From the book: Freedom In Our Life Time by Anton Muziwakhe Lembede
14. "africanism," T.A.S.A. [Transvaal African Students' Association] Bulletin, 1, 2. (July 1944).
On the 9TH of April the inaugural meeting of the African Youth League working under the auspices of the African National Congress, was held. Among several brilliant and scholarly speeches, there was one by Mr. A. M. Lembede, B.A., LL.B., on "Africanism," which, in erudition, soared to Himalayan heights.
In his attempt to foster the spirit of nationalism and racial pride, the speaker first dealt with Africa as a continent. He mentioned that it was the mother continent from which America and Australia, according to geological and geographical evidence, must have broken away. The coloured races, he went on to say, were able to live in all types of climates in the torrid, temperate and frigid zones, and were therefore physically superior to the other races which could only live in the temperate zones. Africa's geographical position between the West and the East helped to produce men and women of balanced minds. The West emphasized knowledge and had made great strides in science. But this very knowledge had become self destructive because it enabled them to invent deadly weapons. The East emphasized the spiritual side of life. It was the East which had produced a Mohammed, a Buddha, a Christ; but it was that very spiritualism which had helped to keep the Easterners weak. The numerous religious castes were a negative factor in the progress of the Eastern nations. But Africa, lying between these two extremes, was able to imbibe the spiritualism of the East and the knowledge of the West and produce balanced Africans.
The speaker touched on South African history to focus the attention of the audience upon the sterling qualities of our national heroes. He mentioned men like Hintsa and Ntsikana who had tried for years, fighting against superior weapons, to hurl the White man into the sea. Shaka had tried, by means of the sword, in much the same way as Napoleon, to unite the Black races of Southern Africa. Moshesh, the strategist, had tried by means of kindness, to unite the Basuto tribes into one strong nation.”Š31
The speaker ended by saying that the Africans should not import from the West foreign ideologies that do not fit into their culture.
They should select only those things which would be helpful to Africans and adapt them to suit African conditions. The Youth League, therefore, aimed at evolving an ideology for Africans, and this would be neither Capitalism, nor Nazism, neither Socialism, nor Communism, but Africanism.
15. A. M. LEMBEDE, "Some Basic Principles of African Nationalism," llanga Use Natal, 24 February 1945.
(a) The Philosophical Basis: This can be stated by quoting the words of a famous American writer Thompson: "The materialistic conception of History that conceives of Man as essentially an economic animal ”” Communism ”” and the biological interpretation that conceives of him as a beast of Prey ”” Nazism ”” are false."”Š32”‰Man is body, mind and spirit with needs, desires and aspiration in all three elements of his nature. History is a record of humanity's striving for complete self-realisation.
(b) The Scientific Basis; Charles Darwin the eminent and famous scientist pointed out the profound significance of the law of variation in Nature. One can never find two leaves of plants that are exactly and in all respects the same, nor two stems nor two flowers, nor two animals, nor two human beings nor two nations. Each nation has thus its own peculiar contribution to make towards the general progress and welfare of Mankind. In other words each nation has its own divine mission. Think for instance of the contribution made by the Greeks (Science and philosophy) Romans (law and politics) Jews (Christian religion and technology) French (modern democracy) English (spread of Western civilisation among Non-Europeans throughout the world) Germans (modern science) Russians (modern economic theories) etc. etc. and Africans. "Ex Africa semper quid novi." From Africa always comes something new, said an ancient Latin writer.
