Dear friends and fellow countrymen,
The opening of a new year is the occasion for the exchange of greetings. From this southern part of the world of progressive peoples, we send our sincere and brotherly greetings and best wishes to you all, and to your individual families. Through you, we greet all our supporters and fellow-workers for freedom and peace for southern Africa.
Today, it is even more important that we continue to hold in our hands the weapon of unity we have in the past wielded with such dramatic results in our external work. It is the weapon with which we have built up a volume of international support for our struggle, and a mountain of international pressure against the racists, such as cannot but give great satisfaction to our colleagues who languish in South African jails. With that weapon of unity we have stood firm in the face of sustained and powerful enemy attacks on our movement - attacks mounted from different points at different angles with different methods. With that weapon in our hands, we have gone to war, and it inspired the gallants of Umkhonto we Sizwe in the historic battles of Wankie and Sipolilo. They fought and fell, they punished and routed the imperialist agents, under the banners of the ANC, in the name of a united and suffering people. With that weapon, we shall fight and fall, we shall conquer and be free.
It is a weapon the enemy has sought to take from the oppressed people. The colour bars and job reservations, the bantustans, the Coloured and Indian Councils, the group areas and ethnic groupings, the Fort Hares and Turfloops, the Matanzimas, Bandas and Houphouet-Boignes - all these are a grab at the weapon of unity. "Hold fast on it!" Chief Luthuli cries from the grave. "Hold it fast!" It is not yours, it belongs to a suffering people, to posterity; it is the key to freedom. "Hold it!" That is the call from Mini, Saloojee, Florence, Solwandle and others; from Mercy Tshabala, from Paul Petersen and Patrick Molaoa; from Nelson, Walter, Goldberg, Mlangeni, Billy, Govan, Motsoaledi, Dorothy, Bram, Ramotse and millions of our people. and we shall hold it. We, who are free to eat and sleep at will, to write, to speak, to travel as we please; we, who are free to make or break revolution, let us use our comparative freedom, not to perpetuate the misery of those who suffer, nor give indirect aid to the enemy they fight by withholding our own contribution.
We have an unequalled capacity for rallying to the banners of the ANC and consolidating our ranks when danger threatens. And danger does threaten. The campaign to break Africa's resistance to apartheid and her support for the liberation struggle in southern Africa has scored significant successes. Vorster, Klopper, Helen Suzman and lesser agents of colonialism, have turned Africa into a veritable hunting ground for stooges and indigenous agents of racism. Mrs. Suzman deserves special mention: This sweet bird from the blood-stained south flew into Zambia and sang a singularly sweet song:
I am opposed to apartheid
I am opposed to the isolation of South Africa;
I am opposed to violence;
I am opposed to guerrillas;
I am opposed to the Lusaka Manifesto;
I am opposed to the decision of the World Council of Churches;
I know the Africans can do nothing to cause political change in South Africa;
I am in favour of change;
Clearly in favour of change but determined to prevent change.
Some African leaders have been offering their services as Bantu Commissioners in the political power structure of the racist regime. Encouraged by France, they see themselves sitting at a table with the racists, talking about the "Bantu", after the fashion of all Bantu Commissioners - the "Bantu" who are not credited with the ability to talk for themselves.
A dialogue over the heads of the South African oppressed and over their leaders will never take place, unless it is a dialogue where a black chief sells his people into slavery as some black chiefs did centuries ago. But we refused to be sold then, we refuse to be sold now. "No sale in the South!", we say to our brothers. "No more Bantu Commissioners either - we have enough and to spare!"
But what Vorster's African campaign amounts to is a counteroffensive to isolate our people and our movement from the solidarity forces we have built, and which have placed South Africa in relative isolation.
A recognition of this danger among others, welds us into the united force we have been.
Secondly, our militants are active both in and outside South Africa. The progress of our underground activities confirms the irrevocable commitment of our members to the cause of freedom, and to the armed struggle as an essential precondition for the achievement of that cause. In their work, our organisers are inspired to no end by the fighting mood of the oppressed masses themselves.
Faith in Armed Struggle
The enemy's own creations: the Transkei so-called Parliament, the Coloured Legislative Council the Zulu bantustan, the Urban Bantu Councils - these have become battlegrounds of freedom, where the true representatives of the people are fighting the racists and rejecting their regime. What we see and hear is but the tip of an iceberg of revolutionary resentment against white rule. But although our people are fighting courageously, our own history of political struggle has taught us that they fight in vain who fight without arms. Hence the people's faith in the prospects of the armed struggle which we launched in Zimbabwe, and for which white children and white women in South Africa are being prepared. Let them prepare hard and fast - they do not have long to wait.
In the meantime, the black people of racist South Africa must recognise that freedom for South Africa, no less than for them as the most exploited, will come only when they rise as a solid black mass - rising from under the heel of the oppressor and storming across colour barriers to the citadels of political and economic power. Then only shall the noble principles enshrined in the Freedom Charter see the light of day, and turn South Africa into a happy home not only for black people - at last, but for all people.
Let us therefore be explicit. Power to the people means, in fact, power to the black people - the gagged millions who cannot set their foot in the Cape Town Parliament where bantustans and Coloured Councils are made; the most ruthlessly exploited, the tortured victims of racial hatred and humiliation. Let the blacks seize, by force, what is theirs by right of birth, and use it for the benefit of all, including those from whom it has been taken. And who are the blacks in South Africa? They are the people known, and treated, as "kaffirs", "coolies" and "hotnots", together with those South Africans whose total political identity with the Africans oppressed makes them black in all but the accident of skin colour. Where this identity is not merely reformist but is revolutionary, there, in my view, you have a black man. This type of black man is rare in South Africa today. But he will grow in numerical strength as we drive our point deeper and deeper with the Spear of the Nation.
There may be some controversy over the views I have expressed, any such controversy will be welcome if it springs from differences of honest opinion on how best to exploit the revolutionary potential of the masses of the people and employ it in the destruction of a monster that has been terrorising them for centuries. What seems clear in my own mind is that the black man is a vital and decisive factor in the survival or demise of fascist South Africa - indeed as vital and decisive as his cheap labour is to the economic might of the fascist State.
What does all this mean for those of us who for the time being operate outside South Africa? As I see it, it means we must work together, hand in hand, to build and consolidate power at the mass base, which, in the South African context, is black. As members of the ANC External Mission - by which I understand the political militants and activists who are together outside South Africa, under the leadership of the ANC - as mature members of this External Mission of our movement, let us go out to the world, and back to the rural and urban areas of our common homeland, as one man, with one voice and one cause, which is:
Power to the Black People of Fascist South Africa!
Maatla i Mayihlome!