Robert Sobukwe launches PAC 06 April 1959

Robert Sobukwe launches PAC 06 April 1959

Extracts from his speech:  Kaalvoet mindset comments in italics

“Now it is our contention that true democracy can be established in South Africa and on the continent as a whole, only when White supremacy has been destroyed. And the illiterate and semi-literate African masses constitute the key and centre and content of any struggle for true democracy in South Africa.”

This Sobukwe is powerful, his comment that White supremacy must be destroyed in order to establish a true democracy, causes Kaalvoet to reflect on white supremacy, on how it contributes to the failure of our democracy in 2014, granted only through the eyes of my black persona.

“And the African people can be organised only under the banner of African nationalism in an All-African Organisation where they will by themselves formulate policies and programmes and decide on the methods of struggle without interference from either so-called left-wing or right-wing groups of the minorities who arrogantly appropriate to themselves the right to plan and think for the Africans.”

“We wish to emphasise that the freedom of the African means the freedom of all in South Africa, the European included, because only the African can guarantee the establishment of a genuine democracy in which all men will be citizens of a common state and will live and be governed as individuals and not as distinctive sectional groups.”

Wow, this is powerful, why did we fear PAC, why did we fear Sobukwe?

Would it not be great if 1994 had brought us a ‘genuine democracy’ in which all men were citizens of a common state and we can all live and be governed as individuals, and not as distinctive sectional groups.

Surely, the ‘freedom of the African’, if achieved through Sobukwe’s principles, would have freed us Europeans also, or do we really believe that we are free?

“Against multi-racialism we have this objection, that the history of South Africa has fostered group prejudices and antagonisms, and if we have to maintain the same group exclusiveness, parading under the term of multi-racialism, we shall be transporting to the new Afrika these very antagonisms and conflicts.”

Is this not the problems that we are facing in 2014, we have the ‘very antagonisms and conflicts’ seen in all our public discourse?

I believe it is, yet, I never hear the academics or media even touch this concept.

“Further, multi-racialism is in fact a pandering to European bigotry and arrogance. It is a method of safeguarding white interests, implying as it does, proportional representation irrespective of population figures. In that sense it is a complete negation of democracy.”

No wonder many of my black brothers question our ‘new democracy’, they listened to Sobukwe in 1960, what did we read into what he was saying that we missed the content?

“To us the term ‘multi-racialism’ implies that there are such basic insuperable differences between the various national groups here that the best course is to keep them permanently distinctive in a kind of democratic apartheid. That to us is racialism multiplied, which probably is what the term truly connotes.”

No wonder our 2019 social discourse results in so much racial animosity; we have created it.

“We aim, politically, at 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 guarantee no minority rights, because we think in terms of individuals, not groups. Economically we aim at the rapid extension of industrial development in order to alleviate pressure on the land, which is what progress means in terms of modem society.”

Strangely this is a concept that I have lived with since the start of our New Democracy, I never wished for minority rights, I did not know why. 

“We stand committed to a policy guaranteeing the most equitable distribution of wealth. Socially we aim at the full development of the human personality and a ruthless uprooting and outlawing of all forms or manifestations of the racial myth.”

“To sum it up we stand for an Africanist Socialist Democracy. Here is a tree rooted in African soil, nourished with waters from the rivers of Afrika. Come and sit under its shade and become, with us, the leaves of the same branch and the branches of the same tree. Sons and Daughters of Afrika, I declare this inaugural convention of the Africanists open.”

Why did de Klerk and Nelson Mandela not adopt this approach, why did they not tell me of the damage that the system caused, the system that I was part of, the damage to the black communities, why did they not ask me to go into the Townships and have a look, to ‘become with us’? “Here is a tree rooted in African soil, nourished with waters from the rivers of Afrika. Come and sit under its shade and become, with us, the leaves of the same branch and the branches of the same tree.

I am standing on my chair, clapping, I am now the white ‘Kaalvoet’, and the entire audience, including the speakers are clapping, but they are clapping me, not Subukwe, they are clapping a white who seems to understand ‘Africanists’.

Kaalvoet 5 December 2014


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