(c) Historical basis: It was Paul Kruger who in the gloomy days of the Transvaal Republic said "Wie zich een toekomst scheppen wil, mag het verleden niet uit het oog verliezen." ["Whoever wishes to shape the future should not forget the past."]”Š33
"One who wants to create the future must not forget the past." These are words of deep human wisdom. We, Africans, have still to erect monuments to commemorate the glorious achievements of our great heroes of the past e.g. Shaka, Moshoeshoe, Hintsa, Sikhukhuni, Khama, Sobhuza, Mozilikazi etc. In their times of environment and under the circumstances in which they hved, these men served their people and did their duty nobly and well. "Lives of great [men] all remind us."”Š34
(d) Economic Basis: the fundamental structure of Bantu society is socialistic. There was, for instance, no individual ownership of land in ancient Bantu society. There were no landlords or the so called "absentee" land-lords. Land belonged virtually to the whole tribe and nominally to the King or Chief. Socialism is then our valuable legacy from our ancestors. Our task is to develop this socialism by the infusion of new and modern socialistic ideas.
(e) Democratic Basis: In ancient Bantu society the worth of a man was not assessed by wealth. Any man could rise to any position e.g. of Induna or Captain or general by the virtue of the qualities of courage and ability which were possessed by such man. In our councils or khotlas any citizen could take part in discussions and if a case was being tried anyone could ask questions and cross-examine the accused.35The main point is the assessment of human value by moral and spiritual qualities. This is a legacy to be preserved, developed and highly treasured in our hearts.
(f) Ethical Basis: The ethical system of our forefathers was based on ancestor worship. People did certain things or refrained from doing certain things for fear of punishments by the spirits of dead ancestors. We must retain and preserve the belief in the immortality of the spirits of our ancestors but our ethical system today has to be based on Christian morals since there is nothing better anywhere in the world. Morality is the soul of society. Decay and decline of morals brings about the decay and decline of society ”” so History teaches. It is only African Nationalism or Africanism that can save the African people. Long live African Nationalism.
16. A. M. LEMBEDE, "Know Thyself," Bantu World, 30 June 1945 Know thyself:
These few words pithily synthesise or epitomise the teaching of the ancient Greek philosopher ”” Socrates ”” who lived about 400 B.C.
A puzzled, bewildered person may ask: "But why should I know myself? Can't I infer knowledge about myself from the knowledge I have of humanity in general? or from the knowledge of my friends ”” John, Dick, Lucy and Kate?" The answer is crisply immediate and dogmatic: "No you can't." Although you have much in common with your friends John, Dick, Lucy and Kate ”” yet you have in your own make-up or inner character something peculiar to yourself which no other human being possesses in the whole cosmos. "Know Thyself."
As it is with individuals, so it is with nations. Each nation has its own peculiar unique character which no other nation in the world possesses or can possess. Each nation has thus its own peculiar talents and potentialities to develop and to realise. Each nation has its own peculiar contribution to make towards the general progress, welfare and happiness of mankind. This eternal law of variations and individual differences among organisms and species was re-discovered and re-emphasized by Charles Darwin about 2,000 years after Socrates.
It is therefore crystal clear that the inevitable conclusion from the above stated propositions is that: it is beyond all limits of possibility that all nations of the world can welcome, accept or adopt one ideology, set of philosophic ideas, or outlook on life. Let us illustrate and support our assertion by a few examples.
The Christian [sic] church has vigorously endeavoured to spread and disseminate its doctrines throughout the world. Has it succeeded? No. In Russia, Christian teaching has been practically done away with, and the door has been shut to the church. In India, China, Japan the Christian church has made very little impression. The same may, of course be said of other religions such as Mohamedanism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Some individuals and nations seem to be impervious to certain religious teachings.
For the last century England and France have been labouring energetically in an attempt to extend, spread and popularise democracy all over the world; sometimes they even went to the extent of forcing it upon other nations. It does not need scholastic learning of History to know that their attempt has not been successful. Fancy what a mockery democracy is in South Africa.
Any comment here is superfluous as the disaster suffered by those who tried to force fascism on the world, is still fresh in our memories.
It stands to reason, that any attempt to force or spread communism among all nations of the world will unavoidably meet a similar fate and doom. It will undoubtedly prove fruitless and abortive. What then is the solution to this baffling problem?
Common sense suggests a simple solution ”” namely that each nation must realise its own potentialities, develop its own talents and retain its own peculiar character, for the benefit of the whole Human Race.
