Political input by the secretary general of the ANC Cde Ace Magashule during the occasion of a political lecture about free and quality education held at Bram Fisher House in Bloemfontein
Comrade Programme directors
The leadership of the Congress of the South African Students present
The leadership of the national executive committee of the ANC present
The leadership of the provincial Executive Committee of the ANC
The leadership of the veterans league present
The leadership of the ANC womens league present
The leadership of the youth league present
The leadership of the South African Communist Party present
The leadership of the Congress of the South African Trade Union present
The leadership of the South African Civic Organisation present
The leadership of the institution of traditional leaders present
The leadership of the progressive youth movement
The leadership of the church community present
The leadership of the business community present
Members of the media
Comrades and compatriots
On the occasion of this important political lecture about the necessity of the struggle of our people for a free and quality education, we convey to you revolutionary greetings from the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress. Indeed it is our firm believe that the future of mankind is in the hands of the youth.
Today we commence with our conversation by borrowing the words of wisdom from one of the outstanding sons of the mother continent, Cde Frantz Fanon, when he extrapolates the tendencies of the oppressed people directing their anger not against the system but against each other, when he says:
”the colonized man will first manifest this aggressiveness which has been deposited in his bones against his own people. This is the period when niggers beat each other up and the police and magistrates do not know which way to turn when faced with the astonishing waves of crimes in North Africa. While the settler or the police man has the right for the whole day to strike at the native, to insult him and make him cruel to them, you will see the native reaching for his knife at the slightest hostile or aggressive glance cast on him by another native, for the last resort of the native is to defend his personality vis a vis his brother”.
During this complex and hostile period of the world realities dominated by the forces of reaction, the battle of ideas constitute the core of our struggle to determine to pace and the character of our revolution. The forces of reaction are at the offensive to consolidate power and hegemony over the affairs of the world.
Therefore we need more robust and revolutionary ideas from you our generation to make the world a better place. We need progressive ideas to build a new world social order.
Throughout the history of the development of the human society, it has always being the task of the older generations to prepare the youth to take their rightful positions as the future leaders of society. It is the task of the older generation to prepare the youth to take their rightful place in the economic, intellectual and the entire social life of the community.
This is why today we are here to share with you about the painful long history of the struggle of our people for a free and quality education. Throughout the years, the Apartheid racist regime, through systematic segregation and discrimination laws, has been marginalizing our people, from the mainstream education opportunities and therefore from ownership of their total social and economic life.
From the ancient to the modern times of the ages of human development, society has always being organised according to the patterns of economic ownership and dominant value system. Hence the important theoretical expression that dominant ideas in society are the ideas of the ruling class.
In this regard it is therefore important that we understand the evolution of the South African society from this point of view. It is more important that the youth of our country make a thorough study of the revolutionary concept of Apartheid colonialism of a special type.
Our theoretical understanding of the development of the South African society, is that of imperialism rooted in racial supremacy and exploitation. Our theory teaches us that. Apartheid colonial regime has been organizing society on the basis of racial supremacy to consolidate its momentum for exploitation.
The truth is that over the centuries of colonial domination, white monopoly has built itself into a magnitude of a superstructure, dominating the entire terrain of the political, social and the economic spheres of our society. Today it has developed itself into a tremendous force, dominating our economic base and therefore the value system of the our society.
The history of our country confirms that racism is about power and superiority of one racial class over the other. The racist Apartheid regime has been an instrument by white monopoly to oppress and exploit the overwhelming majority of the people of our country.
This is how the young people of our country should locate their own struggle for a free education and more importantly, the struggle to build a non racial, non sexist, free, democratic and prosperous society. This is how we should locate our struggle to restore the hope and the dignity of the wishes and the aspirations of the majority of our people, the Black people in general and the Africans in particular.
Since the establishment of the Union of South Africa, the white minority regime has been promulgating different laws to regulate and govern the life of the black people of our country. The events culminated with the official declaration of the Apartheid state during the year 1948.
The white only Union of South Africa also passed the Colour
Bar Act, which became the embodiment of the her new constitution. This historical development led to the introduction of the native education as a principal strategy for the segregation of the black people of our country from the socio, economic and political life in the country of their birth.
In 1935 a report by the departmental committee on native education summoned up the policy of segregation of black from socio economic life through the usage of education in this classical manner:
”The education of the white child prepares him for life in a dominant society and the education of the black child prepares him for a subordinate society. The native education therefore forms part of the social and economic structure of our country”.
