space, with man-made satellites orbiting the earth, the new and interesting discoveries made in the Geophysical Year, the production of rust-resistant strains of wheat in the field of agriculture, the amazing discoveries in the fields of medicine, chemistry and physics - all these, mean that man is acquiring a better knowledge of his environment and is well on the way to establishing absolute control over that environment.

However, in spite of all these rapid advances in the material and physical world, man appears to be either unwilling or unable to solve the problem of social relations between man and man. Because of this failure on the part of man, we see the world split into two large hostile blocks represented by the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union respectively. These two blocks are engaged in terrible competition, use tough language and tactics, and employ brinkmanship stunts which have the whole world heading for a nervous breakdown. They each are armed with terrible weapons of destruction and continue to spend millions of pounds in the production of more and more of these weapons. In spite of all the diplomatic talk of co-existence, these blocks each behave as though they did not believe that co-existence was possible.


The question then arises, where does Afrika fit into this picture and where, particularly, do we African nationalists, we Africanists in South Afrika, fit in?

There is no doubt that with the liquidation of Western imperialism and colonialism in Asia, the Capitalist market has shrunk considerably. As a result, Afrika has become the happy hunting ground of adventuristic capital. There is again a scramble for Africa, and both the Soviet Union and the United States of America are trying to win the loyalty of the African states. Afrika is being wooed with more ardour than she has ever been. There is a lot of flirting going on, of course, some Africans flirting with the Soviet camp, and others with the American camp. In some cases, the courtship has reached a stage where the parties are going out together, and they probably hold hands in the dark, but nowhere has it yet reached a stage where the parties can kiss in public without blushing.

This wooing occurs at a time when the whole continent of Afrika is in labour, suffering the pangs of a new birth, and everybody is looking anxiously and expectantly towards Afrika to see, as our people so aptly put it, ukuthi iyozala nkomoni (what creature will come forth). We are being wooed internationally at a time when in South Africa, the naked forces of savage Herrenvolkism are running riot; when a determined effort is being made to annihilate the African people through systematic starvation; at a time when brutal attempts are being made to retard, dwarf and stunt the mental development of a whole people through organised "miseducation"; at a time when thousands of our people roam the streets in search of work and are being told by the foreign ruler to go back to a "home" which he has assigned them, whether that means the break-up of their families or not; at a time when the distinctive badge of slavery and humiliation, the "dom pass" is being extended from the African male dog to the African female bitch. It is at this time, when fascist tyranny has reached its zenith in South Africa, that Africa's loyalty is being competed for. And the question is, what is our answer?

The African leaders of the continent have given our answer, Mr Speaker and children of the Soil. Dr Kwame Nkrumah has repeatedly stated that in international affairs, Afrika wishes to pursue a policy of positive neutrality, allying herself to neither the existing blocks but, in the words of Dr Nnandi Azikiwe of Nigeria, remaining independent in all things but neutral in none that affect the destiny of Africa".Mr. Tom Mboya of Kenya has expressed himself more forthrightly, declaring that it is not the intention of African states to change one master (western imperialism) for another Soviet hegemony).

We endorse the views of African leaders on this point. But we must point out that we are not blind to the fact that the countries - which pursue a policy of planned state economy - have outstripped, in industrial development, those that follow the path of private enterprise. Today, China is industrially far ahead of India. Unfortunately, however, this rapid industrial development has been accompanied in all cases by a rigid totalitarianism notwithstanding Mao Tse Tung's "Hundred Flowers" announcement. Africanists reject totalitarianism in any form and accept political democracy as understood in the west. We also reject the economic exploitation of the many for the benefit the few. We accept as policy the equitable distribution of wealth aiming, as far as I am concerned, to equality of income which to me is the only basis on which the slogan "equal opportunities" can be founded.

Borrowing then the best from the East and the best from the West, we nonetheless retain and maintain our distinctive personality and refuse to be the satraps or stooges either power block.


Quoting George Padmore's book, “Pan Africanism or Communism”, may state our relation to the States of Afrika precisely and briefly. Discussing the future of Africa, Padmore observes "there is a growing feeling among politically conscious Africans throughout the continent that their destiny is one, that what happens in one part of Afrika to Africans must affect Africans living in other parts".