"But" one may retort. "Civilisations grow by borrowing and assimilating some useful material from other civilisations and nations."
Quite so. But there Is a difference between "borrowing and assimilating" and "being borrowed and assimilated." Yes, the difference may be subtle but it is vast and fundamental.
Africans too, cannot be mere doers and imitators of other nations and their ideologies. Africans can borrow and assimilate what Is good from elsewhere but they must at all costs retain and determinedly preserve their own essential character and Identity. This is the basic teaching of Africanism and is in line with the ideas of great thinkers, for, with a few exceptions, Socrates and Darwin are the highest peaks of human intelligence. KNOW THYSELF.
17. A. M. LEMBEDE, "National Unity Among Africans," Ilangalase Natal, 6 October 1945
The fact that Unity among African tribes is a sine qua non and a prerequisite condition to National Liberation and progress cannot be gain said.
This fact becomes plain and indubitable when we consider the approximate populations of various countries of the world as follows: ”” U.S.A. (130,000,000), Japan (80,000,000), Russia (93,000,000), Germany (80,000,000), England (41,000,000), France (40,000,000), India (350,000,000), China (550,000,000). What is the Union of South Africa with her 10,000,000 inhabitants compared to the above countries?
The necessity for National unity becomes patent and self-evident when one ponders over the approximate populations of some African tribes in South Africa as follows: Xosas [sic] (2,000,000), Zulus (1,500,000), Basuthos [sic] (3,000,000), Swazis (25,000). What can the Xosas alone or Zulus alone or Basuthos alone achieve in comparison with the above-mentioned nations of the world? But in Africa as a whole there are over 150,000,000 Africans, and this compares favourably with other large countries of the world e.g. U.S.A. and Russia. What is then the right way to Unity and Solidarity among African tribes?
(a) ONE LANGUAGE: Some people imagine that if all African Tribes could speak one language then Unity would be a fait accompli. Yes, it is quite true that a single language exercises a unifying influence on a people. But it is not decisive and fundamental. The Swiss Nation speak three languages ”” German, French, Italian. The Danes and Norwegians speak the same language but they are two different nations; as well as England and U.S.A. If this fact of the power of language were true, then those nations who speak closely related languages would be friendly to one another but it is not necessarily so. Take for instance the Italians, French, and Spaniards; the Chinese and Japanese; the Germans and the Dutch; English itself is a Germanic language.
(b) COLOUR: People of the same colour do sometimes regard themselves as members of the same herd. But this feeling of reiatedness is only skin-deep. Otherwise how can we explain the spirit of animosity and national apartness between e.g. the French and the Germans; the Chinese and Japanese? No, the skin is not a decisive factor in nationhood.
(c) INHABITING ONE AND THE SAME COUNTRY: People who live in one and the same Geographical Region tend to be one and homogeneous. But this does not always succeed in creating a nation, as witness, the Dutch and English in South Africa.
(d) COMMON ORIGIN: This does bind and cement peoples but the bond of the cement becomes weaker and weaker with the roll of centuries. We see this illustrated all over the world. What should then be the basis of National Unity?
(e) DOMINATION BY THE SAME SPIRIT: Every Geographical Region is different from other regions climatically, topographically etc. Each region is geographically peculiar and unique. All plants and animals must adapt themselves to a particular region in order to survive. This includes man. In other words plants, animals and man must breathe the spirit of their environment in order to continue living. A region may be a continent. Africa is a region. Now from time immemorial Africa has developed her own peculiar plants, animals and man ”” the African Native or Aborigine.
The African Natives then live and move and have their being in the spirit of Africa, in short, they are one with Africa. It is then this spirit of Africa which is the common factor of co-operation and the basis of unity among African tribes. It is African Nationalism or Africanism. So that all Africans must be converted from tribalism into African Nationalism which is a higher step or degree of the self expression and self-realisation of the African spirit. Africa through her spirit is using us to develop that higher quality of Africanism.
