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The Movement is Very Big Now


In 1985 the ANC formally adopted non-racialism at all levels: from the grassroots to its top policy-making body. At its National Consultative Conference held in Kabwe, Zambia, the decision was taken to open the National Executive Committee to people of all races. After new elections, the NEC consisted of 25 Africans, two coloureds, two Indians and one white.i

With the rapid growth of the struggle in the country and with the discussion taking place round about '84, '85, I personally was of the view that we should begin to have members of all communities in the NEC of the ANC, and this was a view which was supported by the overwhelming majority of members of the ANC. Because it does say something if you have one or two representatives from the coloured community on the NEC. Coloured people would then feel that they have a home in the movement, they are not just stepchildren or second-class members, but they are full participants and full members. 


JAMES STUART, a veteran of Umkhonto we Sizwe's Wankie Campaign, one of the first coloureds elected to the NEC

“The important thing was that these were open elections and nobody was elected on group tickets. It was secret ballots and people were voted on in terms of how the delegates saw their contribution. There was nobody there who was voted on the basis of, `Ah, this one must be put on because he represents this sector, this one must be put on because he represents this section.'”


AZIZ PAHAD, a senior member of the ANC's London office and one of the first Indians elected to the NEC.

The Kabwe conference also reaffirmed the enduring relationship between the ANC and the SACP, with the seminal role of communists in non-racial organization cited as a cornerstone of the alliance. A few weeks after the conference, the state-run South African Broadcasting Corporation televised the most flagrant public defiance to date of the ban on the SACP: the unfurling of the Party flag at a mass funeral of four assassinated UDF leaders in the Eastern Cape village of Cradock.ii Another milestone for the SACP came in 1987, when government released imprisoned ANC and CP veteran Govan Mbeki: he immediately pledged his continued dedication to the communist ideals for which he was imprisoned. When seven top political prisoners of the ANC and SACP were released in 1989,iii their Soweto welcome rally was a living embodiment of the alliance,iv in terms of the flags, chants and speeches in support of both organizations. Such daring public promotion of the SACP symbolized the ultimate challenge to the state more than it reflected the degree of popular supportfor the party. Even non-CP members backed this assertion of the democratic right of all political organizations to exist and to campaign openly. For the SACP itself, it was a demonstration of the party's concerted effort to raise its own profile — a departure from the past emphasis on its partnership with the ANC.

“I never knew what communism was, but I can tell you, I was fifteen years old when I was first detained by the Security Police and I was already being accused of being a communist. That naturally triggered an interest in me, an interest to find out, first of all, what a communist was, and secondly, what communism had to offer us. I'd never read a single work of Marx, Engels or Lenin. The regime said I was a communist at a time when I only rebelled morally — I did not even belong to an organization at that stage. What I believe is that a truly just society is one where people have a common share in the social means that is producing wealth, and in the distribution of that wealth it is the actual producers — the workers — who take the lion's share. The reality of capitalism, however, is that that share goes to the private owners, even though they do not themselves participate directly in the production process. This is the logic of communists all over the world when we challenge the inherent injustice of the capitalist system.

Would you use the term 'racial capitalism'?

It's an ambiguous and awkward formulation. My objection arises from its inability to make an historically informed characterization of the South African problem. The term 'racial capitalism' creates the impression that South Africa's political problem emanates from the development of capitalism after the minerals' discovery. But what of the period before then, when South Africa's mode of production was pre-capitalist, and the indigenous peoples were opposing only colonial domination? We need a more objective, historic and scientific assessment of the problem. It is this which led to the Communist Party's conclusion that, although South Africa is a capitalist society, it retains for blacks the features of a colonial society. This division of the population into a large and colonized people, robbed of their right to political and economic independence, and a minority of colonial settlers who possess the country's wealth and control its political institutions and the armed forces, is the major source of conflict. Since South Africa has not resolved this principal political contradiction by way of the liberation of the oppressed, for blacks the country remains in the pre-independence era historically.

In today's capitalist South Africa black workers experience racially defined problems of exploitation. Although they constitute the same class as white workers, they are not treated equally by the capitalist class which takes advantage of their colonial status. Black workers therefore are not sensitive to anything as much as the feeling of national inequality and the violation of their right to self-determination. The identity of their class interest, therefore, is overlaid by national differentiation. The concept of `racial capitalism' does not even make the first step towards the articulation of this complexity. It is an ignorant formulation.

