Good evening, fellow countrymen...
On this, the eve of June 26th, South Africa Freedom Day, which we all observe annually, I greet you in the name of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, and of its leaders and militants in South Africa, in Rivonia, Pretoria, Loukop and other fascist jails in the country and in Rhodesia. I greet you in name of the entire liberation movement, and in the name of all our people and of the ANC and its cadres.
We salute our brothers, comrades-in-arms, and the world's progressive forces, with whom we together form one united and mighty fighting front. We greet and salute the liberation movements fighting in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and other parts of the world. We have reason to be proud of the achievements which we together have scored in recent times. We congratulate our brothers in particular for the victories they have won; particularly our brothers fighting against Portuguese colonialism.
Friends, there is a red thread that has run unbroken throughout the course of our glorious history of the past 300 years, whatever the year and whatever the conditions and form of manifestation of that history. That thread has been the thread of struggle by our people, first to defend the independence of their country against foreign marauders, slave drivers, usurpers and colonisers; and later to secure their freedom from domination and oppression by a white minority regime. This is the essence and significance of June 26. It means that in struggle, and only in struggle, is freedom and independence to be found...
Undaunted, the people created Umkhonto we Sizwe, the fighting arm of the national liberation struggle. A new era of struggle had opened up...
An International Issue
Thanks to the world-wide movement we have built since June 26, 1950, the colonialists and racists are being rapidly encircled by the mighty forces of freedom and independence. The proponents of racism, apartheid, separate development - whatever the enemy may call it - have much cause to be worried...
In the final analysis, the issue between us and our rulers in South Africa is an international issue. It is an issue between those who want to see the world as a community of peoples living together in peace, whose natural resources and wealth belongs to all who live in that world - it is the issue which divides these people from those who believe in injustice and in exploitation of man by man and the domination of nations by others; in the rule of the minorities over the majorities of people; in the exploitation of the many by the few: in short, in inhumanity and injustice...
We are a part, therefore, of the forces of the world that seek justice. We fight for these, for peace, for a non-racial, ultimately non-national, world society, a society without class...
In the Middle East, the issues arise from the dispossession of the Palestinians. That problem stands unresolved; but in the process it has sparked off a series of wars. The October war is hardly likely to be the last until this crucial problem of a landless, homeless, countryless people is resolved.
In Africa, for ten, eleven, thirteen years and more, people under Portuguese domination, who have lived and suffered the presence of this regime for almost 500 years, rose in struggle. Until then, "Portugal" was a geographic term unknown to most people. But when they picked up their weapons and went into the bush and confronted the colonialists, only then did the world awaken to the fact that there was a country dominated, almost ruined, its people butchered and killed, imprisoned, tortured by the PIDE, the merciless fascist Salazar-Caetano regime, which spared neither African nor Portuguese. But not until the Mozambicans and the Angolans and Guinea-Bissau took to arms, did the world know these people existed - and then the world rallied round them; and in ten years, 500 years of Portuguese rule in Africa is beginning to crumble. Guinea-Bissau was unknown until then.
It is the same with us. We have been known in the days when we complained about apartheid and racial discrimination, but we ceased to be known when this remained our sole complaint. But what are we aiming at? We are not fighting simply to remove racial discrimination. The main issue of our revolutionary struggle is the transfer of power from the minority to the majority of the people of our country; and it is when we fight as determinedly as we can and as we have, and as we are known to be capable of, that the world will not only know of our presence, but will support us in the way that it has supported the people of Vietnam, the people fighting against Portuguese colonialism.
