[Oliver Tambo addressed more than 10,000 people who attended the funeral service of members of the ANC massacred by raiders from the South African Defence Force. The service was also addressed by His Majesty King Moshoeshoe, Prime Minister Dr. Leabua Jonathan and other dignitaries.]
This weekend has brought us together, the living and the departed. We are united by the brutal death of the nationals of this Kingdom and the children of the mothers of South Africa. They have fallen to the bullets of a common enemy of the people of this land, the people of South Africa, and the peoples of the world. On behalf of the African National Congress, and of all its leaders in South Africa and its jails, on behalf of all the people of South Africa who are opposed to this criminal regime, we wish to express today our condolences to you, Your Majesty, to your Government and your people, and in particular to the families of those who have now left us.
The ANC addresses those condolences also to the families in South Africa who have come to participate in the funeral service of their children and their relatives.
These events have united us because, your Majesty, your people responded to this massacre with the courage that is part of their tradition and part of their history. You, yourself, led the nation in the battle in defence of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of this country when you went to the United Nations. Far from intimidating the people of Lesotho, the butchers of Pretoria have united them and risen them in their anger which expresses itself in their determination to defend their sovereignty and independence. Their murderous crime has lifted this nation from its geographic circumstances and planted them in the hearts of the nations of the world, winning it the support and solidarity of mankind.
The Kingdom of Lesotho today is a great country, a great nation of great people led by great leaders. We in South Africa are strengthened by this.
[Pointing out that the struggle was being waged in South Africa and not in Lesotho or in any of the neighbouring countries, Comrade Tambo stated:]
The problem of revolting people, a people that has decided to overthrow that regime, will not be solved in Maseru. It will be resolved in South Africa by the majority of the people of South Africa. Pretoria murder squads have been deployed far around South Africa, to every conceivable country of laceration. They massacred in Kassinga, they butchered in Chimoio. They destroyed in Matola. They had destroyed within South Africa in Soweto. They are killing everyday: the assassination of men and women, their massacres and murders by this regime. But, as history has shown, after Kassinga and Chimoio, the racists and their ally Smith were defeated and when they staged the Maseru massacre and several others yet to come, at the end of the day history will repeat itself. They will be defeated.
They have tortured children, men and women. They have sent them to jail, they have sentenced them to death, they have imprisoned them for life and yet they have found it necessary, unavoidable, that they should come to Maseru because torture, imprisonment, persecutions, killings have not changed the growth, the offensive, the determination of the people and the fact that they face defeat!!
The ANC over the past twenty-five years has offered them the alternative of the Freedom Charter. In terms of that Charter, it is the people as a whole, black and white, who rule and run the country, they live and work together as fellow citizens. It is a democracy in which the majority decides, but it is not a black majority we are looking for, it is a majority of the people of South Africa as a whole. It is a democracy, the kind of justice that cannot be expected of the apartheid system. They have not paid any heed to this alternative.
The Freedom Charter is an instrument of peace in South Africa, a prescription to end racist and imperialist domination over southern Africa. To fight for the demands elaborated in the Charter and if need be to die in that fight is therefore to fight and to die for peace, for an end to a system that is at once brutal, incorrigible and incomparably inhuman. That inhumanity is demonstrated in the heroic bodies that lie before this gathering here today.
The white people have not learnt their lesson, perhaps because they are not allowed to by the publicity services of the racist regime. While the murderers were shooting machine guns on the 9th of December, that unthinkable butchery, while it was going on, news of it seemed to fill the majority of the whites with great jubilation. They congratulated the assassins, the perpetrators of the massacre of Maseru. Perhaps they need only be told that it is a terrorist we are killing. And because of what they have been told is a terrorist, they believe that these are creatures to be eliminated in the world. Perhaps that is why the women, the mothers of white children were so happy when African mothers and their children were being butchered by criminals armed by Pretoria and directed by them.
It is fair to remind our rulers that the African National Congress has conducted its struggle with immense restraint, bound by a morality in this struggle, a morality which is not even understood by many of our people. Our people are asking today why is it only Africans who are doing all the dying? Why African women and children, Basotho women and Basotho children - why only they? If they are putting this question and in putting it are likely to misunderstand the ANC and to distance themselves from the African National Congress we shall not allow that to happen. We shall move in the direction dictated by the masses of our people.
The African National Congress has been identified by the enemy as the biggest threat to its existence and its survival.
The African National Congress was formed by our people, it is the people. It was formed by the people of this region, by the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Swaziland, by the leaders of Botswana. It is an organisation of this whole region, the attack on the ANC is an attack on this whole region.
Our people are called upon by the people of Lesotho to close their ranks, to respond to this new offensive to wipe out the ANC, wipe out the struggle and perpetuate the domination of South Africa by a white racist, fascist regime of Pretoria.
There is no going back. We shall die thirty at a time, a hundred at a time, but there is no going back. We move forward until we win our victory, our freedom and the liberation of Africa.
We call upon the international community to support this nation with everything possible, especially political and economic support. We call on the United Nations to support physically and in every respect in the struggle that is being waged in this region.
In the name of our stalwarts now languishing in the jails of the Pretoria regime, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oscar Mpetha, Zeph Mothopeng, Dennis Goldberg, in the name of those who have fallen like Steve Biko, Solomon Mahlangu, Emmet Dipale, numerous names, in all their names we call upon the people of this land, the people of South Africa, Umkhonto we Sizwe, the forces in the world that stand opposed to the Pretoria regime and its supporter the Reagan Administration, to go on to the offensive. Let us fight now that freedom may come in our lifetime.
To the people who have lost their relatives, to a mourning nation, we say, "Sulani ezonyembezi, nithathe izikhali zenu siye phambili".
Forward into Battle!