Do you see class as a greater factor than race?

The SACP avoids ranking these concepts in any order of importance. Rather we see their relationship as being expressed in the reality of the black workers' position — exploited as a class, oppressed as a race. Where our party makes a distinction in regard to this relationship is to assert that, because South Africa's mode of production is essentially capitalist, institutionalized racism serves the interests of class exploitation and not the other way around. It is actually outside the ANC-SACP alliance that there is an over-emphasis of class over race. In regard to the alliance we should never lose sight of the common understanding that the goal is national liberation, the building of a democratic society on the basis of the Freedom Charter. The ANC does not address itself to the question of socialism but the ANC and SACP agree that the political programme, at this stage of the revolution, is the establishment of a non-racial democracy that is anti-monopoly capitalism.

The South African government continually tries to make political capital out of the alleged white domination of the SACP, focussing on its leader, Joe Slovo. How do you see the race factor in the SACP's leadership and membership?

Whites are an almost insignificant minority in the SACP. The predominant force is composed of black people, Africans in particular. For us in the liberation movement there is absolutely no awareness and concern about Joe Slovo's colour. We are instead more aware that his part of the collective leadership comes about solely because of his personal qualities and merits, which can be traced to his record of participation in the liberation struggle. It shouldn't be forgotten incidentally that Slovo became General-Secretary after a line of African holders of that post who were also elected by virtue of their qualities — persons like Moses Kotane and Moses Mabhida. 

 I think we need to ask: who are the people who are worried about Slovo's colour? Is it the black people in South Africa? Is it the people who are singing about Slovo and Tambo? Is it the MK cadres whom Slovo has been commanding at various stages of struggle? No, no, these people are not worried about Slovo's colour — these people are overwhelmed by the fact that Slovo is a committed and sincere freedom fighter. The people who are worried about Slovo's colour are the very people who posed the colour problem for South Africa: the racist regime and those who support them from outside. They're caught up in their own racist set-up. We are defying that, and then they're worried about why we are not race-conscious in the ANC and SACP.

There has been this image that whites are the ones who are coming into the ANC as communists, when as a matter of fact, if one looks at history properly, as early as 1927 already 70 per cent of the members of the Communist Party were blacks. Incidentally, for some reason there's been the prominence of white leaders — I mean Joe Slovo, Jack Simons and so on — but maybe in a way this also has been useful for us, because it has consolidated our very non-racial approach. It is precisely these white communists who have demonstrated, perhaps more than other political groups among whites, the level to which they are willing to go, not only in defending this non-racial perspective, but also in sacrificing towards the struggle and helping to crystallize and to solidify this non-racial approach.”


MZALA, a SASO leader at the University of Zululand who joined the ANC underground, then left South Africa in 1976 and became active in both the ANC and the SACP.

 

Uph' u Tambo Where is Tambo?

UTamb' usehlathin' bafana Tambo is in the bush, guys

Wenzenina? What is he doing?

Uqeqesh' amajoni He's teaching the young fighters

Fall in — Fall in —

one line, two lines One line, two lines

Uph’ u u Slovo Where is Slovo?

USlov' usehlathin' bafana Slovo is in the bush, guys

Wenzenina? What is he doing?

Uqeqesh' amajoni He's teaching the young fighters

 


Freedom song (in Xhosa with English translation)vi sung by Umkhonto we Sizwe cadres outside South Africa and at gatherings inside the country 

 

“How would you compare the role of whites in resistance politics today, inside South Africa and in the ANC and SACP, with that of the Congress Alliance era?

It is fundamentally, absolutely different now. There's been a sort of bridge of a very important psychological barrier: in general, the whites as a community have lost confidence in their capacity to survive within racist structures permanently. And this has triggered off all kinds of defections and demonstrations on the ground — a significant minority of whites have been risking imprisonment, resisting the draft, coming to speak to the ANC, etc. So I think the fundamental difference is that there's a real search by the white community for a way out of a crisis. There was no crisis for the whites in 1953, or even in 1960. And therefore an appreciable number are moving — not completely to our side, but certainly they are what I would call part of the forces for change. It's not so much what we've done. It's happened because the chemistry of the whole situation has fundamentally altered.

How broad is the broad front going to get?

