Sons and Daughters of Afrika!
The Pan Africanist Congress was successfully launched as the liberation movement of the African people at a Convention held at the Communal Hall, Orlando, Johannesburg, from the 4th to the 6th of April, 1959. Ever since then your Congress has been able to forge ahead in its determined effort to realise our noble aspirations in our lifetime, namely,
To unite and rally the African people into one national front on the basis of African nationalism, and to fight for the implementation of the right of self determination for the African people.
It is our pleasant duty to bid you all welcome to this first National Conference of the Pan Africanist Congress. The fact that you are able to be here is proof positive of your consuming desire to strive for the cause of African independence and unity.
Since our historic and memorable inaugural Convention, a number of developments have taken place in our country, which may be astonishing to individuals who are unfamiliar with the contradictions of White, minority rule.
Throughout the year the imperialist Press has carried on a campaign of sustained vilification against us. But because of the determined work of our members, the work of your Congress has thus far been a resounding success. It is true that "since no Press built us up, no Press can destroy us." The story of those confusionist "leaders" who would be too pleased to see us fall down is [too] well known to merit serious attention here. It may be mentioned, however, that some of them have grave misgivings about their ill-conceived attitude towards African nationalism. It is common knowledge that the emergence of the Pan Africanist Congress has resulted in endless spate of convulsions in the bosom of the Charterists.
In the oppressor's camp there has been unbounded fear. More recently there has been talk of "possible showdown with subversive elements." No stretch of imagination is required to see deeper into the irresponsible and stupid pronouncements of Erasmus. We are persuaded to regard the re-organisation of the White army as a compliment to our readiness to challenge the reactionary forces.
You have come together here with one aim in view-to take positive steps to crush, once and for all, White colonialism and imperialism in our Fatherland. We are fully aware of the difficulties and pitfalls that will be placed before us in our forward march. But we are on the march, and there is no turning back; there is no side-stepping, and no obstacles can stand up against us. We are vigilant and determined.
The task of organising effectively was an up-hill one. As a young body, perhaps not well versed in the effective means of fund-raising, we have had to manage under great financial strain. Credit must go to the National Organiser who fulfilled his task of organising even at personal expense. Branches and Regions have been established throughout the country. Masses of people in the rural areas have been organised and brought nearer to the light of the Pan Africanist Congress. Progress in membership has been noticeably steady in the latter half of the period under review, as compared to the first four months of our existence. There are one-hundred and fifty-three (153) Branches with a total membership of thirty-one thousand and thirty-five (31,035). This falls far below our target of a hundred thousand (100,000) members. Despite that we are undaunted. The march goes on.
REGIONS: Your Congress has established five Regions:
WITWATERSRAND. This Region has not functioned well. There has been strained relationship between the Regional Executive Committee and Branches. Consequently the National Working Committee has suspended the former from office pending a special Regional Conference to be held as soon as convenient to thrash out matters in dispute. In the meantime administration of this Region is in the hands of the National Working Committee.
CAPE BORDER . Despite initial set-backs, progress in this Region is now on record. The East London and Stutterheim Branches have done outstanding work in organising many people into the Pan Africanist Congress. Mention must be made of Queenstown where sterling work has been done by African women.
NATAL . Determined hard work has been carried out by this Region. However, much scope of work remains open.
O.F.S. This Region is composed of eight (8) Branches. It must be stated that the membership potentiality of this Region has hardly been tapped. Owing to meagre funds organisers from National Headquarters have not been able to visit this Region during the year.
WESTERN CAPE. This Region has to be congratulated for the very good work done. Mention must be made of its stream-lined office routine work, second to none amongst the Regions.
By and large, organisational work by the Regions has been [done] fairly well during the year. There is, however, one disturbing point that merits serious attention immediately. With the exception of the Western Cape Region, the rest have not followed strictly the instructions of National Headquarters with regard to the regular submitting of Regional Reports and financial statements.
It must be emphasised that the work of your Congress is great, and as such proper records have to be kept up to date. Regional Reports and finance records must be forwarded to National Headquarters with precise regularity. Most of our work could not be undertaken owing to lack of successful financial drives.
Branch level activity has been most encouraging. Again it must be pointed out that it is the task of the Regional Secretaries to submit regular reports to the National Secretary about the state of the Branches. Branches and Regions were provided with Statistical Forms to be used in their reports. Very few of these have been returned duly completed. With the exception of the Border Region and Queenstown and the W. Cape Region.
