Struggle history is not just about the ANC

2012-06-23 14:07

It is quite disturbing that the ANC celebrates June 16 1976 in a disgusting and wasteful manner through the ineffective National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

In The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Czech novelist Milan Kundera observes that “the first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history, then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history”.

Upon assuming power in 1994, the ANC intensified its programme to distort aspects of our country’s history – especially the parts that relate to its own role in the liberation struggle.
Perceptions of the ANC’s role were boosted by a glut of political literature, which suggested that the ANC was the only political actor in the liberation of blacks in our country and that other parties merely played a supportive role or were acting on the orders of the ANC’s high command in exile.

It also embarked on a campaign to rename many of our country’s major landmarks after its own leaders.

It portrayed the delivery of basic services like housing and grants for the elderly as acts of ANC benevolence, when any decent state would ordinarily provide these.

Now the state hosts official June 16 commemorations and uses public funds to hire entertainers who lure the youth.

They are then bombarded with hollow speeches and leave having learned little.

Most of their recollections usually centre on the entertainment provided on the day.

This year’s state-sponsored June 16 commemoration event had the same theme as the forthcoming national conference of the ANC Youth League.

Allowing this skewed commemoration of our history gives a distorted impression of our country’s history of struggle and diminishes the contribution of other liberation organisations like the PAC and Azapo.

The greatest danger lies in a generation of young people who do not just have a poor grasp of their own history, but also engage with it in a very unthinking manner.

Those who were in the liberation struggle have a duty to ensure that our history is told in a manner that accords with historical facts – or else our youth will never learn that it was black consciousness teenage activists like Tsietsi Mashinini and Kgotso Seathlolo who orchestrated the Soweto student uprising of June 1976 and not some nameless ANC underground operatives.

And, most importantly, the painful stories of some of the youngest victims of this epoch-making uprising like Bongani Ndlovu of Soweto, Christopher Truter of Bonteheuwel and Xolile Mossi of Langa, still remain buried underneath the untruths that are being peddled by the ANC, its youth wing and now the NYDA.

» Ngobeni is Azapo’s youth president

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