I think it is going to get as wide as possible, but perhaps at different levels. And what I mean is this: what I would call the sort of national revolutionary forces consist of the ANC-SACP alliance, the trade union movement, those who really sort of have a minimum common liberation programme. Beyond that you get an enormous panorama of different shades of opposition. I think we should certainly do our best to find a common basis for acting on those things on which we agree. As a party, we don't say to people, 'Unless you agree with socialism, we are not going to struggle against the high rents in the townships.' And in turn, the ANC should not say, 'Unless you accept and proclaim the Freedom Charter, we are not going to have a demonstration with you to protest against the Labour Relations Bill.' I don't think the ANC has moved away from its position — or the Communist Party. We believe that the Freedom Charter is the fundamental objective of the present phase, and we continue, with whoever we collaborate, to get that across. I think even at the early stages, before the Congress of South African Trade Unions was formed, our thinking was that if the Freedom Charter is going to be an obstacle to creating a united federation it's not necessary to, at this point, make it a do-or-die question. But at the COSATU congress, the mood was so overwhelmingly in favour of the Freedom Charter from the bottom up that it swept in. 

At the time of its formation, COSATU did not embrace unions that rejected non-racialism; are you saying that now that fundamental difference seems to be bridged?

I think there is a difference, but that difference should not be allowed to be an obstacle to acting together on specific issues. COSATU is not changing its policy: it's still got the Freedom Charter as its fundamental document. But what it is saying — and I think quite correctly, and should have said this from the beginning, actually — is, 'Listen, where we can, let's act together. There's a three-day strike, there's a campaign for a living wage — why don't you join in the campaigns?' 

I think you must remember the movement is very big now, very big, and it's not all part of some monolith, where instructions are handed down. There are lots of people who support us who even go further than we go, who are much more hard-line and who refuse to work with people unless they are full members of the church and can recite the catechism, you know, and this is a phenomenon which we've learned to live with. But as a movement, I think we must distinguish between what our policy is and what the basis of our alliances are with other groupings — these are two completely different things.

You see, there's a difference at the formative stage, where you're trying to define your character. It's an understandable process: we stand for this, we oppose what they stand for. In fact, in the early stage, when we used to say to COSATU, 'Why don't you open up?' their answer was, 'We're not strong enough yet, it's going to create all kinds of diversions and in-fighting, internal squabbles.' I think, in a sense, COSATU's new stance is not a change of policy — it's a measure of the fact that they are now strong enough. 

Let me give you an example: up to about 1984, '85, I was one of the strongest opponents within the movement of opening up the ranks of the ANC's NEC to minority groups. This wasn't just discussed in 1985 — it's been discussed since 1965. I opposed it then because the ANC was enormously weakened after 1960. It didn't exist inside the country: it was like a tender plant, in a way, that had to take root and grow. And at that stage, had the ANC decided to open up its ranks, it would have faced such a salvo from right and left, from BC, from Africa, that it would have been damaging to the ANC.

One changed one's attitude towards that question when the ANC was transformed from a purely agitational opposition into an alternative power, which it started becoming from about 1984. With the massive sort of welling-up of sympathy and support for the ANC, it then became strong enough to risk the kind of flak which inevitably would be hurled at it. What I'm trying to say is that you've got to analyze policy in relation to a context.

Things change.” 


JOE SLOVO, Communist Party member since 1940, a founder member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, SACP General-Secretary since 198Z and a member of the ANC NEC.

White hostility to the rooi gevaar (red danger) has been orchestrated by the Nationalist Party ever since it outlawed communism in 1950. In the black community militant anti-communism is largely confined to a tiny clique of state-supported politicians and conservative church leaders,vii but opposition to communism has also been a recuring strand in the ideology of the Pan-Africanist Congress. It was the alleged 'infiltration' of white and Indian communists into the ANC, plus the non-racial preamble and 'leftist' economic clauses of the Freedom Charter, that provoked the PAC breakaway. Three decades later, despite ideological detours that led to its policies being labelled variously, 'Maoist', `Marxist-Leninist' and Africanist-socialise, the PAC's anti-communism remained implacable. Its chief target was the SACP.

The PAC regards the SACP as quacks rather than communists This position was restated by the PAC Secretary for Economic Affairs, Comrade Mfanasekhaya Pearce Gqobose, in Dar es Salaam recently. Addressing a regular closed meeting of PAC cadres on the topic, The PAC position towards the SACP', Comrade Gqobose quoted the founding president of the PAC, Mangaliso Sobukwe, who stated that South Africa was unfortunate in her choice of Christians and communists They were all quacks. 