South Africa Becoming Encircled
And when I say South Africa is becoming encircled, perhaps it is necessary to demonstrate this by reference to their own objectives. In this relationship of international dimensions between the haves and the have-nots, between the oppressors and the oppressed, the racists and their victims, South Africa has sought, with her supporters, to maintain the status quo, to permit of no change. And she has proceeded firstly by imposing internal repression of everything that expresses freedom in the country, anything and everything that is related to the liberation of our people. We have been cut off as a people from the rest of the world, and subjected to perhaps the most intensive and repressive machinery that obtains anywhere in Africa, which is equalled possibly by few places outside of Africa. This is to contain the kind of revolution which draws international support, and which, in the case of Vietnam, helped to chase United States imperialism out of Vietnam and Asia, and which is helping to dispel and to dismiss, expel, Portuguese colonialism from Africa.
It is therefore the first task of the South African regime to fight every square inch of ground which leads the liberation movement towards the freedom and liberty of our people. Simultaneously, the South African regime has embarked on an expansionist policy, an invasion outside of its borders, harassing independent African States, helping the repression of our brothers in Mozambique, in Zimbabwe, in Angola, fighting the guerrillas in Namibia; and in the meantime, spreading a creeping network of spies, informers and agents, under the direction of the now-notorious BOSS, the South African equivalent of the DGS. This machinery starts from South Africa itself, from house to house, family to family, and permeates the entire subcontinent. It explains what happened to Abraham Tiro and to John Dube (Adolphus Mvemve). The bombs that exploded in their faces were not unrelated to the BOSS network. We know they were only the beginning. There have been no new assassinations as yet, but this is on the agenda of struggle...
What about the use of our people in South Africa and abroad? The trouble here is the bantustan system. This is a serious matter. It is not failing yet. It gives us much cause for concern, because it is the Vietnamisation of our struggle. It is using what they contemptuously call the "Bantu" to destroy our future. "The Bantu" is a contemptuous term no less than "kaffir". It is these "kaffirs", "natives", "Bantus", who are now being used to break up our people, to reduce us into a minority, to ensure our perpetual enslavement. This is a serious problem...
For the moment, there is another in which we are not quite succeeding: the campaign to cut off foreign investments in South Africa. Here we are failing also because of our own people, whom the world is supposed to be supporting, who are going out to say, do not kill us with your kindness. To say: We are happy even with our own exploitation. What is the world to say to this kind of person who claims to come from South Africa, and to know the conditions better than Alfred Nzo or Gertie Shope or Ray Simons? What is the world to do?...
The whole situation, taken as a whole, reveals the correctness of the statements I have made, that there is growing encirclement.
Change of Tactics
I must mention one factor of importance which relates to South African strategy. It is not as if, when the situation changes against this regime, it sits and waits for a miracle to happen. Imperialism does not behave that way. It changes its own tactics, and since the coup in Portugal many a tactic has changed. One of them has been to speak as if South Africa is on friendly terms with black States after all, and is ready to work with any black government, in Mozambique or anywhere else. Under cover of this peaceful statement, they are building up their forces along the borders, and they have brought them up to the borders of Zambia. They are packing them along the whole border in the northeastern Transvaal.
They are getting ready to perform the Israeli type of operation on the rest of southern Africa. They are encouraged in this step by those who have an interest, and had an interest in the first instance, in the continuance of Portuguese colonialism, white minority rule in Rhodesia, and colonialism, racism, and economic exploitation in South Africa.
A bantustan "State", perforated with numerous interlinking and scattered blots of allegedly white territory, and having no identifiable and continuous territorial boundary, is an incredible and unimaginable absurdity, incapable of acceptance by even the most inane of men. What makes Vorster persist in this absurdity is that it serves the serious demands of political and military strategy, and masks his true intentions about the so-called independence of the bantustans.
In any case, whether the bantustans' territory is consolidated or not, it is unthinkable that any African could cede or sign away the historic and inalienable rights of our people to ownership of the whole country by accepting a so-called international boundary.
The bantustans are intended to serve as part of the machinery of super-exploitation of the workers, to be operated with the cooperation of the bantustan authority whose function is to serve as a shock-absorber of mass African revolt against the regime, with inevitable internecine strife, starting within the bantustan and even developing into an inter-bantustan conflict. This would justify intervention and direct control from Pretoria.