In the year 1945, few years before the official declaration of the Apartheid South African state by the nationalist party, one of the members of parliament representing the nationalist party, Mr M.D.C. de Wet, has to say the following about the significance of the native education:
”As has been correctly stated here, education is the key to the creation of the proper relationship between Europeans and Non Europeans in South Africa. Put the native education on a sound basis and half of the racial questions are solved.
I say that there should be reform of the whole education system and that it must be based on the culture and background and the whole life of the native himself in his tribe”.
During the same parliamentary debate, Mr J.N. Le Roux, one of the members of parliament who later became a minister of agriculture, had to say the following:
”We should not give a native an academic qualification, as some people are too prone to do. If we do this we shall later be burdened with a number of academically trained Europeans and Non Europeans” and he ask the question” who is going to do manual labour in the country?. He further said” I am in thorough agreement with the view that we should conduct our schools in the way that the native who attends those schools will know that to a greater extent he must be the labourer in the country”.
Another member of parliament during the debate, Mr S.A. Cillers had to express the following sentiment:
”I am very anxious about the position unless we lay down a very sound policy regarding the native education. The reason is that if we go a little far in respect of the suggestion here that some of the platteland should attend school, the future of South African agriculture may in my opinion drift into a very precarious position”.
Hon C.R. Swart brought a motion supporting his colleagues from the national party when he said:
”Honourable members have mentioned here that the department of the native affairs adopts the policy that natives should not be detribalised but should be educated in their own manner and should learn to be good natives as tribal natives, and should not imitate a white man”.
Dr A Hertzog, the son of the then Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, rose to the podium and declared that:
“As soon as we teach the native children that everything the white has is the best, we will have turned them into a potential danger to European civilization”.
During the same debate, Captain G.H.I Strydom, had to day the following:
”Within half a century we shall be coffee -coloured nation. We shall no longer exist as a nation. The white man will no longer exist here.
If we allow the native to remain in his raw state, if we allow him to remain with his tribe, he has his laws and continues to govern himself, and there will be no much difficulty”.
He continues that “we say the native must live in a hut and we must live in a house. He must remain separate in his place. We want to retain the respect of the native but we are not going to sleep with him in the kraal. He is not our equal”.
After his appointment as the minister of the native affairs, Dr Verwoerd has to say the following about the native education:
”When I have control of the native education, I will reform it so that the natives will be taught from childhood to realize that equality with the Europeans is not for them. People who believe in equality are not desirable teachers for the natives. Education must train and teach people in accordance with their opportunities in life, according to the sphere in which they live”.
He strongly believed that the purpose of Bantu education was to produce docile black labour force. A labour force entrenched in the tribal culture and tradition of black people.
In his own words he said:
”My department’s policy is that education should stand with both feet in the reserves and have its roots in the spirit and being of a Bantu society. The Bantu education must be able to give itself a complete expression and those would be called upon to perform the real service. There is no place for him in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour, for that reason it is of no avail for him to receive training which has its main aim absorption in the European community. Until now he has been subject to a school system which drew him away from his own community and misled him by showing him the green pastures of European society which he is not allowed to graze”.
In the year 1950, passing a law to cover the training of the Africans as builders, prohibiting them from receiving the same training as all other artisans, introducing the native building workers bill, the Minister of labour Mr B.T. schoeman has to say the following words:
”The standard of training is not the same as the standard given to the ordinary artisans who enrolls under Apprenticeship Act, native builders will therefore not be artisans in the full sense of the word. They will only receive training which will enable them to erect houses and building for their own use.
In order to protect the European artisan, immediately after the act has been promulgated, no employer in the building industry will be permitted to employ a native to do skilled building work, and by means of proclamation, and all other persons will be prohibited from having building work done by natives in specified European areas”.
With the various formations of civil society making submissions to the Select Committee on the Nursing Amendment Bill, a representative of the Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Organisations, Mr G.L.H. Van Niekerk, has to say the following with regard to the question of language and the question of Apartheid:
”Justice is not being done to Afrikaans in the actual activities of the Nursing Council and Association. Minutes and Agendas and other official documents are drawn up only in English.
It is permissible for European as well as Non European members to be elected to the council. The European nurses are very strongly opposed to the state of affairs as it constitute a grave thread to their future, especially in view of the increasing enrollment of the Non European nurses.
Objections have been raised against intermingling at gatherings and at the partaking of refreshments. It is pointed out that those things will lead to a gradual acceptance of social equality.
Objection was also made to the wearing of the same insignia by Europeans and Non European nurses, as it requires junior European nurses having to acknowledge and respect the status of senior Non European nurses. In order to counter this state of affairs, we propose that separate registers be instituted for the two races in the nursing profession, and that only Europeans should be entitled to vote for the election of representatives on the Nursing Council and Association.
