Be radical like Mandela's generation - Zuma's message to youth

2017-07-17 22:49
President Jacob Zuma addressing a crowd in Nyanga at a pre-Mandela Day speech. (Paul Herman, News24)

President Jacob Zuma addressing a crowd in Nyanga at a pre-Mandela Day speech. (Paul Herman, News24)

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma has called on the youth to follow in the footsteps of former late president Nelson Mandela and his generation and achieve "radical economic transformation".

Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo belonged to a special generation of young people who were radical, robust and daring, Zuma told members of the ANC Youth League in the party's Cape Town region on Monday.

"They were not cowards. However, I must emphasise their radicalism was informed by conviction and not by convenience," he said in a speech ahead of Mandela Day, to be celebrated on Tuesday in honour of the former beloved president's birthday.

"They were radical truly because they believed in the moral and intellectual superiority of their ideas." It was Mandela's generation that formed uMkhonto we Sizwe in 1961, and he became its first commander-in-chief in the armed struggle.

He and Sisulu were convinced that the time for the armed struggle had arrived, but had to convince the rest of the organisation. "I made this example to show that internal debate is an old thing in the ANC.

You don't have to fight, you don't have to be angry. Use your logic to put in the correct line. "You could talk about each one from his generation. They were very special."

'Radical economic transformation'

He called on the youth to take on the challenge of achieving radical economic transformation in their lifetime.

"Should we remain landless forever? Should we remain in an economy that has been dominated by a few?" he asked. "No!" portions of the crowd shouted back.

"That is our task today. We need a youth that is bold. That is clear." He also said free education was crucial and is a problem that the Heher Commission on Higher Education fees is trying to solve.

"Any nation without solving the problem of free education will always be a developing country."

The process was taking time because the ANC government wanted to solve the problem "once and for all".

The youth needed to come together on the economy and land issues to "cement Madiba's togetherness", and carry on where he left off.

"We want patterns of ownership to be changed, and not held by a few, who is called white monopoly capital.

"Those who say it does not exist live in another country," he said to rapturous applause.


There were "some corners of society" still intent on separating Mandela from the ANC, the only political home he knew, he said.

His legacy was one that even "some racist, backward and reactionary formations" claim to represent Madiba's ideals.

"They will tell you, Madiba's ANC was something else, not this one," he said to laughter.

South Africa had experienced a colonialism of a special type, in that the colonised stay in the land with the colonisers after freedom. "They took land, power, your dignity and everything. When we were liberated, they stayed here.

"In those other countries, they were administrators, and when you were freed, they left.

"The ball is in your court young people to liberate ourselves economically. If we don't, we will suffer for many years to come."

They were not saying the resources should be hogged, but shared, he added.

"For us to succeed we need unity. Work for togetherness, work for justice and equality, and most importantly, work for radical-economic transformation, so the fruits of freedom can be enjoyed by all."

He called on the youth from the Dullah Omar region to win back the City of Cape Town and the province in future elections.

Read more on:    anc  |  cape town  |  politics

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