We have to go out as apostles to preach the New Gospel of Africanism and to hasten and bring about the birth of a new nation. Such minor insignificant differences of languages, customs etc. will not hinder or stop the irresistible onward surge of the African spirit. This African spirit can realise itself through, and be interpreted by, Africans only. Foreigners of whatever brand and hue can never properly and correctly interpret this spirit owing to its uniqueness, peculiarity and particularity.
18. A. M. LEMBEDE, "Policy of the Congress Youth League," Inkundla ya Bantu, May 1946
The history of modern times is the history of nationalism. Nationalism has been tested in the people's struggles and the fires of battle and found to be the only effective weapon the only antidote against foreign rule and modern imperialism. It is for that reason that the great imperialistic powers feverishly endeavour with all their might to discourage and eradicate all nationalistic tendencies among their alien subjects; for that purpose huge and enormous sums of money are lavishly expended on propaganda against nationalism which is dubbed, designated or dismissed as "narrow," "barbarous," "uncultured," "devilish," etc. Some alien subjects become dupes of this sinister propaganda and consequently become tools or instruments of imperialism for which great service they are highly praised, extolled and eulogized by the imperialistic power and showered with such epithets as "cultured," "liberal," "progressive," "Broadminded," etc.
All over the world nationalism is rising in revolt against foreign domination, conquest and oppression in India, in Indonesia, in Egypt, in Persia and several other countries. Among Africans also clear signs of national awakening, national renaissance or rebirth are noticeable on the far-off horizon.
A new spirit of African nationalism or Africanism is pervading through and stirring the African society. A young virile nation is in the process of birth and emergence. The national movement imbued with and animated by the national spirit is gaining strength and momentum. The African National Congress Youth League is called upon to aid and participate in this historical process. African nationalism is based on the following cardinal principles.
1. Africa is a blackman's country. Africans are the natives of Africa and they have inhabited Africa, their Motherland, from times immemorial; Africa belongs to them.
2. Africans are one. Out of the heterogeneous tribes, there must emerge a homogeneous nation. The basis of national unity is the nationalistic feeling of the Africans, the feeling of being Africans irrespective of tribal connection, social status, educational attainment or economic class. This nationalistic feeling can only be realised in and interpreted by [a] national movement of which all Africans must be members.
3. The Leader of the Africans will come out of their own loins. No foreigner can ever be a true and genuine leader of the African people because no foreigner can ever truly and genuinely interpret the African spirit which is unique and peculiar to Africans only. Some foreigners Asiatic or European who pose as African leaders must be categorically denounced and rejected. An African must lead Africans. Africans must honour, venerate and find inspiration from African heroes of the past, Shaka, Moshoeshoe, Makana, Hintsa, Khama, Mzilikazi, Sekhukhuni, Sobhuza and many others.
4. Co-operation between Africans and other Non-Europeans on common problems and issues may be highly desirable. But this occasional co-operation can only take place between Africans as a single unit and other non-European groups as separate units. Non-European unity is a fantastic dream which has no foundation in reality.
5. The divine destiny of the African people is National Freedom. Unless Africans achieve national freedom as early as possible they will be confronted with the impending doom and imminent catastrophe of extermination; they will not be able to survive the satanic forces economic, social and political, unleashed against them. Africans are being mowed down by such diseases as tuberculosis, typhus, venereal diseases etc. Infantile mortality is tremendously high. Moral and physical degeneration is assuming alarming dimensions. Moral and spiritual degeneration manifests itself in such abnormal and pathological phenomena as loss of self-confidence, inferiority complex, a feeling of frustration, the worship and idolisation of whitemen, foreign leaders and ideologies. All these are symptoms of a pathologicalstate of mind.
As a result of the educational and industrial colour bar, young African men and women are converted into juvenile delinquents.
Now the panacea of all these ills is National Freedom. In as much as, when Africans are free, they will be in a position to pilot their own ship and, unhampered, work toward their own destiny and, without external hindrance or restriction devise ways and means of saving or rescuing their perishing race.