He further said:
”According to our recommendation, the Minster must then nominate a European to serve in the interest of the Non European on the council. The representative must have no vote, however, they would be present there in accordance with the principle of guardianship.
As we see the matter, such meetings, where refreshments are also taken together, would gradually lead to the blunting of colour consciousness and as soon as that stage is reached, the danger will come to the fore”.
Sister A.J. Botha from the Sante Nurses Institute submitted the following view point:
”Parents of the vast majority of Nurses would be shocked had they knew that their children appear on the same register with the Non Europeans and that they wear the same uniform and insignia. European nurses have the unpleasant experience of receiving and carrying out orders from Non European doctors.
I also maintain that in the case of Non European attending a European mental patient, hope of recovery is very small”.
Dr Eislen who was the Secretary of the department of the
Native affairs recommended to the Select Committee that Non European should not be allowed to belong to the Nursing Association and the Nursing Council. She said:
”Our experience has been that, the professional Bantu is uprooted and is no longer tribe conscious. The longer it is possible for the Bantu Nurse to remain a member of the Nursing Association, the more difficult she would find it forego such membership.
The attitude of the Native towards bodily cleanliness is different from that of the Europeans. He further sleep with his head under the blanket, not because he finds it warmer that way, but because he feels safer. To counter that, it would not be of much use to try to drum into him that he must have more oxygen, but it should rather be pointed out to him that tokoloshe is not dangerous as he thinks”.
In the province of the Free State, more than eighty percent (80%) of the schools for the Natives were farms schools and most of the parents were so determined to give their children better education to an extent that they were prepared to spent their little resources by taking them to schools in town. As a strategy, the department for the Natives affairs started giving farmers a small piece of land for the building of schools for the farm children.
Announcing the new plan, Dr Verwoerd said:
”To permit for the establishment of farm schools, the transfer of land for the building of expensive schools will no longer be required. Bantu mothers can erect walls where farmers allow it and the department will provide windows, doors and roof. If the farmer withdraws his permission, this can be removed”.
White farmers were given the authority to be the mangers of the schools like school principals, with the teacher reporting to him and getting paid the same day with the other farm workers. During reaping times, the teacher was expected to supervise the children working in the fields during or after school hours, as occasion demands.
The regulations of governing teachers working on the farms were clear:
”Any teacher who during or after school hours, is engaged in approved activities on or off the school grounds, which do not constitute part of the curriculum, shall be regarded as being on duty. No teacher may claim as of right of additional renumeration in respect of work which he is required by competent authority to perform”.
These are some of the untold stories of horrible acts of atrocities committed by the Apartheid racist regime throughout the centuries of the struggle of our people for liberation. Education was effectively used as an instrument to denigrate the integrity and confidence of the oppressed people of our country.
Throughout the history of our struggle for liberation, young people have been in the forefront leading political campaigns against discriminatory laws affecting black people. Mahatma Gandhi was only 24 years when he formed the Natal Indian Congress and became its first Secretary General.
Since the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, there have been numerous protests by young people throughout the country against the provisions of the native education. In the year 1920 the students at Kilnerton training collage went on hunger strike demanding for more food.
After the World War 11 the lack of school facilities became a major problem with the increasing urbanization of the African youth. There were a number of protests through out the townships of our country which caught the attention of the nationalist government.
After the declaration of the Apartheid regime in 1948 Black Local Authorities in the townships were given the responsibility to oversee the education of the children from the black community and in the rural areas, it was the traditional authorities which given the same responsibility.
This was a profoundly significant moment which hastened the contradictions between the unpopular representatives of the Black Local Authorities in the townships with more demands for the boycott of rent and other essential services. In the rural areas there were more struggle for the democratization of the institution of traditional leadership and the resolve to make the Bantustan administrations ungovernable.
In the early seventies there more organised protests by students across the country against the poor conditions imposed by the Bantu education. Moroka high school here at Thaba Nchu in the Free State, became one of epicenters of the struggle of our people for better education.
The formation of the South African Student Organisation (SASO) was a watershed moment in the history of the struggle of the young people of our country against the system of Bantu education and other oppressive laws by the Apartheid regime. The Organisation was able to mount widespread protest actions throughout most of the high schools and universities across the country.
In the year 1972 the Black Peoples Convention (BPC) was formed with the aim of promoting Black Consciousness philosophy amongst the young people of our country. The movement was an immense contribution towards the enhancement political consciousness and therefore the need for immediate overthrow of the racist Apartheid white minority regime.