We honour Ghana as the first independent state in modem Afrika which, under the courageous nationalist leadership of Dr. Nkrumah and the Convention People's Party, has actively interested itself in the liberation of the whole continent from White domination, and has held out the vision of a democratic United States of Afrika. We regard it as the sacred duty of every African state to strive ceaselessly and energetically for the creation of a United States of Afrika, stretching from Cape to Cairo, Morocco and Madagascar.

The days of small, independent countries are gone. Today we have, on the one hand, great powerful countries of the world; America and Russia cover huge tracts of land territorially and number hundreds of millions in population. On the other hand/'the small weak independent countries of Europe are beginning to realise that for their own survival, they have to form military and economic federations, hence NATO and the European market.

Besides the sense of a common historical fate that we share with the other countries of Afrika, it is imperative, for purely practical reasons, that the whole of Afrika be united into a single unit, centrally controlled. Only in that way can we solve the immense problems that face the continent.


It is for the reasons stated above that we admire, bless and identify ourselves with the entire nationalist movements in Africa. They are the core, the basic units, the individual cells of that large organism envisaged, namely, the United States of Africa; a union of free, sovereign independent democratic states of Africa.

For the lasting peace of Afrika and the solution of the economic, social and political problems of the continent, there needs must be a democratic principle. This means that White supremacy, under whatever guise it manifests itself, must be destroyed. And that is what the nationalists on the continent are setting out to do. They all are agreed that the African majority must rule. In the African context, it is overwhelming African majority that will mould and shape the content of democracy. Allow me to quote Dr. Dubois, the father of Pan Africanism: "Most men in the world", writes Dubois, "are coloured. A belief in humanity means a belief in coloured men. The future of the world will, in all reasonable possibility, be what coloured men make it." As for the world, so for Afrika. The future of Africa will be what Africans make it.


And now for the thorny question of race. I do not wish to give a lengthy and learned dissertation on race. Suffice it to say that even those scientists, who do recognise the Existence of separate races, have to admit that there are borderline cases which will not fit into any of the three races of mankind.

All scientists agree that all men can trace their ancestry back to the first Homo Sapiens, that man is distinguished from other mammals and also from earlier types of man by the nature of his intelligence. The structure of the body of man provides evidence to prove the biological unity of the human species. All scientists agree that there is no "racing" that is superior to another, and there is no "racing" that is inferior to others.

The Africanists take the view that there is only one race to which we all belong, and that is the human race. In our vocabulary, therefore, the word "race" is applied to man, has no plural form. We do, however, admit the existence of observable physical differences between various groups of people, but these differences are the result of a number of factors, chief among which has been geographical isolation.

In Africa, the myth of race has been propounded and propagated by the imperialists and colonialists of Europe, in order to facilitate and justify their inhuman exploitation of the indigenous people of the land. It is from this myth of race with its attendant claims of cultural superiority that the doctrine of white supremacy stems. Thus it is that an ex-engine driver can think of himself as fully qualified to be the head of the government of an African state, but refuse to believe that a highly educated black doctor, more familiar with Western culture than the White premier is, cannot even run a municipal Council. I do not wish to belabour this point. Time is precious. Let me close the discussion of this topic by declaring, on behalf of the Africanists, that with UNESCO we hold that "every man is his brother's keeper. For every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main, because he is involved in mankind".


South Africa we recognise the existence of national groups which are the result of geographical origin within a certain area as well as a shared historical experience of these groups. The Europeans are a foreign minority group which has exclusive control political, economic, social and military power. It is the dominant group. It is the plotting group, responsible for the pernicious doctrine of White Supremacy which s resulted in the humiliation and degradation of the indigenous African people. It is exploiting group which has dispossessed the African people of their land and with arrogant conceit, has set itself up as the "guardians", the "trustees" of the Africans. It is this group which conceives the African as a child nation composed of Boys and Girls, ranging in age from 120 years to one day. It is this group which, after 300 years, can ill state with brazen effrontery that the Native, the Bantu, the Kaffir is still backward id savage. But they still want to remain "guardians", "trustees" and what have you, of the African people. In short, it this group which has mismanaged affairs in South Africa just as their kith and kin are mismanaging affairs in Europe. It is from this group who the most rabid race baiters and agitators come. It is members of this group who, whenever they meet in their Parliament, say things which agitate the hearts of millions of peace-loving Africans. This is the group which turns out thousands of experts in the new South African Science - the Native mind.

