Thembinkosi Khumalo is a student activist at the University of Pretoria. He is an active PASMA member. PASMA is a student division of PAC. Khumalo is also involved in community upliftment in his hometown, Madadeni in Newcastle.
Dear Students of 1976
I would like to fully, with no restraint and with no fear state the fact that I understand. I understand the fear, I understand the anxiety, I understand the pain you felt as you squared off with the authorities who wanted to harm your precious black bodies. I do admit however that the ANC government that we went against is less brutal then the Apartheid government that you faced. But with this reality fully vivid in my mind I must insist again that I understand.
The understanding I have gained through these most recent protest movements by students has allowed me to say the following words with all honesty and clarity ‘thank you for your sacrifice’. Who am I? I am a student activist who comes from the province of KwaZulu-Natal, from a large informal township called Madadeni in Newcastle. The struggles I have faced and still face being from this crime ridden and poverty stricken Black location have made me unable to sit quietly and watch as black bodies are being victimized daily in these educational institutions that are supposed to be the custodians of the only tool we can use to elevate ourselves from the dust that is our poverty. I then decided to stand like you once stood once upon a ‘struggle’ and it must be said that I would have not had the strength to do so if it wasn’t for the example that you left for me, I would have not been able to handle jail if you were not arrested before me and I would have not been able to utter the words “I am willing to die” if you never spelled them out for me. So again I say thank you for the power you have left behind that enables me to say I am a young Black activist.
Alas the battle is not won, we still face greater evils from those who mean to silence us but we have found our strength, we have found our foundation. Live long within us and may your legacy endure untainted for all Black children to see that we are able to stand, against all odds we are able to fight and our struggles only serves to make us stronger against those who claim Azania for themselves.