They are all settlers, at heart and mind. They continue to resist the propagation of or the practical implementation of the idea of working on the basis of one African Nationhood, whereby all that pay their only allegiance to Africa and accept the democratic rule of an African majority shall be regarded as Africans.

The SACP, Comrade Gqobose charged, pandered to white supremacist ideas when in 1922 it marched under the banner proclaiming that position. Similarly, in 1928 it rejected Stalin's 'Black Republic' thesis despite the fact that its membership consisted of 1,600 Africans against only 128 whites, the latter of whom were mainly in the leadership. When in 1950 the South African Parliament was debating the Suppression of Communism Act, the SACP chose to disband rather than organize underground.viii They then chose to infiltrate the ANC, water down the struggle of the African, thus causing division among the African ranks, Comrade Gqobose continued. Africans must lead. That is their country.


Azania News: The Official Organ of the Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania, Vol. 26, No. 3, 1989.

Compelling evidence that non-racialism prevailed even in the most sensitive sectors of the liberation movement emerged from trials of Umkhonto we Sizwe cadres. A daring bomb blast at the infamous John Vorster Square Security Police headquarters turned out to be the work of a white female 'terrorist'.ix The prosecution of an alleged Western Cape ANC cell was dubbed the 'Rainbow Trial' because its fourteen defendants represented a colour and class spectrum of South African society.x An eminent black priest testifying before the sentencing of three white MK members told the court that they were seen in Soweto as 'kings and queens' because 'whites who do not have obvious reasons to cast their lot with blacks are regarded as more than heroes'.xi

Another important element of the non-racialism of the ANC is its internationalism: the theory that the interests of oppressed peoples transcend national boundaries. Thus the broad front of forces for change in South Africa welcomes not only non-Africans, but non-South Africans who share the goal of non-racial democracy. Foreigners have been involved in South African resistance politics for decades, in unions, churches and universities. This kind of  international solidarity has also benefited the ANC's underground military operations.xii

“At the beginning of 1985, I made the mistake of accepting a post to lecture at the University of Fort Hare in the bantustan of Ciskei. I know now I should not have accepted this post. Its creation was the direct result of the scandalous cooperation between the French government and the apartheid regime.'xiii But I am present here today also because of the people of France, who mobilized against apartheid and against the relationship between the Botha government and the French government, and finally forced my government to obtain my release. 

When one has, as I have, lived in South Africa and participated in the just struggle of its people for freedom and rights, one can only be convinced of the completely non-racial nature of this struggle. It reminds me of the complete solidarity which linked us together — my comrades of the ANC and myself — in the Ciskeian jails where I happened to be the only white man. The struggle for a non-racial, democratic South Africa continues in the prisons of that country. 

Today I am proud to be in a position to continue the struggle against apartheid in France to obtain comprehensive and mandatory sanctions against South Africa and to increase the support for the ANC in France. Amandla!”


Pierre-André Albertini, a French citizen who spent a year in a Ciskei jail for his involvement in Umkhonto we Sizwe, in a statement to the ANC's international solidarity conference, December 1987, in Arusha, Tanzania.xiv 

 

“South Africa, it's a racist country, so if you are white you're less suspicious. Once I was with a load of arms and there was a roadblock and they stopped me. And then they said wait, because there came a car with black people, a small bus full of people, and they were searched — everything, body-searched and under the car and in the car. But they were very friendly to me, because I was white. They said, `So you're lost. That doesn't matter, we'll bring you.' So I was with my load of arms, and with police cars they brought me more or less to the spot where I wanted to be!

Do you think it was important on a political level that you, as a white, a foreigner, were doing underground ANC work?

No, because then you are conscious of the fact. If you believe in democracy, if you believe in non-racialism, if you believe in ending exploitation, then everything in South Africa goes completely against every value that you think is important. And the way the ANC interpreted only attacking economic and military and strategic objectives, I was completely behind that. It's not terrorist attacks.

All these things I thought over before starting, but now I have to discuss these kind of things in Holland because I'm very much attacked by a lot of people who are against apartheid, but who see it often only in terms of a human rights struggle. The moment a Dutchman shows that he took part in the armed struggle, they say you are a terrorist.