Then there is the Indian foreign minority group. This group came to this country not s imperialists or colonialist, but as indentured labourers. In the South African set-up of today, this group is an oppressed minority. But there are some members of this group, he merchant class in particular, who have become tainted with the virus of cultural supremacy and national arrogance. This class identifies itself by and large with the oppressor but, significantly, this is the group which provides the political leadership of he Indian people in South Africa. And all that the politics of this class has meant up to now is the preservation and defence of the sectional interests of the Indian merchant class. The down-trodden, poor "stinking coolies" of Natal, who, alone, as a result of the pressure of material conditions, can identify themselves with the indigenous African majority in the struggle to overthrow White supremacy, have not yet produced their leadership. We hope they will do so soon.

The Africans constitute the indigenous group and form the majority of the population. They are the most ruthlessly exploited and are subjected to humiliation, degrada­tion and insult.

Now it is our contention that true democracy can be established in South Africa and on the continent as a whole, only when White supremacy has been destroyed. And the illiterate and semi-literate African masses constitute the key and centre and content of any struggle for true democracy in South Africa. And the African people can be organised only under the banner of African nationalism in an All-African Organisation, where they will by themselves formulate policies and programmes and decide on the methods of struggle without interference from either so-called left-wing or right-wing groups, of the minorities who arrogantly appropriate to themselves the right to plan and think for Africans.

We wish to emphasize here that the freedom of the African means the freedom of all in South Africa, the European included, because only the African can guarantee the establishment of a genuine democracy in which all men will be citizens of a common state and will live and be governed as individuals and not as distinctive sectional groups.


In conclusion, I wish to state that the Africanists do not subscribe to the fashionable doctrine of South African exceptionalism. Our contention is that South Africa is an integral part of the indivisible whole that is Africa. She cannot solve her problems in isolation from and with utter disregard of the rest of the continent.

It is precisely for that reason that we reject both apartheid and so-called multi-racial­ism as solutions of our socio-economic problems. Apart from the number of reasons and arguments that can be advanced against apartheid, we take our stand on the principle that Afrika is one and desires to be one and nobody, I repeat, nobody has the right to balkanise our land.

Against multi-racialism we have this objection, that the history of South Africa has fostered group prejudices and antagonisms, and if we have to maintain the same group exclusiveness, parading under the term of multi-racialism, we shall be transporting to the new Afrika these very antagonisms and conflicts. Further, multi-racialism is in fact a pandering to European bigotry and arrogance. It is a method of safeguarding white interests irrespective of population figures. In that sense it is a complete negation of democracy. To us the term "multi-racialism" implies that there are such basic insuper­able differences between the various national groups here that the best course is to keep them permanently distinctive in a kind of democratic apartheid. That to us is racialism multiplied, which probably is what the term truly connotes.

We aim, politically, at a government of the Africans by the Africans for Africans, with everybody who owes his only loyalty to Afrika and who is prepared to accept the democratic rule of an African majority being regarded as an African. We guarantee no minority rights, because we think in terms of individuals, not groups.

Economically we aim at the rapid extension of industrial development in order to alleviate pressure on the land, which is what progress means in terms of modem society. We stand committed to a policy guaranteeing the most equitable distribution of wealth.

Socially, we aim at the full development of the human personality and a ruthless uprooting and outlawing of all forms of manifestations of the racial-myth. To sum it Bp, we stand for an Africanist Socialist Democracy.

Here is a tree rooted in African soil, nourished with waters from the rivers of Afrika. Come and sit under its shade and become, with us, the leaves of the same branch and the branches of the same tree.

Sons and Daughters of Afrika, I declare this inaugural Convention of the Africanists open. IZWELETHU!


