Say no to tribalism demon - Mashatile
Johannesburg - ANC members must bury the demon of tribalism to ensure a stronger and more united party leading up to the next 100 years, Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile said on Sunday.
Quoting ANC founder Pixley Seme, Mashatile told hundreds of ANC supporters at the party's centenary celebrations launch at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Johannesburg, to ensure that there was unity within the ranks.
"What makes the ANC is unity. Let us bury the demon of tribalism and let us remember those words to the next 100 years," he said.
He thanked ANC veterans who were in attendance, for making the party what it is at present, saying the younger generation's role was to ensure that the party does not vanish.
"They must ensure that the ANC remains a beacon of hope and continues to carry the torch for the people," he said.
"We hope for a stronger ANC, one that continues to unite people."
Mashatile urged members to go on an intensive recruitment campaign to ensure that "the ANC lives forever and leads forever".
Festivities set to continue in Bloemfontein in January next year should not overshadow service delivery, said Mashatile.
"Many people still need houses, jobs, better schools and access to better health facilities. Lets not forget to speed up service delivery," he said.
"Branches need to work with South Africans and take forward the demands made in the freedom charter... those objectives need to be achieved by the next centenary."
Gauteng ANC Youth League chairperson Lebogang Maile said the youth would remain disciplined, vigilant and in defence of the revolution.
He commended the Gauteng ANC's "shining" leadership for being a united front under Mashatile.
"Other provinces must emulate what is happening in Gauteng," he said.
One after the other, ANC veterans and ANC alliance partners - including the Congress of SA trade Unions, SA Communist Party, SA National Civic Organisation - shared messages of support.
The SACP's Hope Papo said the alliance in the province was in a better state under Mashatile's "sophisticate and diligent" leadership.
All SACP's events next year will be dedicated to ANC's centenary celebrations, he said.
Cosatu's Thulas Ntseki said the federation's political home remains the ANC.
"Workers will not divide the party but will be catalysts and ensure the ANC is united," said Ntseki.
Earlier on Sunday, Sangomas blessed the start of festivities by burning impepho (traditional incense) at the ANC's provincial offices.
Kneeling in front of the door at Walter Sisulu House alongside the Sangomas, were Mashatile, his deputy Gwen Ramokgopa, and ANC veterans Ahmed Kathrada, Sophie De Bruyn and Ellen Lambert.
Mashatile was seen sprinkling snuff into a burning impepho while speaking to the ancestors. A large group of people watched while others took pictures with their cellphones.
De Bruyn, who in 1956 led a march of 20 000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against women carrying pass books said ANC members of her time had the spirit of sacrifice and self risk.
"We never asked to be paid for anything. We worked as volunteers," she said to loud cheers from the crowd, and echoing Kathadra's words from earlier.
Kathadra had said at Macosa House [the ANC offices during the 1950s] that the offices represented commitment, loyalty and hard work.
"The spirit of volunteering... it has to come back," he said.
Party supporters from various regions donning their gold, green and black regalia started gathering in the Johannesburg CBD as early as 09:00.
The mood was jovial with people dancing and singing along to struggle songs blurring out from a huge white truck which was leading the procession from Macosa House to Walter Sisulu House before the last stop at the square for a carnival.
The main celebrations would continue in January in Mangaung in Bloemfontein, where the ANC was founded in 1912. The main birthday bash would start on January 6 and would go on until January 8.
About 120 000 people were expected to attend.
Last month, the ANC said the celebrations would cost more than R100m.
"Friends" of the ANC were coming forward and helping with funding, the party's national chairperson Baleka Mbete said.
All the heads of state on the African continent had been invited.