And then I have to explain why I think it is a bit like in the Second World War. I compare the situations: the children who are tortured, the exploitation, the destabilization of the frontline states,'xv no political rights, deportations — all the things done by the Nazis are comparable. And then people say, la, but the South Africans didn't kill six million people.' Well, the Nazis didn't need the Jews, and the South Africans need the black South Africans — they are the cheap labour power. You don't kill the chicken who lays the golden egg.

The fact that I admitted that I had smuggled arms, that gave way to this whole discussion of the use of violence. `By your actions you could have killed harmless civilians, women and children' — the same thing the South Africans say. I tried to explain the structural violence under apartheid. And I also said, `Consider me, for example, like a Swede or a Swiss who is during the Second World War in Holland. Switzerland was neutral in the Second World War, isn't it? And Sweden also. So if a Swede or Swiss was living in Holland, would it be so strange if he sees what Nazism means and he would say, `Okay, I'm going to join the Dutch resistance movement'?”


KLAAS DE JONGE, a Dutch citizen who was arrested for Umkhonto we Sizwe activities in 1985, then escaped from the Security Police and sought refuge in the Dutch Embassy in Pretoria where he spent two years holed up until his release in a prisoner exchange

The consolidation of the ANC's own power and the fortification of its alliances contrasted with the faltering confidence of the minority government, which had lost the strategic initiative. The political tide was turning, a point not lost on that important shaper of ruling ideology, the secret Afrikaner Broederbond. Behind the public bravado geared at impressing the domestic right wing and the international community, the Broederbond was constructing a fall-back position. Its new pragmatism precipitated a serious erosion of classic apartheid, but stopped short of conceding the non-racial unitary democracy demanded by the liberation movement.

The existence of a variety of groups and sub-groups within the geographical area of the Republic of South Africa is recognized by means of freedom of association. Ethnicity is certainly a reality regarding the identification of minority groups and communities, but this does not imply the absoluteness of group rights. Furthermore, the exclusion of effective black sharing in political processes at the highest level is a threat to the survival of the white man, which cannot be countered by maintaining the status quo or by a further consolidation of power in white hands.

This means that everyone must be able to serve on the highest legislative and executive levels, whatever the future political system may be. This can also mean that in some models the head of government does not necessarily have to be white (as is presently not excluded), but the post must be defined and the executive power restricted in such a way that the power that this post entails will not be applied in such a way that one group dominates the others. Power-sharing must be such that there can be no group domination. The rights and aspirations of groups must be protected and satisfied.

This means that there can no longer be a white government. There can, however, not be a black, e.g. Zulu, government, either. The majority of the government members will indeed be black, but the system and procedure will be operated in such a way that all the groups can participate effectively and not be dominated by one group. The status quo can, therefore, not continue to exist, but can also not be simply reversed so that white control is replaced by black control.

In conclusion, there are various mechanisms which can be applied in models or structures in order to comply with the above-mentioned requirements or conditions. A test which we should set for the acceptability of a system must always be: What will be in our interests in the event that we end up in the opposition seat? Furthermore, we must also realize that, humanly speaking, there simply are no guarantees. We must think in terms of probabilities, of calculated risks. The will to survive as Afrikaner, and our faith and energy, will serve as our greatest guarantee. Should the Afrikaner not succeed through its own creative power to bring about negotiated structures which are strong and flexible enough to accommodate the conflicting powers in the country, it is inevitable that structures will be forced upon him in which he has no share at all. This will make self-determination impossible. 


`Basic Political Values for the Survival of the Afrikaner’,xvi 'strictly confidential' Afrikaner Broederbond memorandum, 1989. 

As at so many junctures in South African history, multi-racialism and non-racialism were counterposed. Even as it groped for a way out of the deepening crisis, the ruling white minority clutched at 'group rights' in an effort to counter 'group domination'. In stark Contrast, the ANC pledged its commitment to safeguarding the social, cultural and religious rights of all individuals. In an effort to convert the Freedom Charter 'from a vision of the future into a constitutional reality', the ANC submitted its guidelines for a future non-racial state.

THE STATE

(a) South Africa shall be an independent, unitary, democratic and nonracial state.

(b) Sovereignty shall belong to the people as a whole and shall be exercised through one central legislature, executive, judiciary and administration. Provision shall be made for delegation of the powers of the central authority to subordinate administrative units for purposes of more efficient administration and democratic participation.

