Power to the People! Matla! Mayibuye!
We have come a long way from the day 18 years ago when the Nationalist Government police shot down and killed in cold blood 18 unarmed and undefended, unsuspecting, peaceful demonstrators on May 1st, 1950. The violence of that murderous act was the violence of the pass laws, the Suppression of Communism Act, the Group Areas Act, the Bantu Authorities Act. It was the violence of apartheid and racial discrimination; it was indeed the violence of white minority rule. In fitting reply to this rule served on our people, the ANC, supported by the South African Indian Congress, called on the masses to action. And on June 26, 1950, South Africa came to a standstill as hundreds of thousands of workers and people demonstrated their determination to meet the violence of the oppressors with militant struggle for liberation.
The years that followed June 26, 1950, tell a story of a mounting confrontation between a fascist clique of oppressors and the freedom-loving people of our country. This story is told in the militant campaigns of the 50s which featured our women fighters, the dynamic youth of our land, our militant trade unionists and workers, the fighting peasants of Sekhukhuniland, Zeerust, Zululand, Transkei and other places. It is reflected in the police raids, arrests, court trials that took place all over the country as masses challenged the brutal white oppressors. The protests and strikes and demonstrations; the great campaigns that swept through from 1952, rising in a crescendo to the early 60s, leaving in their wake more Sten guns and Saracen tanks, more repressive laws, more shootings and massacres; and in the desperation of the fascist rulers - the army itself. But the struggle had to go forward to freedom in our life time.
Decisive Phase of Struggle
We demanded as we still demand "tokologo ka nako ya rona," for our people have set themselves the goal of complete freedom. The attainment of this goal has become more urgent with each passing year. Today the confrontation with the exploiters and persecutors of our people has reached the level of armed conflict; today the struggle for liberation extended from the boss's office, from the madam's kitchen, from the buses and trains, from the factory and the farm, from buildings and installations to the plains, hills, valleys and mountains; from the southernmost part of our country to the towns, villages, the bush and mountain fastnesses of Zimbabwe where the guerrilla units of ZAPU and the ANC are inflicting heavy losses on the South African and Rhodesian racist troops. The liberation struggle extends further beyond Zimbabwe; in Angola and Mozambique, the Portuguese are confronted by a rising tide of masses in arms. The people of South West Africa (Namibia) have also drawn blood from the white racist invaders. Southern Africa as a whole has changed since the volleys fired by Malan's police: it is changing rapidly, since the volleys fired in return by the Wankie heroes last August.
For us in South Africa, June 26th, 1968, brings news of people who laid down their arms half a century ago and have now picked them up again. June 26th, 1968, opens the door to the final and decisive phase of our struggle. Let us enter it with the courage of our famous forebears in the cause of freedom and happiness on our motherland.
Salute the Heroes
Let us on this day recall all those who have led the struggle of our people to this decisive phase. The list is long and extends to the remote past, but let us mention the greatest in the long chain of ANC Presidents. The late Chief Lutuli as well as his colleagues and fellow-fighters for freedom, late Z.K. Mathews, late Moretsele, late Mini, late Saloojee, and others who have fallen in the cause of battle. The imprisoned leaders and activists, among them Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Kathy Ahmed Kathrada, Dennis Goldberg, Steven Dlamini, Billy Nair, Bram Fischer, Motsoaledi, Mkwayi and countless others.
And among those who have led the ANC through the decades of bitter struggle to the present era of guerilla warfare, we must mention Moses Kotane, J.B. Marks, Y.M. Dadoo, leaders of great distinction who have remained in the forefront of our people's struggle to the present day.
We salute these heroes on this day. We congratulate our fighting forces and army commanders for the honour they have brought to our people and to Africa. We wish them great and decisive battles in the ensuing year. We deeply mourn the loss of those of our brothers of Umkhonto we Sizwe who have fallen valiantly in the battlefield. Their names and those of their comrades-in-arms of ZAPU will never die in our hearts and in our minds. We express our solidarity with the heroes of Vietnam and Guinea-Bissau and all fighters for freedom in other parts of the world. We salute our brothers in Africa, our friends and supporters in Asia and the socialist countries. We greet the progressive people of Western Europe and our supporters and comrades-in-arms in America. We pledge ourselves to fight and sacrifice for our freedom till victory is won.