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Sobukwe & Malcolm X vs Mandela & King

31 March 2012, 15:41

If South Arica's anti-apartheid movement were to ever echo America's civil rights movement, then the untold, unsung story of the much maligned Robert Sobukwe i.e., the  "Sobukwe clause" is almost identical to very eloquent advocate of black self-determination which Mr Malcolm Little X was known for.

Sobukwe was uniquely different from Mr. Nelson Mandela in that he was considered to be more radical in his stance and a "very dangerous threat" to white supremacist Apartheid. And for that he had to be interned into solitary confinement for who knows how long.

Robert Sobukwe,who was a lecturer at Wits University, broke ranks with the ANC and subsequently form the more militant Pan Africanist Congress on the 6th of April, 1959, becoming the group's first president.

The Pan Africanist Congress rejected any and all alliances with white people, unlike the ANC who had support from liberal whites even as far afield as the United Kingdom. Many historians on the subject of race think of Sobukwe as Malcolm X  and Nelson Mandela as Martin Luther King, and yet not many people bother to remember Robert Sobukwe as they do Nelson Mandela.

South Africa's racism under Apartheid was more raw and more intense than America's civil rights struggles ever was. Today in South Africa social inequality and violent crime patterns can predict how people will vote during elections. America has had more time under its belt to heal their old wounds of race and equality and therefore has a black middle-class that South Africa can only dream about. Still race remains  a significant factor in America as was highlighted by 17 year old Trayvon Martin's killing which so far has drawn global attention and captivating the watching world. Especially the police arrest that followed and the assertion by Zimmerman of him only defending himself when killing Trayvon.

It was suchlike reactions by officials that made Malcolm X indict white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. Robert Sobukwe spelled out his PAC's policies and painted a picture of a South Africa that would eventually oneday become a non-racial, democratic society.

Both Malcolm X and Robert Sobukwe were known for their educational achievements and powers of speeches. Malcolm X was shot dead in 1965 by members of the Nation of Islam after he had left their ranks and Robert Sobukwe died of lung cancer in 1978 while not been granted compassionate leave on medical grounds by the Apartheid regime.

Still its Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King that people choose to remember most in this day and age. Although all four of these men advocated you could say the same things,its just how two of them were broadcasting significantly different opinions and views in their approaches as to how they'd go about the issues of the day in their respective country's.


3.The Guardian Newspaper.

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