1. W. P. "Willem" van Schoor (1913-71) trained as a teacher and lectured at Sohnge Training College in Worcester, where A. J. Abrahamse was a colleague. In 1937 he co-founded the New Era Fellowship in Cape Town and presented its first lecture, on "Imperialism". In the 1940s he worked in the ROSA. In 1951 he was elected President of the TLSA, and he campaigned against the introduction of tribal divisions in education, coining the term "bush college" to describe the segregated black colleges set up by the government in the early 1960s. In 1951 van Schoor and Leo Sihlali of CATA set up the Cape Teachers' Federal Council, with the TLSA and CATA as affiliates. His criticism of the Eiselen-de Vos Malan policies for inferior education in his 1955 TLSA presidential address led to his dismissal as a teacher, part of a government crackdown on teachers who were challenging "gutter education". He was on the National Anti-CAD Committee and a leading figure in the NEUM. In the late 1960s he moved to England.

2 For considerations of space, the footnote references within the original document have been omitted. The sources cited in the original text include: H. C. Armstrong, Grey Steel; Economic and Wage Commission: U.G., 1926; Eybers, Select Documents; Haily, An African Survey; C. Headlam (ed.), Milner Papers, Vol. II; J. H. Hofmeyr, South Africa; C. W. de Kiewiet, Social and Economic History of South Africa; Mixed Marriages Commission Report, 1937; A Monthly Bulletin of Statistics: U.G., May 1948; Nxele [Hosea ' Jaffe], "History of Despotism" Series, The Torch, 30 January 1950; Ordinance 50, 1828; Selborne Memorandum on the Union of South Africa, 1908; Sir J. G. MacDonald, Rhodes: A heritage; J. S. Marais in I Schapera (ed.). The Bantu-speaking Tribes of South Africa; S. G. Millin, Rhodes; Sol T. Plaatje, Native Life in South Africa; Rose Innes, The Glen Grey Act and the Native Question; E. Roux, Time Longer than Rope; J. C. Smuts, Speech, House of Assembly, 13 March 1945; The Torch, 18 August 1950; S. van der Horst, Native Labour in South Africa; E Walker, Lord de Villiers and His Times; and Year, Book of the Union of South Africa, 1926.

3. See also Dr Z. Sanders (Zena Susser), "Some comments on K. A. Jordaan's 'Critique of W. P. van Schoor's The Origin and Development of Segregation in South Africa'" and K. A. Jordaan, "A reply to Dr Sander's Historical Criticisms" both in Discussion, 1, 4, December 1951, 40-9.

4 For considerations of space, the footnote references within the original document have been omitted. The sources cited in the original text include: J. A. J. Agar-Hamilton, The Native Policy of the Voortrekkers; C. de Kiewiet, A History of South Africa, Social and Economic; The Economist, 10 March and 17 March 1951; J. H. Hofmeyer, South Africa; W. M. Macmillan, Bantu, Boer and Briton; J. M. Tinley, The Native Labour Problem of South Africa; Union Year Book, 1948; and S. T. van der Horst, Native Labour in South Africa.

5 'Michael Harmel (1915-74) was one of the major CPSA ideologues from the 1940s, a strong proponent of the Party's closer ties with the national struggle and the Congress movement in the post-war penal. He joined the CPSA in 1939, was secretary of the Johannesburg district committee from 1940 to '46 and a member of the CPSA central committee from 1941 to 1950. Out of the seventeen members on the central committee, only he and Bill Andrews opposed the Party's decision to dissolve in 1950. In the 1950s he played a leading role in the COD. He was on the editorial board of Liberation, the Johannesburg representative of New Age and a founder of African Communist in 1949. Subjected to repeat state harassment, he left South Africa in 1963. In London he edited African Communist and published Fifty-Fighting Years (1971) under the pseudonym A. Lerumo. This document represents an early elaboration of the colonialism of a special type thesis. Harmel was married to Ray Adler (b. 1907), a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant who worked as a seamstress. She was a member of the CPSA and the GWU and was highly critical of the GWU's decision to set up a separate branch for coloured workers in 1940.

