Malema and his like claim false victory

ulius Malema's article, published in Sowetan on March 29, alleging the campaign that led to the Sharpeville and Langa massacres was started by the ANC cannot go uncorrected.

Malema and his fellow revisionists will very soon tell us that Jesus Christ never existed.

The PAC Youth League (PACYL) would like to set the record straight for the benefit of Malema and his fellow revisionists by reiterating that the anti-pass campaign that led to the Sharpeville and Langa massacres were organised and led by the PAC.

The PAC, at its first annual national conference in December 1959, resolved to launch the anti-pass campaign as its first campaign towards attaining independence.

The PAC, through its founding president Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, made a clarion call to the African people to leave their passes at home and surrender themselves to the nearest police station so that they could be arrested for refusing to carry the hated documents.

The date for the protest was set for March 21 1960.

The PAC invited the ANC to join the protest. The ANC responded through their then general-secretary Duma Nokwe - via the media - that the ANC would not join a protest that had no prospect of success. The ANC did not say they had planned a campaign of their own, as now alluded to by those who wish to deny history.

Even if one were to believe that the ANC had organised its own campaign for March 31 1960, or beginning of April 1960, according to Malema, in terms of this assertion the ANC was going to burn their passes on March 31 1960, which in itself would have been counter-productive.

Instead, only Chief Albert Luthuli his pass - as an act grandstanding

If the ANC is sincere that they had indeed planned to burn their passes on March 31 1960, they could have done so.

Political parties were only banned in April 1960. This could have added more impact to the campaign against the pass laws.

The protest that was led by the PAC was peaceful and non-violent. Sobukwe wrote to the then commissioner of police asking him to restrain the police from resorting to the use of brutal force.

The prophetic Sobukwe said: "The African people have entrusted their whole future to us. And we have sworn that we are leading them, not to death, but to life abundant. My instructions, therefore, are that our people must be taught now and continuously that in this campaign we are going to observe absolute non-violence. .... The government will be ruthless."

The Sharpeville/Langa massacres closed an old chapter and opened a new one in South African politics. The pass laws were suspended, the PAC leadership was jailed and political parties were banned.

The PAC was the first political party to form a military wing known as Poqo, which later became known as Apla.

When the PAC was banned it was only one year in existence. The ANC was 48 years old and had not achieved much. The PAC leaders were the first political prisoners to arrive on Robben Island.

Jeff Masemola and John Nkosi were the first prisoners to be sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.

It is unfortunate that Malema has decided to drag the name of Nelson Mandela in his effort to distort history. Malema treats Mandela's book as a Bible that tells the gospel truth, or Mandela as a saint in order to achieve credibility.

For the first time in the history of this country, respectable publications such as the Financial Mail, Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times and Sowetan have openly acknowledged that the event was organised and led by the PAC.

In a recent article that appeared in Sowetan, the former ANC president and president of the country Thabo Mbeki said: "Responding to a call by the PAC, our people gathered in front of police stations on March 21 1960 to demand the 'pass' denounced as 'a badge of slavery'."

I know that Malema and his fellow revisionists will deny that Mbeki ever existed, let alone that he is a former ANC president and was president of the country.

The ANC has always sought to monopolise the history of the liberation of our country. It has projected itself as the only liberation movement in the country.

The ANC does not hold any copyright to our struggle and freedom thereof. We should fulfil what Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said - that we need to acknowledge the vital role played by other political parties.

We cannot fulfil that if the people do not know the truth, which is why the PACYL will defend the history.

The protest was a nation-building programme, so truth needs to be told. Motlanthe said on March 21 during the commemoration of the Sharpeville killings that it is high time to appreciate the role played by other political organisations in the liberation struggle.

Our history is written in blood; no amount of lies written in ink can erase it.

We should remind Malema and his ilk about the famous statement by Amilcar Cabral: "Tell no lies, claim no easy victories."

lThe writer is president of the PAC Youth League