Freedom is an indispensable condition for all progress and development. It will only be when Africans are free that they will be able to exploit fully and bring to fruition their divine talent and contribute something new towards the general welfare and prosperity of Mankind; and it will only be then that Africans will enter on a footing of equality with other nations of the world into the commonwealth of nations; and only then will Africans occupy their rightful and honourable place among the nations of the world.
(6) Africans must aim at national progress or advancement. We must guard against the temptation of lop-sided or one-sided progress. Our forces as it were, must march forward in a co-ordinated manner and in all theatres of the war socially, educationally, culturally, morally, economically, and politically. Hence the Youth League must be all-inclusive.
(7) After national freedom, then, socialism. Africans are naturally socialistic as illustrated in their social practices and customs. The achievement of national liberation will therefore herald or usher in a new era of African socialism. Our immediate task however is not socialism but national liberation.
Our Motto: Freedom In Our Lifetime.
19. A. M. LEMBEDE, "National Units," Ilanga lase Natal, 18 May 1946
There is practically some unanimity and consensus of opinion amongst African leaders concerning the necessity of National Unity among Africans. The realisation that National Unity is a prerequisite condition, a sine qua non of National Freedom has gained ground considerably. But there still prevails immense confusion as to the mode or method of achieving it. After reading this article I hope this confusion will evaporate and disappear like the morning mist.
Our National Unity then consists of two essential elements namely Tribal synthesis and organisational or ideological solidarity.
(a) Tribal Synthesis ”” by this we mean the creation of a homogenous nation out of heterogeneous tribes. History is a process ”” ever moving, ever changing, ever developing. Even before the advent of Europeans into this country, tribal synthesis was in the process of developing. It would be achieved by force of arms, by the spear. Shaka is a good example of an African who was inspired by the flaming passion to unify the whole of black Africa, through the instrumentality of the spear. He succeeded excellently in Natal. This process of growth and development was interrupted or rather diverted by the arrival of Europeans. It was not stopped however because Europeans brought with them a new driving force, a new mainspring of tribal synthesis namely oppression. This force is now carrying on where Shaka left off. Africans today, owing to common suffering, are outgrowing and transcending the primitive, narrow, petty tribal limits and differences and are recognising themselves and one another as Africans, first and foremost. In other words Africanism is striking root and the feeling of consanguinity and fraternity is growing apace. Only a few dwarfish stunted and antiquated individuals still cling tenaciously to tribalism, but they are far behind times and their influence will gradually wane and vanish as the great march of the African people moves forward by leaps and bounds.
(b) Organisational Solidarity - We may achieve tribal synthesis and yet still lack national unity. This phenomenon occurs when a nation is divided or split organisationally or ideologically. This deplorable state of affairs naturally leads to internecine strifes and civil wars, as witness, the recent civil wars in Spain and China.
Some African Leaders whose beclouded minds are specially framed for the perversion of truth and misinterpretation of reality believe, for instance that African National Unity can be achieved by conglomerating, building or crowding together such organisations as the African National Congress, African Democratic Party,”Š36”‰Fourth International,”Š37”‰Communist Party etc. They naively believe and frivolously maintain that these organisations can work harmoniously together. That is nothing other than childish simplicity. That harmonious co-operation cannot be achieved among and between these warring organisations has been manifestly demonstrated by the failure and fiasco of the re-cent Anti-Pass Campaign.
How then can Unity be achieved in this case? In this case Unity can be achieved only through one of the organisations gaining power and ascendancy over others and finally destroying and annihilating all the others. This is the only way which has been well proved in practice and extensively utilised by Nature herself. Organisational and ideological Unity for us can only be found in one single movement ”” the National Movement.
In conclusion we must re-emphasise that tribal synthesis and organisational and ideological solidarity are essential and indispensable for national unity.
It will only be after we have achieved our national unity and gained our freedom that we shall be able to enter on a footing of equality with other nations of the world into the International society or commonwealth of nations.