As the National Treasurer's Report indicates, the question of finance has been the cause of great handicap. The attention of Branches and Regions is drawn to our regulations with regard to members' monthly levies. It is disturbing to note that the matter of levies has not been properly handled by the Branches and Regions throughout the year. You are urged to devise efficient means of raising funds in order to write off the deficit occurring in the financial accounts of the year.
In order to have effective and efficient organisational machinery, it is necessary that the National Organiser and National Secretary be paid officials of the Congress. Funds have to be voted, and made available, so that these officials may be kept in our permanent employment for the cause of Afrika.
" THE AFR ICA NIST":
This monthly journal is produced under very great difficulties because of insufficiency of funds, and also because some Branches do not report back monies in respect of the sale of it by them. Plans are afoot to have it printed so that mass distribution of it can be possible. Branches must know that failure to report monies due is not only dishonesty but also calculated systematic sabotage. Unless arrears are paid in, no copies shall be sent to defaulting Branches.
Some time back the Secretariat announced the launching of the fortnightly news-sheet, to be known as the "P.A.C. BULLETIN." The first and only issue of this bulletin was published in September. Owing to lack of enthusiastic team work within the Secretariat no subsequent issues have been released. We will not tolerate any laxity from any source, and are determined to enforce discipline within our ranks whatever the consequences.
FLAGS AND BADGES:
Monies have been received from certain Branches and Regions as deposits on our Flags and badges. Another difficulty of insufficient funds crops up here too. Most Branches have been slow to respond to the call for orders. However, an order for the mass production of these has been made with the manufacturers, and a further report in this matter shall be made in due course. These should have been available had all the Branches sent in their monies in time.
Keen progress is being made by the Secretariat. The Secretary for Pan African Affairs has established on a sound basis a firm link between your Congress and other nationalist movements in Afrika. The Secretary for Foreign Affairs has kept us informed about world trends. Against odds, the Publicity and Information Secretary has struggled to put across our message to the world through the Press. Because of the need to defend our ideological stand, the Secretary for Education was instructed to work jointly with the Secretary for Publicity and Information. Labour Secretary is to be congratulated for the magnificent work of his department in organising and founding a country-wide African Workers' organisation. A vigilant eye has been kept on all matters that affect us by the Secretary for Economic Affairs. Cultural Affairs Secretary has been in the vanguard of our progress in the Western Cape.
Copies of the proposed Status Campaign were sent out to Regional Secretaries for distribution to the Branches, with specific instruction to discuss thoroughly this proposed campaign. Most Regions did nothing about this, and the matter has been left over to this Conference.
BOYCOTT OF S.A. GOODS:
In pursuance of a decision of the All African People's Conference, we have supported and encouraged the boycott of all South African Goods by countries abroad. A Press Statement to this effect was released earlier in the year. It is our opinion that the crippling of the monopolistic South African White economy shall have the effect of bringing back some sense to Verwoerd's government of minority rule.
Your Executive has interested itself in developments throughout colonial Africa.
CENTRAL AFRICAN FEDERATION . The early part of this year has witnessed some unrest in the Central African Federation. Dr. Hastings Banda, who courageously led his people against Welensky's oppressive government, continues to be detained in jail by the White man. Your
Congress has on several occasions expressed solidarity with the arrested leaders of Nyasaland, and demanded their immediate release from wrongful imprisonment.
BELGIAN CONGO. The Congo has been the scene of mass butchery of African inhabitants by the White settlers. Your Executive is of the firm opinion that there can be no peace in the Congo until Africans have been freed from the oppressive Belgian Colonial System. King Baudouin must leave the Congo, and, as in the rest of the continent, imperialists must quit Africa.
ALGERIA. Algeria continues to be the scene of ferocious fighting for freedom. The Algerians are demanding the return of their land to its rightful owners. The war of Algerian independence is being bitterly fought. It is a war of torture and treachery, of ambush and sabotage. We salute the Africans of Algeria who have consistently maintained their right "to take what is theirs by force if necessary."
Throughout colonial Africa the minority settlers continue to inflict severities and atrocities on innocent men, women and children. A redeeming feature in this whole sordid business of unjust foreign rule is the declared realisation of all African nationalists that peace and prosperity on the continent is bound up with the complete and unconditional liberation of the African people.
The outside world has to be reminded again that Africa is for the Africans, and is not an extension of Europe or any other continent; that true democracy can be established on the continent as a whole only when White supremacy has been destroyed; that it is our aim to bring about a government of the Africans by the Africans for the Africans, with everybody who owes his only loyalty to Afrika and who is prepared to accept the democratic rule of an African majority being regarded as an African. We aim at the establishment of an Africanist socialist democracy.