6 In The Choice before South Africa, E. S. Sachs (1952:8) wrote: "Capitalism can still play a progressive role in South Africa, provided backwardness, reaction and foreign domination are eliminated from our national life." Essentially, he argued that South Africa's extreme racism and exploitation were due to the mining and agricultural sectors, which had developed on the basis of cheap labour. The growth of manufacturing capitalism was premised on a free and mobile labour market, raising the possibility of breaking from an outmoded political system and achieving real democracy. He called for a united iron to defeat the NP, for building a strong Labour Party and adopting a "New Deal" to win over progressive whites, especially Afrikaner workers.

7 In the late 1930s, some socialists had argued that Afrikaner nationalism could play a progressive role in the struggle against British imperialism, a claim that was a legacy of the Anglo-Boer War. Sachs (1952:209-16), who had organised Afrikaner women garment workers, makes a similar argument believing that most Afrikaner workers were becoming disillusioned with the NP but would not readily vote for the UP.


8 Chiang Kai-Shek was leader of Nationalist China prior to the Communist victory in 1949. He then retreated to Taiwan where he was supported by the United States. Syngman Rhee was leader of South Korea during and after the Korean War. The United States and its allies supported him. For the Left he symbolised the corrupt dictatorships aligned with the West during the Cold War. Tito was a Yugoslav Communist and leader of the Partisans during the German occupation. The Allies in preference to the alternative resistance led by Mihailovitch supported him. Subsequently, Tito became leader of post-war Yugoslavia but quarreled with Stalin and became the target of Communist vilification. Yugoslavia became for some on the Left a model for socialist construction, independent of both Communist and Social Democratic politics.

9 Dr James S. Moroka (1891-1985), a physician trained at the University of Edinburgh, was an early leader of the AAC. He then served on the NRC from 1942 to '50, arguing the need to expose the institution's bankruptcy from within. Paradoxically, in 1949 he was elected as ANC President-General on the pro-boycott platform of the ANC Youth League, even though he was still in the NRC and not at the time an ANC member. In 1952 he lost his bid for reelection to Albert Luthuli. The Mine Workers' Union and the South African Railways Staff Associations were organisations of white labour. Until 1953 the SATLC did not have a colour bar but that year it began excluding Africans.

10 Both the NEUM and the Congress movement were subject to criticism, mainly from the Left and from liberals, for their sectionally-based federal structures. The COD was subjected to such criticisms from its formation in October 1953. In theory, its membership was open to all South Africans; in practice, it was a white organisation. Some white Communists refrained from joining for that reason, and the Liberal Party proudly contrasted its non-racial organisation with that of the COD. Discussion of the "One Congress" question escalated through the 1950s. See, inter alia, "Fusing the Congresses", Liberation, 37, July 1959; Lazerson (1994:211-18); and Hirson (1995:275, 278).

11 The joint symposium convened by the Forum Club and the South Africa Club in May 1954 marked a rare co-operative effort by Communists and Trotskyists. In their foreword to the proceedings, the organisers, Enver Marney of the Forum Club and I.0. Horvitch of the CPSA, noted the effects of political sectarianism on the liberation movement: "Our movement suffers not only from sectionalism (racialism), but is also ridden by a crippling sectarianism which puts the interests of sects above the interests of the movement, and is the main obstacle in the way of vigorous discussion and the achievement of theoretical clarity. In the absence of discussion sectarianism thrives and the best interests of the whole movement are sacrificed.

12. Polish nationalism continued as a significant force during the nineteenth century despite the dismember­ment of the Polish state. Its principal manifestations were through language and Catholicism. Following the end of World War One, a separate Polish state was reconstituted as part of the Versailles settlement. Its boundaries proved a significant focus for the German agitation for revision of the Versailles Treaty and in 1939 Poland disappeared again as a consequence of both German and Soviet invasion. After the end of World War Two, a Polish state was again born but with significantly different boundaries to those of its inter-war predecessor.

13 German unification was effectively achieved at the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. The method produced a strong state, the heir to its Prussian predecessor. The King of Prussia became Emperor of the new Germany and Berlin, the Prussian capital, became the Imperial capital. This outcome met with some opposition in other parts of the new Reich. One crucial step in the process had been the Prussian-Austrian War of 1866 where military victory for Prussia ensured that Austria, although German-speaking, would not become part of a unified Germany. Instead, Austria remained until 1918 the administrative centre of the multi-national Austro-Hungarian Empire. This included not only the Magyars of Hungary but also large numbers of Slaves.