20. A. M. LEMBEDE, "In Defence of Nationalism," Inkundla ya Bantu, 2.7 February 1947.
"My reaction to India was often an emotional one ... It took the form of nationalism. . . . nationalism was and is inevitable in the India of my day; it is a natural and healthy growth. For any subject country national freedom must be the first and dominant urge. Recent events all over the world have demonstrated that the notion that nationalism is fading away before the impact of internationalism and proletarian movement has little truth," (Jawaharlal Nehru: The Discovery of India, 1945, page 32.).”Š38”‰This unique statement made by one of the greatest men of modern times, is pregnant with profound significance for all Africans for, by substituting "Africa" for "India" this statement would apply aptly and crisply to African Nationalism or Africanism.
African Nationalism (which by the way has become a nightmare to some prominent liberal European and African politicians in this country) will sweep away all vestiges of tribalism and unify all Africans. The tie that will bind all Africans together under the banner of Africanism will be the passionate and glowing love for Africa ”” our motherland ”” and her Freedom. Mazzini,”Š39”‰appealing to his countrymen in 1848 said: "Love your country. Your country ts the land where your parents sleep, where is spoken that language in which the chosen of your heart, blushing, whispered the first word of love; it is the home which God has given you, that by striving to perfect yourselves therein, you may prepare to ascend to Him. It is your name; your glory, your sign among the people. Give to it your thoughts, your counsels, your blood. Raise it up great and beautiful ”” and see that you leave it uncontaminated by any trace of falsehood or servitude; unprofaned by dismemberment." Oh! if these inspiring words could sink and soak into our minds and hearts!
African Nationalism is to be pursued with the fanaticism and bigotry of religion, for it is the only creed that will dispel and disperse the inferiority complex which blurs our sight and darkens our horizon. The inferiority complex is a psychological malady; the opium that dulls our mental faculties and represses our physical energy.'We must therefore verily believe that we are inferior to no other race on earth; that Africa and ourselves are one, that we have a divine mission of unifying and liberating Africa thus enabling her to occupy her rightful and honourable place amongst the nations of the world. We must develop race pride.
The dynamic human energy that will be released by African nationalism will be more powerful and devastating in its effects than the atomic energy.
21. A. M. LEMBEDE, "African Nationalism and the New African Masses," llanga lase Natal, 2.1 June 1947.
Nationalism is essentially an ideology of the masses because it stirs the deepest human feelings. The African masses today are becoming imbued with the spirit of nationalism. This can be clearly seen in the new tendencies and orientation of the African National Congress. The African people through African National Congress have fully supported the indefinite adjournment of the Native Representative Council and have categorically rejected the recent Smuts' tentative proposals to the six members of the Native Representative Council at Cape Town and have taken a grave decision to boycott all future elections under the Native Representative Act of 1936. In rural areas Africans demand more land and strongly resists Government plans for the limitation of stock. In urban areas, through the shanty town movements, Africans demand more land on which to build their own houses. At last there is likely to emerge a concerted struggle of the African Urban and Rural populations. The cry of both is "we want land."
This demand for more land forms the basis for the more urgent and pressing demand for national freedom and liberation that is, for full franchise and citizenship in the land of our birth.
Today Africans are threatened or menaced by the hideous spectre of gradual but certain extermination as a race. Ravaging diseases such as T.B. [tuberculosis] claim about 30,000 Africans victims every year."”Š40”‰Infantile mortality is so high that about half of all the children born die in infancy. The African Society stands in danger of social and moral disintegration caused by immorality and hooliganism which are assuming disquieting proportions. About one-fourth of the African people constitute the temporary or permanent prison population. All these things are symptoms of social ills or pathological state of the present Bantu Society caused by political oppression and economic exploitation of the Africans, by the so-called "trustees of the African people." There is only one cure for all these ills namely the overthrow of oppression in this country and the free participation of Africans in the government of the land. When Africans achieve their national freedom and are able to legislate and make laws for themselves all these ills and anomalies will vanish into thin air like a morning mist.
