The death of ANC stalwarts this month has made us remember that April is the month of events.
The arrival of Jan van Rieebeck, the formation of the PAC, the banning of the ANC and PAC, the hanging of Solomon “Kalushi” Mahlangu, the death of Chris Hani, the death of Andries Treunicht, the dath of OR Tambo, South Africa’s first ever democratic elections.
This year, the deaths of Winnie Mandela, George Nene and Dr Zola Skweyiya.
April then should be considered a historic month. Some of these events are the cornerstone that shaped this country.
The arrival of van Riebeeck marked the official colonisation of South Africa.
It was in that light that ANC government rescinded April 6, the Founder’s Day, previously known as Van Riebeeck’s Day.
On the same day in 1959, Africanists who were opposed to the Freedom Charter broke away from the ANC to form the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania.
They held that Azania is the real name of the part of Africa we live in.
A year later, both the ANC and the PAC were banned. That marked the turning point in the politics of South Africa. They were left with no choice but to take up arms and return “fire with fire”.
On 6 April 1979, one of the gallant fighters of our struggle for liberation was hanged by the apartheid regime. On that day he said: “My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the fight.”
In the morning 10 1993 April the country woke up to the shocking news of the cold-blooded murder of Chris Hani. Hani was the darling revolutionary across the left political spectrum. If it was not for Nelson Mandela’s leadership, the country could have descended into bloodshed.
“Now is the time for all South Africans to stand together against those who, from any quarter, wish to destroy what Chris Hani gave his life for - the freedom of all of us,” Mandela said.
It seemed the negotiations were in jeopardy.
OR Tambo passed on, on 24 April and his death was attributed to the strain of Hani’s death.
OR was at the helm of the ANC for 30 years and he epitomised excellence in leadership.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t reach the promised land. The leader of the Conservative Party Andries Treunicht, which was opposed to a negotiated political settlement, also passed away in April.
This year, the Mother of the Nation, Winnie Mandela took her last breath at a time when the country was abuzz with the renewal of the ANC.
She was 81 years old. On 6 April, it was the turn of former ambassador to Nigeria and Switzerland, George Nene. 11 April was the demise of former Minister of Public Administration and Social Development to Mandela and Mbeki respectively.
The ANC had entrusted Dr Zola Skweyiya the huge task of drawing constitutional guidelines for the new South Africa after the unbanning of political organisations. In latter years, Skweyiya had explicitly expressed his opinions ex-president Zuma’s shenanigans, saying he must step down.
However the challenges and pain that this month of April visists upon us, may we take 27 of April as consolation prize.