The ANC does not own liberation history
November 24, 2008 § 5 Comments
Allow me to make a bold claim: it was not the ANC that brought us liberation. It was a vehicle that the people used to bring themselves to freedom. Just like the newfound Cope cannot claim to be the defender of the Constitution. The people are merely using it as a vehicle to defend the constitution.
I have been somewhat disturbed by some things that I have heard from certain leaders of the ANC of late. Words such as: “Cope is stealing our history, it is stealing our leaders.”
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but does the history of the struggle for freedom not belong to all South Africans? To claim ownership is to belittle the contribution of those who belong not only to South African history textbooks, but also to the pages of world history. Freedom belongs to no party.
The moment the ANC feels that it has the right to the history of the struggle, it won’t be too long before it tells us that we, the citizens of this country owe it, and as a result must accept anything it does to the country because without it we would not be free. We cannot, and must not allow ourselves to be held hostage by the ANC. Or any party of that matter. Whatever we may owe as a people, we owe to the red, blue, black, white, green and yellow colours of the flag.
The people who contributed to the Freedom Charter were not necessarily ANC card-carrying members. They were South Africans from all walks of life who wanted to be free. Some even contributed despite their white privilege because they desired that all people enjoy the freedoms they also enjoyed.
When Nelson Mandela and others languished in prison for so many years, it was not just for members of the ANC, but for all South Africans. They did not only struggle for black South Africans, but for those white South Africans who were imprisoned by their own prejudices. Yes, they fought for the racists too.
If history belongs to a certain party then that means Oliver Thambo, Nelson Mandela, Chief Albert Luthuli, Beyers Naude, Walter Sisulu, Ruth First, Winnie Madikizela Mandela and many others should not be taught in schools, but rather to those whose parents belong to a certain party.
To allow people to carry on talking in this manner about the heroes of the struggle is to make them smaller than they are. Then we can say that the ANC does not appreciate what it helped bring. We shall all be eternally grateful to the ANC, and we cannot belittle what it did. However, by claiming ownership of the struggle, it belittles itself.
Robert Sobukwe does not belong to the PAC, nor does Steven Bantu Biko belong to the Black Consciousness Movement.
Therefore, the people of this nation have no loyalty to any party – owe no favours to anyone. But their allegiance belongs to the country that many bled and died for.
Once again, let us cherish the history of this nation by not making it belong to a group.