"The struggle for freedom must go on no matter how hard the struggle might be! It must go on because Freedom is the noblest human attainment for which man throughout the ages has willingly paid the supreme sacrifice," declared Chief Albert J. Lutuli, in his presidential address to the annual provincial conference of the Natal African National Congress, held last weekend.
Chief Lutuli, who was making his first public appearance since his banning two years ago, speaking with great emotion said: "To be back with you again is an occasion I would not miss for anything. It makes one feel so good. It gives me the inspiration one needs so much after a long period of enforced isolation.
Struggle Must Go On
"It is appropriate at this stage in thinking about our subject: The Struggle Must Go On! to pay tribute to those men and women who have suffered or died for freedom in our country. If all those lovers of freedom are not to have died or suffered in vain it behoves those of us who still, in some way, can act, to play our part faithfully.
"Even if some desert the cause, the faithful few must carry on the struggle."
In reply to his own question, "Why are we in such earnest that the struggle must go on?," Chief Lutuli said:
"It must go on because freedom is the noblest human attainment for which man throughout the ages has willingly paid the supreme sacrifice.
"Man in his best moments yearns for it.
"The Atlantic Charter shows this!
"The United Nations Charter shows this!
"The Bandung Declarations show this!
"The Kliptown Freedom Charter Our own Charter shows this!
"It must go on because otherwise we would be so untrue so disloyal to our dear Africa for too long despised and called a dark continent: A continent of wild beasts, of deadly diseases, of human savages you.
"To this day some white citizens including some Ministers of the Crown still openly tell the world that Africans are primitive and savage: many despise you and call your grown-ups `boys,` make your men do domestic work and make them wear real boys` kitchen suits.
"It seems the whole underlying purpose in all this is to emasculate the men and make them lose their dignity and personality.
"We must convince the world of our worth! Nothing could convince the world more than our willingness to die for freedom."
Although South Africa was passing through dark days in the hands of the Nationalist Government with its strong leaning towards fascism, and despite the numerous oppressive laws passed during the last session of Parliament, Chief Lutuli said:
"When a people come to the realisation of their plight and begin to fight back unitedly there is surely room for jubilation and optimism.
"The fight equally is being fought on every front. The fight has been won by the S.A. Table Tennis Association, which has gained international recognition. It is raging furiously between the S.A. Soccer Federation, a non-colour-bar body, and the S.A.F.A. which is for Whites only. We congratulate our sportsmen for upholding the dignity of the Non-White peoples of this country.
"Our optimism was heightened a few days ago by the announcement in the press that the Interdenominational African Ministers Association is calling an All-in Conference to discuss the apartheid policy of White South Africa.
"The African National Congress has always been in the forefront of the struggle against apartheid and has refused to compromise with this evil thing. In keeping with our stand we assure the Interdenominational Ministers Association of our full support for this bold and timely move and sincerely congratulate our African Spiritual Fathers for this."
Calling on Africans of all shades of opinion to LUTULI the call of the Ministers, Chief Lutuli said:
"Attending this Conference will give the people a rare opportunity of thinking together, planning together and I hope of acting together.
"Our womenfolk, too, have given us cause to be optimistic of the future. Their magnificent and brave stand against the Governments decision to extend the pass laws is to be highly commended.
"In wishing the women all success in their struggle I call on our women in Natal to rally in full force in defence of their most meagre freedoms: they must rally to the cause whatever some of our conservative men might say."
Stating that the majority of the worlds population were in support of the just struggle of the peoples of South Africa for freedom and democracy, Chief Lutuli concluded by calling on the people to take courage and say: "The struggle must go on! The cause is worth striving for!"
He rejected any suggestion that he had any reservations whatsoever in regard to the Freedom Charter. He said:
"I charge you to go back to your locality and translate your pledge and resolve That the Struggle Must Go On! into action by seeing to it that you mobilise your area to the cause of our Liberatory Movement. Attend to the local needs of your people.
"Preach faithfully and correctly the Congress message in your area, which means that you must see to it that the Congress programme and directives are implemented.
"I repeat: Translate Congress resolutions into action!
"Remember: We must, in our lifetime, be able to change our Freedom Charter to say:
- The people are governing!
- All national groups have equal rights!
- The people are sharing in the countrys wealth!
- The land is shared among those who work it!
- All are equal before the law!
- All are enjoying equal rights!
- There is work and security for all!
- The doors of learning and culture are open to all!
- There are houses!
- There is security!
- There is comfort for all!
- There is peace and friendship!
"And, we must be able to say: AFRIKA ISIBUYILE!"