The revolution is not an abstract thing – Solly Mapaila

2016-12-01 10:30
The SACP's Solly Mapaila speaking at the Fidel Castro memorial event held at Johannesburg City Hall. (Tshidi Madia/News24)

The SACP's Solly Mapaila speaking at the Fidel Castro memorial event held at Johannesburg City Hall. (Tshidi Madia/News24)

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Johannesburg – South Africa needs to reprioritise its revolution in memory of fallen former Cuban president Fidel Castro, says the SACP's Solly Mapaila.

"Let's not celebrate Fidel Castro in abstract, so that we can self-praise ourselves," said Mapaila at a memorial event held in honour of the revolutionary leader of the small Caribbean nation.

The ANC and its alliance partners have held several events to honour Castro's life and his contribution to South Africa's own struggle for liberation.

Mapaila joined the ANC Women's League's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini and ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe, amongst others, at the Johannesburg City Hall on Wednesday.

Castro, who died on Friday, was described by most speakers at the event as the epitome of humanity, a true revolutionary, a selfless combatant and leader who led by example.

"Our revolution should apologise to nobody, it was won by the blood and sweat of our martyrs," said Mapaila.

Castro's vision praised

He also reminded those gathered in the hall, who often broke into applause and cheers, that leaders like Walter Sisulu, Chris Hani and Joe Slovo died fighting for South Africa.

Mapaila, unlike other speakers, did not focus his speech on calls for unity but instead emphasised the need for self-criticism, saying the movement needed to be critical instead of destructive.

"How do we defend our revolution here? We can't even build a basic street committee and you think we can rebuild the revolution? We have to reorganise ourselves so we can defend this revolution," he said.

The SACP deputy general secretary praised Castro's vision and decisions around land issues, his sending of troops to Angola to assist in combat there and prioritising healthcare and education in his small island state. Mapaila praised a campaign which was started in order to boost literacy levels in Cuba.

"That's why they developed the each one teach one campaign, so they can communicate with the revolution," he said.

State capture a threat to 'sovereignty'

"Comrade SG [addressing Mantashe] we can put many slogans in the campaign for elections for instance, or statistics of what we have done, but the poor can't read. They don't know what is there on the streets, just simple flowers," he added.

He called on the revolution to prioritise itself, but before making his closing remarks, the SACP leader focused on the ideal of sovereignty, which he praised Castro for maintaining in Cuba.

He warned against corporate capture, telling a cheering crowd that a country that allows itself to be captured could not be a sovereign state. Mapaila said the communists in the alliance constantly warned against corporate state capture.

"If you allow the corporates to control your state, to decide what happens in your state, you cannot run a sovereign state," he said.

He also criticised South Africa for failing to follow in the footsteps of Angola which had sent a large delegation to pay the country's respects to the former liberation hero.

"We cannot even do it here, because we are afraid. We have to appreciate the contribution of the Cubans so we can pay proper respect," said Mapaila.

President Jacob Zuma, who was already in Cuba to speak at a rally, would also be attending Castro's funeral. The SACP's General-Secretary Blade Nzimande would also be in the country as it mourns the death of its leader.

Read more on:    sacp  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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