The bantustan programme seeks to create and build up a third force, designed to divert the masses of the oppressed people from the path of revolution and freedom and to set them wallowing in the quagmire of reformism for generations to come. The "liberal" press in South Africa has outstripped itself in the campaign to strengthen this third force as a substitute for and an alternative to the national liberation movement. But this third force is no different from the creations of Salazar and Caetano in Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique, or from similar efforts made in Rhodesia and Namibia. It tries to divide a people otherwise bound to one another by a common desire for liberation and freedom.
Finally, the South African racist regime uses the bantustans to try and present itself to the world and to Africa as being in line with African and world thinking on decolonisation. This is a fraudulent conduct, and the racists know it.
Fight the Bantustan Programme
From every conceivable point of view, therefore, the bantustan programme is a deadly scheme which seeks to roll back the progress of our noble struggle over the graves of fallen heroes and martyrs, across many decades, to the days before Bambatha.
We have no alternative but to fight the bantustan programme with ruthless determination, render it ineffective and unworkable. But also, and at the same time, since it is a weapon of destruction, while it lasts we must grab it from the enemy's grip and turn it against him and for the liberation of our country.
In the meantime, the offensive for freedom must forge ahead in every other field or area of action. This call goes out to all opponents of racist oppression and exploitation; to all people who want to see, not just change, but radical change that brings freedom to our oppressed people.
Those of our men who find themselves trapped into administering the bantustan programme to the detriment of our past, present and future, and who clearly understand their objectively dangerous role in making the scheme succeed, are in a situation bristling with difficulties. If on occasion we criticise them, it is not for lack of appreciation of the problems they face. It is because our first responsibility is to the revolutionary struggle and to the success of that struggle. We owe this to our people, to Africa, to our colleagues in the national liberation movements, to the world, to all mankind. These men will be strengthened to serve the interests of genuine freedom for the people of South Africa if the masses of the people correctly identify their enemy as the white supremacist structure, and if they fight for their full political rights in their motherland, if they reject the bantustan scheme as they have always done...
Our brothers in Africa will surely exercise the greatest vigilance and work with us to frustrate and defeat Vorster's devilish scheme. Our supporters the world over, and recalling the 1973 Oslo Conference for support of the liberation movements in Africa, will campaign against the bantustan programme and work for its defeat.
Withdraw Foreign Investments
Foreign firms and multinational companies with investments in South Africa have unleashed a highly financed and divisive campaign to defend their participation in the super-exploitation of our people, exploitation made possible by the vicious system of white racist rule, which oppresses us with armed force.
They have picked invaluable allies from among our enslaved Africans. They have had to do this in the face of irresistible pressures upon them from men and women, from workers and organisations who are part of the world solidarity movement supporting the freedom struggle of our people.
The demand on foreign companies to withdraw their investments in South Africa is part of a worldwide campaign comprising a large variety of international pressures aimed at compelling the South African regime to abandon its oppressive and racist domination of the black people, or at any rate at weakening its capacity to persist in the enforcement of these policies.
The demand for withdrawal is a demand in support of our struggle for freedom and political power. It has nothing to do with the right of our workers to fight for the best possible working conditions against any company or firm in South Africa, whatever its origins.
We have not called on our workers yet to drive out foreign companies helping to keep us oppressed. We have called on our supporters overseas, in Japan, Western Europe and North America, to pull them out.
The call for the economic and all-round isolation of South Africa, which has now been taken up by Africa, the United Nations and numerous support bodies overseas, emanated from a decision taken by our national leaders in South Africa - Chief A.J. Luthuli, lying motionless in his noble grave; Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, now bravely enduring, minute by minute, the severity of Robben Island; and others. All have now been silenced with death or imprisonment by our enemy. Nothing has changed in the conditions which justified the decision. Therefore, there is nothing to justify a change of tactics. It is their mandate we are carrying out in the light of the situation as it affects our struggle for liberation...