Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat. Noted African American historian, Dr. John Henrik Clarke informs us about what happened during the Mossi dynasty in ancient Ghana which should be a lesson to some South Africans. He says the Mossi dynasty was made up of people who invaded Ghana from the Volta River known as the Mossi in the 3rd century. They overthrew the local dynasty and took over the Kingship until 770. The local dynasty then grew stronger and in turn overthrew the Mossi dynasty.
The Arabs and the Jews migrated to Ghana and practiced their religions which were at odds with local African religions which indicated that Africans were tolerant of different religions. However, in 770 in the Common Era or (AD) when local rulers found out that the Jews were collaborating with the Arabs to take over the state, they were expelled.
Dr. Clarke says this proves that throughout history we have been their friends, we have been naive about them; they have never returned the friendship or sent us a thank you note. I am certain that Dr. Clarke includes Europeans or whites.
What I fail to understand is why those in the ANC almost invariably ignore the views of PAC founding President, Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe when he was so spot on in his analysis of this country’s problems. Sobukwe faced reality. He told it like it is.
In his 1949 graduation speech he said, “The battle is on. To me the struggle at the hospital is more than a question of indiscipline in inverted commas. It is a struggle between Africa and Europe, between a twentieth-century desire for self-realisation and a feudal conception of authority."
He continued to say, “We want to build a new Africa, and only we can build it….Let me plead with you, lovers of my Africa, to carry with you into the world the vision of a new Africa, an Africa reborn, an Africa rejuvenated, an Africa recreated, young Africa.”
About ten years later during the PAC’s inaugural Convention, Sobukwe continued the theme he began at Fort Hare when he said, “In conclusion, I wish to state that the Africanists do not at all subscribe to the fashionable doctrine of South African exceptionalism. Our contention is that South Africa is an integral part of the indivisible whole that is Afrika. She cannot solve her problems in isolation from and with utter disregard of the rest of the continent.
“It is precisely for that reason that we reject both apartheid and so-called multi-racialism as solutions of our socio-economic problems. Apart from the number of reasons and arguments that can be advanced against apartheid, we take our stand on the principle that Afrika is one and desires to be one and nobody, I repeat, nobody has the right to balkanise our land.”
“Against multi-racialism we have this objection, that the history of South Africa has fostered group prejudices and antagonisms, and if we have to maintain the same group exclusiveness, parading under the term of multi-racialism, we shall be transporting to the new Afrika these very antagonisms and conflicts. Further, multi-racialism is in fact a pandering to European bigotry and arrogance. It is a method of safeguarding white interests, implying as it does, proportional representation irrespective of population figures. In that sense it is a complete negation of democracy. To us the term "multi-racialism" implies that there are such basic insuperable differences between the various national groups here that the best course is to keep them permanently distinctive in a kind of democratic apartheid. That to us is racialism multiplied, which probably is what the term truly connotes.”
Those who refuse to learn from Sobukwe have transported to the new Africa the problems from the old Africa through secretive Codesa negotiations. They held secret meetings with Harry Oppenheimer, a man who hated Sobukwe with a passion. That is why they don’t want to quote Sobukwe or to talk about him because they know they did everything wrong that Sobukwe spoke against. The “new South Africa” was built on conditions laid down by South Africans of European descent and their imperialist backers. All the leaders of the governing party - Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and others - were part of the secret negotiations that were held inside the country and in London.
They subscribed to the fashionable doctrine of South African exceptionalism, they embraced both apartheid and multi-racialism as solutions of our socio-economic problems and unlike the Africanists, the Charterists didn’t have the objection that the history of South Africa has fostered group prejudices and antagonisms, and maintained the same group exclusiveness, parading under the term of multi-racialism, therefore, transported to the new Afrika these very antagonisms and conflicts.
They pay lip service to the concept of non-racialism which they learnt from the PAC because they embraced multi-racialism until Sobukwe criticised them that multi-racialism is racialism multiplied. When they get platforms like last week at the inauguration of former President Thabo Mbeki as Chancellor of Unisa, they engage in grand standing and posturing. If they are not grand standing and posturing why are they ignoring Sobukwe who gave them solutions to this country’s problems many years ago? They use his concepts without acknowledging it. That’s called plagiarism or in simple language, theft.
Sobukwe scared the hell out of the leaders of the apartheid government and it was because of him and the PAC that the proscription of both the PAC and ANC was effected by the apartheid government. Some white people then argued in parliament that only the PAC be banned not the ANC. Other white people argued that if only the PAC was banned then African people would regard the ANC as puppets and identify with the PAC which they feared. In his August 1959 State of the Nation address, Sobukwe continued his assault on white supremacy, colonialism and imperialism.
When some people, especially in the ANC, ignore Sobukwe's impact on the erstwhile regime and his suffering at the hands of apartheid authorities such as being jailed after he had completed his jail sentence for having organised the March 21, 1960 anti-pass campaign, what are they suggesting? Are they suggesting that it was okay to jail Sobukwe and that his contribution to our liberation struggle counted for nothing. Or are they simply jealous of him because he was smarter than all of them combined as Jon Qwelane once said? There is no doubt that Sobukwe shook the white world and would he have lived longer, he would have put arrogant white supremacists in their right place.
Some white people in this country, Europe and North America are planning round the clock every day to take over Africa as evidenced by establishing Africom military bases in strategic parts of Africa but there is no countervailing move to oppose the establishment of those military bases. They use Africans as guinea pigs to do experiments for their biological and chemical weapons programmes; yet no African country except Zimbabwe is against those dangerous experiments. They force us to import their poisoned chickens through "free trade agreements" which are not properly labelled and nothing is done about it. If one looks at these “free trade agreements,” they are nothing less than colonial and imperialist relationships.
This is white supremacy at work. Africans can ignore the teachings of Sobukwe at their own peril and time is running out.
By Sam Ditshego