EFF's mission to take back promised land

2018-07-29 06:00
Godrich Gardee (Denzil Maragele, City Press, file)

Godrich Gardee (Denzil Maragele, City Press, file) (Denzil Maragele)

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July 26 2013 shall go down in history as a day that defined an unparalleled new political landscape of South Africa similar to the February 11 1990 release of former president Nelson Mandela and the April 27 1994 emergence of the new political democratic dispensation.

We, in the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), proudly reiterate that in every epoch in the development of society, there exists a generation and a generational mission. True to this assertion, in the words of Frantz Fanon: “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it.”

In the past two centuries South Africa has had generations and each of them crafted its own destiny and persistently fought to fulfil it.

The generation of Makana, Hintsa, Cetshwayo, Dingane, Moshoeshoe, Ngungunyane Nxumalo, Goringhaiqua (the KhoiSan), Ndlambe, Maqoma, Sandile, Sekhukhune, Nyabela and many other great warriors gallantly fought against land dispossession by the 1652 Dutch settlers, today known as Afrikaaners, and, similarly so, fought against another war frontier led by the British Crown empire of colonialist soldiers competing with Dutch settlers. These leaders are a core component of a generation that vowed to resist colonialism, imperialism and land dispossession in their lifetime. They were conquered by the superior gun powders of the English and Dutch settlers, whose fourth generation today is referred to as whites in the democratic South Africa.

In the stark face of genocide, war and violence unleashed against African communities, they fought gallantly and died with their spears on their hands. There were times they would unleash revenge savagely to the dismay of the Crown in Britain and the Dutch East India Company of Holland. This generation crafted its own mission to resist land dispossession, but in the face of danger and the price of their life the generation was defeated and conquered.

The white settlers helped themselves to the livestock and land, taking advantage of terrified and traumatised African communities mourning the capture and death of their leaders at the hands of brutal forces of the European invasion. We refer to this generation as the first one whose mission was to resist land invasion and occupation.

The African communities united across tribal lines in 1900 to seek a solution to the defeat of land dispossession. They sent delegations and petitioned the queen in England to no avail. The spirit of ubuntu (humaneness) is premised on the belief by African communities that humans are made of the sameness of the Creator and no one should hurt or pay revenge to any other person. This traditional belief is typical of the decorum of African communities.

The meting out of violence and brutal suppression of the peaceful battle cry for self-determination, independence and universal suffrage led to civil disobedience, passive resistance, ungovernability in the country and ultimately, the armed struggle. This generation comprised Seme, Luthuli, Lembede, Tambo, Sisulu, Mandela and Chris Hani and their battle cry in the struggle was “freedom or death, victory is certain”. They vowed to achieve political freedom in their lifetime. They unleashed a reign of terror against the establishment of the apartheid cohorts of Botha, Malan and Verwoed. It was by no luck of time that the fourth generation of the white settlers gave in to the demands of the generational mission – freedom in our lifetime. Indeed, in their lifetime, they achieved a generational mission.

Post-1994 a new generation emerged, a phenomenon that was bound to happen. Nature allows no vacuum. The fall and rise of one generation gives birth to the existence of another generation. The defeat and fall of the generation of Cetshwayo, Dingane, Hintsa and many other great heroes and heroines of our struggle against land dispossession gave rise to the emergence of the generation of Mandela, Sisulu, Tambo, etc. The second generation rose to the occasion, achieving what they set themselves to achieve political freedom in their lifetime. Their successes cannot be taken away from them. They cannot be held liable for what they never set themselves up for.

The generation never fought against the original sin, the land dispossession and the demand for return of the land, hence Sobukwe and many others broke away to form the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania. The breakaway PAC could not mount and execute the struggle for the return of the land though the revolutionary spirit for the return of the land lived on.

After the May 2013 clarion call of “What is to be done?”, a giant was born and it crafted its own destiny, economic freedom in our lifetime.

The July 26 movement committed itself to the attainment of economic freedom in our lifetime. This marked the emergence of a generational mission movement.

The generation had three choices. The choice of basking in the glory of the forebears and not to disrupting the status quo or remaining aloof and hoping that the status quo would self-correct or, alternatively, crafting its own generational mission of the 21st century.

The latter resonated with the 1 500 delegates who had gathered in Uncle Tom’s hall on the July 26 2013 to answer the national question: “What is to be done?”

The first National People’s Assembly resolved – chief among the resolutions – that expropriation of land without compensation must happen and, although the struggle of attainment of an EFF government into office remains, the July 26 movement would implement the resolution through land occupation.

We understand the bedrock of economic freedom in our lifetime is firmly premised on the resolution of the original sin, the return of the dispossessed land.

We are on course and the EFF remains the last hope to reverse the original sin, dispossession of land.

- Gardee is secretary-general of the EFF.

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