Lest the ANC forget its way

2012-01-10 08:36

We join the millions who congratulate the ANC on reaching 100 years.

It has largely been a glorious centenary.

As with any establishment that reaches a milestone as the ANC has, it has not always been a perfect ride.

The history of the ANC mirrors that of South Africa.

In many instances, the ANC has led South Africa by squarely advancing ideas that addressed the issues of the day.

In other instances it provided thoughts that were ahead of their time.

Its very founding eschewed the primitiveness and narrowness of tribal interests at the expense of a common nationhood.

South Africa should not easily water down the radical ideas of the 1950s that met the challenge of the nascent apartheid state by declaring that freedom would come in their lifetime.

While it is easy to deify Nelson Mandela or reduce him to an affable old man, it is important to appreciate the bravery and selflessness of his generation.

They were prepared to lay down their lives for the cause of freedom, even if it meant going against their preference for a peaceful resolution of the political impasse that had obtained since the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910.

Contemporary perspectives should also not blind us to the foresight and pragmatism of the party’s leadership to enter into negotiations at the time when the armed struggle was a potent psychological campaign, but was only serving to send South Africa’s young to prisons and early graves and limiting the prospects of even the oppressors’ own youths.

These are some of the factors we hope the ANC will reflect on as it celebrates its centenary.

We hope it’ll ask itself whether and how it has been true to the ideals of its founders, and whether it has lived by its own founding template of sacrifice, serving and leading the peoples of South Africa.

It is trite to say the next 100 years will be irrevocably different. We have seen in its 17 years as a ruling party enough seeds of rot to know that it can’t be business as usual.

The best birthday present the ANC can give itself and the people of South Africa?

To never forget why it was founded and why millions still want it to create a South Africa they dream of.

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