(c) The institution of hereditary rulers and chiefs shall be transformed to serve the interests of the people as a whole in conformity with the democratic principles embodied in the constitution.

(d) All organs of government, including justice, security and armed forces, shall be representative of the people as a whole, democratic in their structure and functioning, and dedicated to defending the principles of the constitution.

FRANCHISE

(e) In the exercise of their sovereignty, the people shall have the right to vote under a system of universal suffrage based on the principles of one person/one vote.

(f) Every voter shall have the right to stand for election and to be elected to all legislative bodies.

NATIONAL IDENTITY

(g) It shall be state policy to promote the growth of a single national identity and loyalty binding on all South Africans. At the same time, the state shall recognize the linguistic and cultural diversity of the people and provide facilities for free linguistic and cultural development.

BILL OF RIGHTS AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

(h) The constitution shall include a Bill of Rights based on the Freedom Charter. Such a Bill of Rights shall guarantee the fundamental human rights of all citizens, irrespective of race, colour, sex or creed, and shall provide appropriate mechanisms for their protection and enforcement.

(i) The state and all social institutions shall be under constitutional duty to eradicate racial discrimination in all its forms.

(j) The state and all social institutions shall be under a constitutional duty to take active steps to eradicate, speedily, the economic and social inequalities produced by racial discrimination.

(k) The advocacy or practice of racism, fascism, nazism or the incitement of ethnic or regional exclusiveness or hatred shall be outlawed.

(1) Subject to clauses (i) and (k) above, the democratic state shall guarantee the basic rights and freedoms, such as freedom of association, thought, worship and the press. Furthermore, the state shall have the duty to protect the right to work and guarantee the right to education and social security.

(m) All parties which conform to the provision of (i) to (k) above shall have the legal right to exist and to take part in the political life of the country.

ECONOMY

(n) The state shall ensure that the entire economy serves the interests and well-being of the entire population.

(o) The state shall have the right to determine the general context in which economic life takes place and define and limit the rights and obligations attaching to the ownership and use of productive capacity.

(p) The private sector of the economy shall be obliged to cooperate with the state in realizing the objectives of the Freedom Charter in promoting social well-being.

(q) The economy shall be a mixed one, with a public sector, a private sector, a cooperative sector and a small-scale family sector.

(r) Cooperative forms of economic enterprise, village industries and smallscale family activities shall be supported by the state.

(s) The state shall promote the acquisition of management, technical and scientific skills among all sections of the population, especially the blacks.

(t) Property for personal use and consumption shall be constitutionally protected.

LAND

(u) The state shall devise and implement a land reform programme that will include and address the following issues: abolition of all racial restrictions on ownership and use of land, and implementation of land reform in conformity with the principle of affirmative action, taking into account the status of victims of forced removals.'xvii

WORKERS

(v) A charter protecting workers' trade union rights, especially the right to strike and collective bargaining, shall be incorporated into the constitution.

WOMEN

(w) Women shall have equal rights in all spheres of public and private life and the state shall take affirmative action to eliminate inequalities and discrimination between the sexes.

THE FAMILY

(x) The family, parenthood and children's rights shall be protected.

INTERNATIONAL

(y) South Africa shall be a non-aligned state committed to the principles of the Charter of the OAU and the Charter of the UN and to the achievement of national liberation, world peace and disarmament.


ANC Constitutional Guidelines for a Democratic South Africa, released in 1988.

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NOTES

i The non-Africans elected were Reg September, James Stuart, Aziz Pahad, Mac Maharaj and Joe Slovo. In 1988, another white (Umkhonto we Sizwe strategist Ronnie Kasrils) was elected to the NEC.

ii The SABC broadcast of the funeral of Matthew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkhonto and Sicelo Mhlauli conveyed the false impression that eminent clerics such as Beyers Naude  and Bishop Desmond Tutu were marching under the flag of, and were thus in support of, the SACP.

iii In October 1989, on the eve of the Commonwealth conference that was to consider strengthening sanctions against Pretoria, President F. W. de Klerk released the prisoners: five who had been arrested at Rivonia in 1963 (Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi and Raymond Mhlaba) plus Wilton Mkwayi, who had been caught a year later. Also released was Oscar Mpetha, a UDF and trade union leader who was South Africa's oldest political prisoner, jailed since 1985, and PAC leader Jafta Masemola, who had been the country's longest-serving political prisoner after Nelson Mandela (who remained in prison at that stage). Kathrada, Mkwayi, Motsoaledi, Mhlaba and Mpetha had also been members of the CPSA before it was banned.

