We are gathered here to pay homage to an outstanding leader of the African liberatory struggle, a comrade and friend who devoted most of his life in the service of his people, a communist of world prominence; a dedicated and convinced internationalist who has played an effective role in the anti-imperialist movement for world peace and security and for the social progress of mankind.
Loved and admired throughout our movement, `Doc` - as he was popularly known - combined the best qualities of a revolutionary patriot and dynamic leader of the working class. Because of his clear understanding of the factors underlying national oppression and economic exploitation of the black South African masses, he was able in his own unassuming manner, to guide and inspire others to commit themselves fully in the struggle for the noble ideals of freedom, democracy and a just social order. Most important of all, he led by example.
Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo was a first-born in a relatively well-to-do family. But material wealth had no attraction for him. He studied medicine, qualifying in Edinburgh University in 1936. On his return to South Africa, he started his medical practice amidst the poverty-stricken and starving victims of racial oppression and class exploitation. The focus of his preoccupation soon shifted from healing the sick to working for the abolition of the system by which an entire people suffered at the hands of a few. He turned his abundant talents and inexhaustible energies to the arena of political action - the struggle to resolve the fundamental question of political power and social justice in our country.
Thus in 1939 Yusuf was involved in a campaign of passive resistance against the pernicious segregation laws. With characteristic singleness of purpose, he pursued the question of struggle of all the downtrodden to its logical conclusion. And so he worked tirelessly to get the Indian people to see the solution to their own problems within the context of a broader national struggle involving Africans, so-called Coloureds and progressive whites.
In 1947 we see the Dadoo-Xuma-Naicker pact which served as a forerunner to the Congress Alliance. This was in line with his advice to his fellow Indians that "our place in a free South Africa is going to be decided by the role we continue to play in the liberation struggle... It is by fighting side by side with our African and Coloured brothers and sisters, it is by our persistent and perpetual resistance to apartheid, by our willingness to make the supreme sacrifice that we shall help to build a secure place for ourselves, our children and for all oppressed people in a free, democratic South Africa."
And yet it would be wrong to conceive of Comrade Dadoo only as a leader of the Indian community of our population. He was one of the foremost national leaders of our country, of the stature of Chief Luthuli, Moses Kotane, J.B. Marks, Bram Fischer, Nelson Mandela and others. Equally, it would be wrong to see him only in the context of political giants, for `Doc` was at home with the younger generation of comrades like Solomon Mahlangu, Simon Mogoerane and other youth militants, some of whom like Mahlangu have already paid the supreme sacrifice for the just cause of our entire people. This accessibility flowed from his friendly nature and simple disposition.
`Doc` did not impose himself on others and yet had clear convictions and was firm in defence of his principles. It is this streak of humility characteristic of his whole nature that most endeared `Doc` to our membership and reinforced their own commitment to the cause he served with unsurpassed dedication and distinction.
In 1955, the Congress of the People which adopted the Freedom Charter conferred on Dr. Dadoo, together with Chief Luthuli and Father Huddleston, the most prestigious award of our movement - Isitwalandwe-Seaparankoe. This was a fitting tribute to a man who had played an important role in shaping the revolutionary orientation of our entire movement towards the noble ideals of true revolutionary democracy for all the citizens of our future democratic state.
Following the ban of the African National Congress in 1960 and the increased onslaught of the regime on the liberation struggle, Dr. Dadoo was among those who were assigned the task of mobilising international support abroad. He has attended numerous meetings and travelled to many countries in the service of our people, of Africa and of world peace. But at no time did he break contact with the situation, the developments, and the people in South Africa.
In particular, after the Morogoro Consultative Conference in 1969, which adopted our current document on Strategy and Tactics, `Doc` became the Vice-Chairman of the Revolutionary Council which was created with the special task of organising, directing and intensifying the struggle inside our country. His contribution as a member of the Revolutionary Council of the African National Congress cannot possibly be overstated.
At the time of his death, Comrade Dadoo was serving as one of the Vice-Chairmen of the ANC Politico-Military Council, and has a distinct share in the escalating advances being scored by our struggle. We can truly say of him: He died spear in hand - like a true warrior.
Comrade Dadoo departs from our midst at a most crucial historical turning point in the struggle of our people. The level of our people`s political and military confrontation against the brutal apartheid regime has risen as never before, under conditions of heightened repression and fascist terror. The irresistible march of the super-exploited black working class, of the landless masses in the impoverished rural areas, and of the glorious youth and women continues to lay bare the irreconcilable contradictions of the apartheid system which continuously plunges headlong into an ever-deepening crisis.
At this moment when the regime seeks to divide our people with its ploy of a tripartite parliament, it is fitting to recall Comrade Dadoo`s precious legacy in his own words: "The lesson of our history is that the key to freedom is a united people, fighting for a single common goal - people`s power over every inch of indivisible South Africa. While deriving inspiration from the deeds and traditions of the past resistance, we must deepen the unifying national consciousness of all our people...which is a prerequisite for a nationwide uprising and victory along the lines of the Freedom Charter."
The love `Doc` had for his fellow human beings extended beyond the confines of his motherland, South Africa. As a true patriot, Dadoo understood already in the thirties that the struggle in South Africa is part of a much wider struggle against capitalism, colonialism and for national liberation, peace and social progress. We owe it to the stalwarts like him that today our vanguard liberation movement, the African National Congress, enjoys high international prestige as a genuine spokesman and leader of our people`s advance to the seizure of power.
Comrade Mota, as he was affectionately addressed by comrades-in-arms, believed in the unity of the socialist community of nations. He attached great importance to the role of the democratic, peace-loving forces of the Western world in the struggle for peace and progress. He worked tirelessly for the unity of these forces with the national liberation movement which together constituted the ever-advancing revolutionary process engulfing the majority of mankind.
It is against this background that Mota, characteristically devoted and dedicated to the revolutionary cause right to the end of his life and confident as ever of our inevitable victory, gave to us all his farewell message, his parting call - the last and the greatest, when, moments before his final breath, he declared: "The struggle must go on."
We assure you, Comrade Yusuf, the struggle will go on. Victory shall be ours. This grievous occasion brings us together less to mourn your tragic departure than to close ranks and advance, united, to the completion of your unfinished task.
In solemn tribute to this great son of our country, we dip our revolutionary banner. To his family and relations we express our sincerest condolences.
The memory and example of Yusuf Mota Dadoo will continue to inspire us till final victory and beyond.
Tsamaea Hantle Ngoaneso - Qhawe Lamaqhawe!