14 Harold Jack Simons (1907-95) - a Communist intellectual, author and renowned teacher who received a Ph.D. at the London School of Economics and lectured in African law and administration at UCT. He became a Communist c. 1934, while in London. He was tried for sedition following the 1946 African Mineworkers' strikes, a member of the CPSA Central Committee at its dissolution in 1950 and repeatedly banned in the 1950s. In 1965, banned from teaching, he and his wife, Ray Alexander Simons, went into exile for many years where they completed Class and Colour in South Africa. He taught at the University of Zambia and, after his retirement, at MK camps in Angola. A member of the ANC, he helped prepare a draft constitution for South Africa's democratic transition.

15 Both Simons and Forman based their work on Stalin's definition of a nation. Stalin's principal work on the subject is "Marxism and the National Question", first published in 1913. In this work he defines the characteristic features of a nation as "... a historically evolved, stable community, of language, territory, economic life and psychological make-up manifested in a community of culture. ... It is only when all these characteristics are present that we have a nation. ..." Despite their common starting point, Simons and Forman reflected two poles of thought within the SACP on the national question. .

16 Lionel Forman (1927-59) was from a white working-class background and became politicised at a young age. He joined the Jewish youth group Hashomer Hatzair but switched to the YCL when he was 15. He was a student activist at UCT and worked for The Guardian. In 1949 he began studying law at the University of the Witwatersrand. In the early 1950s he spent two years in Prague as a representative of Nusas, which he had convinced to retain its affiliation to the Prague-based International Union of Students. On his return to South Africa in 1954 Forman temporarily took over the editorship of Advance, whose pages he used to promote a discussion of the national question. He later edited New Age, and he wrote a number of short people's histories of the socialist and national liberation movements. Forman was very much an iconoclast within the SACP and a strong critic of its internal efforts to suppress critical thinking. This article was written around 1954. However, the dominant Party view considered it too controversial to publish at that time; and it was published in 1959 with the support of Ruth First. See Forman and Odendaal (1992).

17 1.1. Potekhin was a Soviet Africanist and the first Director of Moscow's Africa Institute. His mimeo, "Extract from 'The Formation of the South African Bantu into a National Community'" (c. 1953), circulated widely on the South African Left, and his ideas were very influential in the SACP. Potekhin and Forman corresponded on the national question. Potekhin argued against the "two camp" approach which dominated Soviet thinking from 1947 to the 1950s and which saw world politics polarised between anti-democratic imperialist forces and democratic, anti-imperialist forces. Initially, the two-camp ap­proach ruptured the earlier alliances between Communists and the national bourgeoisies or aspirant bourgeoisies of oppressed or colonial countries. Potekhin maintained that anti-imperialist struggles in oppressed nations entailed a revolutionary alliance of all classes and that in sub-Saharan Africa such alliances were led by the national bourgeoisie and intelligentsia. He believed that national consciousness reflected the aspirations of the social classes to which it was tied. In South Africa, he argued, African nationalism was developing along contradictory lines. In his view, Africans comprised a proletariat and a bourgeoisie which was permeated by anti-white race consciousness rather than the national conscious­ness necessary for self-government. But working class and Communist influence in liberation politico was growing in the post-war period, while the influence of the African bourgeoisie waned. As a result two tendencies were developing within the African national liberation movement: one, a movement towards a united anti-imperialist front and two, a movement towards a united African national conscious­ness. However, Anglo-Afrikaner imperialism artificially preserved feudal remnants in tribal form, which impeded the development of a single African nation; moreover, the linguistic basis for such unity did not yet exist. Despite the post-war efforts at joint activity by Africans, Indians and coloureds. South Africa was developing into two separate nations, with additional national groupings. Potekhin advised Africans to form one national front and organise against national oppression with other sectional groups.