Europeans are closing ranks in order to intensify and defend the policy of colour segregation and discrimination in this country, and in order to ward off what they style the African menace to "White Civilisation" e.g. the Malan-Havenga co-operation pact.”Š41”‰This is a serious challenge to Africans also to close ranks and stand together. Away with tribalism! Away with the multiplicity of African organisations. The African National Congress must negotiate with the All-African Convention"”Š42”‰and other purely African Organisations for closer co-operation. All purely African organisations which do not differ in principle ought to march forward together either in unity or partnership.
"White Civilisation" as understood by the Whites in South Africa namely Colour Superiority, discrimination and oppression, has no future in Africa; but Western Culture and civilisation in the form of science, art, philosophy, has a longer future than we can imagine in this continent, for, the latter, although to a great extent developed by Europeans, is yet a legacy, a heritage of the whole human race. It is the common property of humanity as a whole. No section of Mankind has the right selfishly to keep or reserve this to it self.
African Nationalism then aims at a united progressive respectably African nation. Its forward march is inevitable and irresistible, in the words of Pandit Nehru:"To defend the Status Quo is to surrender."
Africans must move forward to freedom
"Die tyd vir mooipraat is verby,
En mooipraat is nie meet die plan;
'n Plekkie in die son vir my ””
Die regte van'n vrye man!"43
22. A. M. LEMBEDE, "Why General Smuts' Proposals Will Be Rejected," African Advocate, July 1947.
Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, defined man as a "rational animal." Man is an animal, but only distinguished from other animals by his possession of mind, intellect or reason. The most scientific definition of man still stands unchanged today. It is thus evident that skin pigmentation is not the essence of man. In South Africa, however, more than in any other country in the World, the colour of man's skin is worshipped, idolised and adopted as an essential mark or criterion of human superiority and inferiority. The philosophy of colour-worship has no scientific foundation whatsoever. It is a nefarious, devilish ideology which at present is unfortunately dominating and holding sway over the minds of most Europeans in this country. Africans are, according to this ideology, regarded as inferior creatures, incapable of higher education, of helping themselves, of governing themselves, and even of knowing what is good for themselves. In short, Africans are looked upon as ape-men, imbeciles, infants, [and] barbarians. Hence the colour-bar laws of the Union, aiming at colour discrimination, oppression of and discrimination against Africans. This is euphemistically called Trusteeship. Now this colour ideology is a serious menace to the existence or survival of Africans as a race. According to my conservative estimation, the African population of the Union shall be wiped off or exterminated within 5000 years from today.
Where are the Bushmen.'' Where are the Hottentots [sic]? There are already visible unmistakable signs and indications that [they] are a dying, a disappearing, a perishing race.
Physical deterioration, high infantile mortality, high general death rate (Tuberculosis and venereal diseases), moral and social decay and disintegration of Bantu society (loose morals, hooliganism, Juvenile delinquency), gross illiteracy, dire poverty ”” all these phenomena point in one direction: extinction of the Bantu race.
Dr. Gluckman, Minister of Health, recently pointed out that tuberculosis is caused by poor economic and social living conditions, but did not suggest a remedy to ameliorate this heart-rending state of affairs. The remedy is of course obvious. Africans must achieve political freedom and be directly represented in all state organs that make laws so as to make laws to facilitate their own economic advancement and for their own social security. Only by that remedy can the African race be served or reserved.
Such measures as are suggested by the Prime Minister will only accelerate and not even delay our approaching racial disaster and extermination.
In order to secure the continued existence or survival of Africans as a people the colour ideology must be smashed and overthrown. The grim struggle for the overthrow of this ideology will demand of us an unshakeable will-power and resolute determination with an unwavering [faith] in our divine destiny which is national freedom. Should we fail or falter in this gigantic struggle, then our future generation[s] will pass a verdict of guilt on us. We shall be cursed by our children.