Effective contact has been kept up by your Congress with the new emergent states of Africa.
GHANA. The office of the Bureau of African Affairs, Accra, has shown great interest in the progress of the Pan Africanist Congress, and has kept us in regular supply of literature and information relevant to the noble cause of African freedom.
REPUBLIC OF GUINEA. Guinea, under the able leadership of Mr. Sekou Toure, has also been kept informed about our progress here. Your Executive is full of admiration for the increasing importance which this young African state is assuming in the international field.
AFRICAN LABOUR TALKS. A month ago there was held in Accra an All-African Trade Unions' Conference. Your Congress was invited to send two delegates to this meeting, but because of technical difficulties it was not possible to do so. An appropriate message was, however, forwarded to the Conference.
We are meeting on the eve of the first elections to be conducted under the new Constitution of Representative Government for Basutoland. While we are fully aware of its crippling limitations, we welcome the gains made by the people of Basutoland under this Constitution. The Basuto Congress Party is to be wished well in the forthcoming elections. Unto it we say: Fight your way through to a full and free Responsible Government for Basutoland, the only effective guarantee of independence for your people.
African nationalist movements throughout the continent experienced the unfortunate loss of noble Son of Afrika, George Padmore, who was adviser on African Affairs to the Premier of Ghana. The late George Padmore was a courageous Son of Afrika who did much to promote the concept of Pan Africanism and the idea of a United States of Africa. Your Executive feels deeply his loss, and a message of condolence was sent to his principal, the Hon. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Your National Executive Committee decided to include the name of the late George Padmore in the list of our national heroes, and that due honour be paid to his name in all our coming commemorations of our National Heroes' Day.
We mourn the death recently of noble Son of Afrika Moses Loso, a courageous young Africanist who was chairman of the Orlando East Branch No. 2. Branches in the Witwatersrand Region have paid tribute to his memory.
Your Congress is alarmed by the insistence of the French government to carry out their nuclear tests in the Sahara in furtherance of their predatory and genocidal ambitions. We have on several occasions protested to express our disapproval of the French to explode bombs in a part of our continent. Your Executive suggested Paris as the best suitable venue for such tests.
In South Africa the year has witnessed the White man's continued determination to complete and worsen his plunder and rape of our country. The government's policy has reached the stage of maximum inhumanity.
De Wet Nel has shown almost lunatic feats in his endeavours to promote the so-called Bantustan schemes. Our stand has been that no man has any right to balkanise or 'pakistanise' any part of our continent. Cyprian Bhekuzulu, Botha Sigcau and others of the same type shall remain exposed as enemies of the people.
Fort Hare University College, the only seat of higher learning for Africans, has fallen victim to the pipe-dreams of Verwoerd's Bantu Education. Henceforth this College shall be under the thumb of Maree. The reorganisation of the staff and the recent appointments of new teachers there have only served to confirm our fears about the future of higher learning in this country. A bunch of backveld lecturers has been raked to fill up the posts vacated by the arbitrary dismissals of worthy instructors. Your Congress pledges itself to re-educate the youth of Afrika who, through no fault of theirs, are forced to gulp in poisonous Bantu Education.
Natal has been the scene of courageous fighting by African women against the unbearable contradictions of White minority rule. We salute the women of Natal for their determined stand against unjust foreign domination.
South West Africans have recently been invaded by the armed troops of Erasmus. We are alarmed at the naked brutality of force arrogantly displayed against the Windhoek Africans who were rightly resisting further inroads into their meagre rights.
Those are but some of the highlights of the year. Nothing has been said about the millions of souls forced to suffer by the unjust system which is the oppressive link in the vortex of the imperialist chain.
Sons and Daughters of Afrika! You are called upon to accept the challenge of oppression. You are called upon to formulate and forge ahead with a dynamic programme destined to crush, once and for all, white domination. The torch that was lit by the emergence of your Congress is blazing across this country. From now on events will take a rapid turn, and there will be no turning back. As never before, your Executive shall continue to be vigilant, and shall give greater strength to the Sons and Daughters of Afrika who look to the Pan Africanist Congress for vitality and sustenance in their fight for African freedom. Izwe lethu i Afrika! Issued by the19: 12:1959.
National Executive Committee,
Pan Africanist Congress.
Signed: Potlako K. Leballo