18 The characterisation of the Soviet Union, India, Switzerland and China as multi-national federations is insufficient. The United States and Switzerland are often taken as classical examples of federalism, Where (1963:1) defines a federal government in the broadest sense as "... an association of states, which has been formed for certain common purposes, but in which the member states retain a large measure of their original independence". But he notes additional criteria (1963:46): firstly, a similarity of institutions in the federated states; secondly, the absence of autocracy or dictatorship, as that would "... destroy that equality of status and that independence which these states must enjoy, each in its own sphere, if federal government is to exist at all". Although in a constitutional sense, the four states all share traits of a federal as opposed to a unitary system, they vary greatly in the degree to which the federated republics are subordinated to a central power and to which power is devolved or decentralized.

19 For other documents of the Africanist Inaugural Convention which launched the PAC see Karis and Carter (1977a: 510-37).

20 Dr Nnandi Azikiwe (1904-96) was 'an American-educated leader of Nigeria's anti-colonial movement. In the 1930s he was involved with the Nigerian Youth Movement and the more radical West African Youth League, and he edited the influential West African Pilot. After World War Two he became Secretary and President of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons, preeminent nationalist Ӣ organisation of southern Nigeria. In 1960 he became the first Nigerian Governor-General of the Federation of Nigeria and from 1963 to '66 was President of the First Republic, until deposed by a coup d'etat. He helped negotiate an end to the Biafran civil war and later returned to party politics.

21 Tom Mboya (1930-69) was a Kenyan nationalist who began his career as a trade union leader. He was educated at Catholic mission schools and at Ruskin College, Oxford. In 1955 he became Secretary-General of the Kenyan Federation of Labour. He was a founder and Secretary-General of the Kenyan African National Union from 1960 until his assassination in 1969. He aligned himself with Jomo Kenyatta, and as Minister of Labour (1962-3), Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (1963-4) and Minister for Economic Planning and Development (1964-9) promoted his belief in free enterprise with state regulation.

22 Karis and Carter (1977:512) point out that the PAC began receiving financial assistance from China 1961 and that, when Sobukwe's address was reprinted in The Basic Documents of the Pan-Africanist Congress of South Africa in March 1965, the PAC deleted this sentence. In the late 1950s Mao Zedong put forward the slogans "Let a hundred flowers bloom" and "Let a hundred schools of thought contend". Their intention, he argued, was to promote the flourishing of the arts and sciences in conditions where, despite the ongoing building of socialism, the country retained social contradictions from the remnants of the bourgeoisie, landlord and comprador classes and urgently needed to speed up social and economic development.

23 George Padmore (1902-59) was a Trinidadian radical and Pan-Africanist who campaigned for African independence, unity and socialism. With C. L. R. James, he organised the International African Service Bureau. His book Pan-Africanism or Communism? The coming struggle for Africa reflected his disillusionment with orthodox Soviet Communism.

24 W. E. B. Dubois (1868-1963) was an African-American pan-Africanist, civil-rights advocate, historian and sociologist who studied at Fisk, Harvard and Berlin. A critic of Booker T. Washington's moderation in the U.S. civil-rights struggle, he helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He became a citizen of Ghana, where he spent his last years.

25 The "ex-engine driver" refers to Roland Welensky (1902-92), a Rhodesian politician born in Bulawayo who began working on the railways when he was 14 and was heavyweight-boxing champion from 1926 to '28. In 1933 he became leader of the Railway Workers' Union in Northern Rhodesia, founded the Northern Rhodesia Labour Party in 1941, and was appointed Director of Manpower. He held several ministerial appointments and was Prime Minister of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 1956 until its collapse in 1963. He opposed Rhodesia's UDI and unsuccessfully opposed Ian Smith before retiring.


Although the principal efforts to address South Africa's agrarian question and to organise in the reserves have come from socialists concerned with the revolutionary potential of the rural population, the socialist movement's theo­retical and practical attention to the agrarian question has been sporadic. The South African Left has been divided between a majority which prioritized the urban working-class movement and a minority which saw the agrarian question as the backbone of any social revolution. This dichotomy resulted in an oscillating practice between town and country. For the NEUM, the agrar­ian question was the alpha and omega of the South African revolution, in that the national and political aspirations of the African majority flowed from land hunger. Within the NEUM, the agrarian question became a subject of acute debate during the late 1950s. Although the SACP and the Congress Alliance were more urban-orientated, Communists likewise did important organising work in rural areas. The similar observations and analyses of rural protests made by socialists of different traditions are striking.