Virtuous Myeza would want us to be radical

2012-07-28 09:31

This month marked 22 years since we lost Muntu Myeza to a car accident on July 3 1990.

While a student at the University of Zululand, he joined the black consciousness movement (BCM) through the South African Students’ Organisation (Saso).

In 1974, aged just 24, he was elected Saso general secretary and helped to execute the Viva Frelimo rallies.

These formed part of Saso’s campaign to liberate blacks in South Africa and celebrated the defeat of Portuguese settler-colonialism by Mozambique’s people under Samora Machel’s leadership.

The apartheid regime banned the rally, but scores of people turned up in Durban and Turf­loop anyway.

The apartheid police then hunted the Saso leadership down and arrested Myeza along with countless others.

They were charged and detained under the notorious Terrorism Act and their trial dragged on through most of 1975 and all of 1976.

When Steve Biko was called to give evidence on behalf of the accused, he spoke with breathtaking eloquence and turned the whole trial into a lecture on the meaning of black consciousness.

Nine people, including Myeza, were found guilty and sentenced to serve various prison terms on Robben Island.

While on the island some, like Mosiuoa Lekota, decided to desert the BCM and join other political groups.

Myeza considered this an act of betrayal.

He and the rest of the Black Consciousness Movement leadership remained obstinately committed.

At the time of his release, in December 1982, Saso was still banned, so Myeza continued his activism under the Azanian People’s Organisation (Azapo).

Myeza was so committed to the cause of revolution that he believed one had to defend it with one’s very life.

He didn’t wince when Azapo instructed him to serve as secretary for defence – a position he held with distinction until his passing.

Myeza was a principled ­­­­and thinking radical, who did not countenance any form of cowardice or political liberalism.

Were he alive today, he would want the black intelligentsia to account for why our intellectual space is being dominated by analysts and academics whose preoccupation is defending the economic interests of the black and white elite.

He would regard it as a national scandal that those who rule over us can instantly mobilise busloads of their supporters to remonstrate against a painting, but don’t show the same urgency and anger when their comrades fail to do something as basic as delivering textbooks in a country with frightening illiteracy levels.

He would remind us that the face of poverty, landlessness and economic deprivation remains black.

And that “the second phase of the transition” is intended simply to manage the economic powerlessness
of the black majority and not change it.

As he was Pan-Africanist, he would ask us whether a South African being the chairperson of the African Union will prevent situations like the one in Libya that saw the armed forces of Western imperialism assassinate Muammar Gaddafi; or in Ivory Coast, where they captured Laurent Gbagbo.

Myeza would want his beloved Azapo to explain why it seems so calm when so much injustice is being meted out to the poor black majority in our country?

Myeza was a paragon of noble virtues, whose selflessness earned him the honour of being affectionately called Ingelosi Yomhlaba.

There is no other way of honouring Myeza’s legacy than to confront the suffering of the black majority
in a direct and radical manner.

»?Mbele is president of the Azanian?Youth Organisation

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