Non-European races all over the world are clamoring for freedom ”” India, Indonesia, Egypt, Madagascar. Gandhi has already cautioned Europe that the future of mankind does not lie with the white races. If Africans strive for national liberation, they are therefore participating in a colossal struggle for human freedom and they are comrades in arms of the majority of the human race.
The last session of the UNO [United Nations] already demonstrated that the era of colour domination and discrimination has passed never to return. White South Africa is disillusioned with and embittered against this new international attitude to the religion of colour-worship.
She is weeping on the ruins of the past. It appears that General Smuts is preparing for the next Uno session next September and he wants to convince the "prejudiced" "ill-informed" outside world as to how much the Union has done for the Natives. We maintain that the world must know the truth. We want no "bone to chew." We want meat. We are not dogs.
General Smuts proposes to give the N.R.C. Executive powers. In other words, we are being asked to commit suicide, to administer our own self-destruction or oppression under the existing colour-bars of the Country.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister intends to invest the Native Representative Council with powers to control and administer the Native reserves. Everyone knows that the Government ts rapidly becoming unpopular in the reserves because instead of providing more land, [it] is calling upon the people to limit their stock. Hence, the delegation of this unpleasant task to the Natives themselves.
Again the action of conferring upon the Natives' Representative Council extensive powers to administer or govern reserves will deal a battering blow to the powers and prestige of African Chiefs in the reserves.
Moreover the plea of a Government within a Government or of two parallel Governments within the same state, is a political absurdity. The shortest line between two points is [a] straight line. Let the Prime Minister amend the South Africa Act so as to include Africans as Council citizens of South Africa with full franchise. That is all. Oh! Almighty God! how long shall we be humiliated, insulted and sworn at because of our colour which you giver of all gifts ”” gave to us?
23. "last message of LATE MR. A. M. LEMBEDE, MA., LL.B.," African Advaocate , August/September, 1947.
Addressing a gathering in Leake Hall, Orlando, on Sunday, 27th June, 1947, at a reception organised by the A.N.C.Y.L. in honour of Mr. A. Mda, B.A., lecturer at the Roma University and formerly organising secretary of the Congress Youth League, Mr. A. Lembede,
M.A., LL.B., recalled the stirring words of a great scholar and publicist: "Man is born free," he said, "and everywhere he is in chains.”Š44”‰"The history of Mankind," Mr. Lembede continued, "is the history of the liberation of Mankind."
"Throughout the ages, man has fought and struggled to free himself from one kind of serfdom or another. The history of man to emancipate himself from slavery by man is well known. It is the story of Europe after the French Revolution, of England after 12.15, of South Africa after 1833, of Russia after 1917, of India, Egypt and Indonesia to-day.
" Mr. Lembede pointed out that man is still in bondage to a colour slavery from which it becomes the duty of man to liberate himself still. "In Africa this bondage to colour slavery is attendant with complexes of superiority and inferiority, complexes and contentions that are grave to the African himself.
"Nature has endowed the African with all the elements of power, of creation and of nobility."
"It is the duty of the African, who at one time was judged by those who professed knowledge, to be incapable of attaining to a J.C.[Junior Certificate] academic standard, not to allow himself to be swamped by the tide of doctrines of inferiority.
"The African has passed his J.C, his Matriculation, and, like Mr. Mda to whom we pay tribute to-day, the African has succeeded in his degree examinations, in Arts, in Science, in Law."
"Africa must, after what has been a long lull, surge forward to conquer knowledge and the World."
"The roots of civilisation are deep in the soil of Africa. Egypt is the cradle of civilisation not only in the sciences but even in the matter of shaving. Hannibal, conqueror and polygamist, had three black African wives; Moses married an African; neither Europe nor Asia is devoid of African blood. Christ himself, at a young age, found protection in Africa. On His way to Calvary his support came from Africa.
"Africans have played a role in history, a role that now they cannot deny themselves of or be denied. Here is a vision: "To fight for liberation, to fight in defence of the greatness and nobility of the sons and daughters of Africa.