Much can still be learnt from Sobukwe’s life and teaching

2018-01-31 06:00

Molefe Senoge, Welkom:

Let us remember Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe as one of our own for the pivotal role he played in achieving freedom.

Sobukwe was a prominent South African political dissident who founded the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in opposition to South Africa under apartheid.

He died on 27 February 1978 aged 53, when he succumbed to cancer.

Sobukwe was an outstanding leader, a visionary whose legacy is enduring, yet his name and role seem te be forgotten.

Sobukwe said that Africa was not just an economic animal to feed, but a full human being with social and spiritual dimensions. He called for the building of a society that was democratic in the form of being non-racial and character-based and socialistic in content.

It is worrying to observe the silence about this great son of Africa over the years – especially during the democratic era. From Sobukwe’s life and teaching, we learn about principles, commitment, selflessness, dedication and determination.

It is for this reason that many of his peers called him Prof. Sobukwe, a true patriot for the people of South Africa. He was firm on a non-racial South Africa.

It is indeed noteworthy to remind people that, on Sobukwe’s passing away in 1978, Prime Minister John Vorster said: “Compared to Albert Luthuli, Sobukwe was a heavy-weight.”

More than two decades after achieving freedom and democracy, how far have we traversed in realising the vision Prof. had?

His vision was to create conditions for the realisation of the full potential of individuals.

The saddest thing for Sobukwe would be the degeneration of people who spent years in the trenches fighting for liberation of the oppressed only to join the exploiters in perpetuating the misery of poor people.

Erstwhile freedom fighters are now exploiting and this is clear in bankrupt provinces, departments and municipalities, as well as a dismal failure to account for billions of rands meant for bettering the lives of the poor by developing infrastructure and impro­ving socio-economic conditions.

When dams overflow with water but the rural poor are thirsty, the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer and we fail to transform the economy to improve the lives of the poor, as the minority did to benefit themselves during their rule.

I must state firmly we have a serious challenge of leadership.

At least there are some of us who take Sobukwe’s legacy and ideas as our guiding torch.

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