iv According to the jargon of activists inside South Africa, 'the alliance' was often code for the SACP itself. Thus members of a COSATU delegation visiting Harare in 1989 asked if, in addition to holding talks with the ANC and SACTU, they could also 'meet the alliance'.

v At the SACP's seventh congress in 1989 it reported a 90 per cent growth in membership since its 1984 conference, with a racial breakdown of members as follows: 70 per cent African, 16 per cent white, 10 per cent Indian and 4 per cent coloured.

vi The translation is in keeping with the militant spirit of the song; hence bafana is translated as guys rather than boys, and amajoni, usually understood to mean the virile young rural men who go to work on the mines, is taken to mean young freedom fighters.

vii The claimed black support of a vociferous anti-communist organization, Victims Against Terrorism, was exposed as spurious when the few blacks demonstrating against the ANC on the fifth anniversary of the May 1983 bombing of the Pretoria military headquarters admitted to journalists that they had all been bussed into Pretoria and paid for their services by the VAT's white leaders. A black figure frequently cited as an opponent of 'the communists' and a proponent of sanctions, by the South African government as well as Ronald Reagan, was the right-wing Bishop Isaac Mokoena. The African Spiritual Churches Association publicly dissociated itself from him, charging that his claim to lead 4.5 million members is unfounded and that `Mokoena is opposed to all progressive organizations and frequently flies abroad for the purpose of portraying the false image that the South African Indigenous Churches support the government's policy of apartheid. The funding of his trips is questionable.'

viii This text contains a number of inaccuracies: striking miners in the Rand Revolt were not members of the CPSA; the CPSA did not reject the Black Republic thesis; and the disbanded CPSA reorganized underground as the SACP.

ix Marion Sparg, sentenced to 25 years in prison in 1987.

x The media focussed on white trialist Jennifer Schreiner, an academic and a descendant of the feminist writer, Olive Schreiner. It emerged in court testimony that she had been the target of unsuccessful Security Police efforts to turn her into a spy, so as to create the impression that she had been 'planted' in the struggle and to make the point that whites could not be trusted.

xi SACC president Bishop Manas Buthelezi, testifying at the trial of Damian de Lange, Ian Robertson and Susan Westcott, 26 October 1989. The next week  newly released ANC leaders Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni attended the trial as a show of support for the 'Broederstroom Three', who were sentenced to 25 years, 20 years and 18 years in prison, respectively.

xii The list of foreigners who have engaged in South African resistance politics includes the founder of the ICU, Clements Kadalie, a Malawian, and several people who served prison terms for Umkhonto we Sizwe activities, including Alex Moumbaris, a French citizen; David and Sue Rabkin, both British passport holders; Sean Hosey, an Irish citizen; and Helene Passtoors, of dual Dutch/Belgian nationality. The list of clerics who have been actively involved in South African politics includes Anglican Bishop Trevor Huddleston, who now leads the British Anti-Apartheid Movement; Michael Lapsley and John Osmers, New Zealand Anglican priests active with the ANC's Department of Religious Affairs, who were both seriously injured in parcel bomb attacks; and Casimir Paulson, an American Catholic priest who was detained and tortured for three months in Transkei in 1987 and then went to Zimbabwe to work with South African exiles.

xiii Albertini's self-effacing account obscures the fact that it was his decision to do an alternative to French military service that resulted in his posting as a civil servant teaching French at Fort Hare (declared by the South African government to be part of the homeland or bantustan of Ciskei). He chose to accept the posting, believing that the journalistic work he could do (under a pseudonym) would make the experience worthwhile.

xiv In September 1987, De Jonge, Albertini and 133 Cubans held by the South Africans were exchanged for a South African prisoner-of-war captured by the Angolans, Wynand du Toit.

xv Since 1980, Pretoria has invaded Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland; supported dissident groups in neighbouring states; and attacked their transport and communications links. These actions all represented efforts to 'destabilize' the economies of South Africa's majority-ruled neighbours.

xvi The document notes that 'the survival of the Afrikaner is coupled with the survival of the white man, and therefore many of these conditions are also applicable to the survival of the white man'.

xvii Those who have been moved out of 'white areas' and forcibly relocated to segregated black living areas or bantustans.

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