In 1974 the young people of SOWETO organised themselves into the formation of the South African Student Movement ( SASM) This was the leadership which later became central behind the mobilization of students boycotts against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction at schools.
The SOWETO uprisings in 1976 was a turning point in the history of the struggle of the young people of our country against colonial oppression and exploitation. After the epic event, there was more pressure from the international community to isolate the racist white regime.
After the uprisings, when thousands of the youth of our country were either in the exile, underground or in prison, the late President of the ANC, Cde Oliver Reginald Tambo, instructed comrades Peter Nchabeleng, Joe Gqabi, John Nkadimeng, Peter Mogano, Robert Manci, Martin Ramokgadi and Elliot Shabangu to establish an underground cell whose its main focus was to organize young students from the high schools.
They worked closely with a generation of young leaders comprised of Cde Roller Masinga, Jabu Ngewnya, Billy Masetlha, Super Moloi, Titi Mthenjale, Thami Gqeta, Joyce Dipale, Baby Twala, and many across the breath of our country. This was the core of the leadership of our revolutionary movement whose illustrious work culminated with the formation of the Congress of the South African Students in the year 1979.
Working with the leadership of our movement in the underground, these are the nucleus of the young leaders who appreciated the necessity of this mammoth task of the formation of the Congress of the South African Students. We thank them very much for their heroism to take the forefront struggles in the formation of this preparatory school for our young students.
The founding congress elected the late Comrade Ephraim Mogale as its first President. He was elected together with young revolutionaries like Cde Vusi Gqoba, Vungasha Mabasa,
Mpho Masetlha, Nomi Mogase, Sphiwo Mthimkulu, Baby Tyawa, Nomvula Mkonyane, and Teenage Monama who constituted the first National Executive Committee.
It was during this Congress where the newly elected President demanded for a free and accessible education. He demanded for a free transport, food, books and uniform for all the young students of our republic.
The Congress of the South African Students became part of the contingent of the progressive forces of our country which led the fierce struggle against the brutalities of the Apartheid state machinery. Students across the schools throughout the country demanded for the recognition of Student Representative Councils, free education and educational facilities, withdrawal of the South African Defence Force from the townships and villages, cessation of rent and bus fare increases, resignation of all community councillors, reinstatement of all dismiss workers, termination of unfair tax discrimination, release of all political prisoners and the unbanning of our liberation movement.
These were the decisive struggles which led to the demise of the Apartheid regime and consequently the victory of the 1994 democratic breakthrough. The realities which led our students and our people in general, to conduct their struggle under new improved conditions of our democracy.
What is of paramount importance is for the young people understand that the 1994 democratic victory was not the end but the beginning of a new protracted struggle for the emancipation of our people. What is more important is for you to understand that political freedom does not necessary transcend into economic freedom.
Our country needs dynamic young people of your calibre to make a final push of our struggle into a true phase of our transition for free and quality education. This is the struggle we have to achieve during our lifetime.
Indications are that the African National Congress is gradually loosing the moral ground amongst the young educated sections of our society. We need a sober analysis of this unfolding reality and find out better mechanism to resolve.
One of the major struggle before us is the struggle for the transformation of the content of our curriculum. We need an education system which will prepare our young people to be meaningful participants in the commanding heights of our economy.
We need an education system which will create a new man anchored on fundamental principles of human solidarity. Education must teach young people how to become members of society before they can become individuals.
These are the qualities our forefathers understood that whilst they were professionals, they were first and foremost leaders of society. We need to walk the footprints of our forefathers and reclaim our rightful place of what Karl Marx and Lenin characterized as revolutionary intelligentsia.
The 54th elective National Congress has mandated the new leadership of the National Executive Committee of the ANC to lead our people into a new political trajectory of radical economic transformation. It has mandated us to appropriate land without compensation, to nationalize the Reserve Bank and ensure that we accelerate the empowerment and participation of the majority of our people into the economic mainstream.
This is one of the most protracted struggle we have to wage. This is the struggle which will define the victories of the second phase of our transition for radical economic transformation.
We therefore make an appeal to all our young people across the country, to go and register so as to participate in the next national general elections. We need your vote to achieve the objectives we have set for ourselves.
Without your vote, the ANC will not be able to have the political power to accelerate the revolutionary programme for the transformation of our country. What has become an indisputable fact is that there is no any other political formation to lead the struggle of the people of our country rather than the ANC.
The ANC is much concerned about the sporadic violent incidences taking place in our schools. We appeal to our student to appreciate the fact that we have fought for the struggle for the abolition of corporal punishment and won the demand in our democratic South Africa.
We appeal to the progressive youth movement, branches of the ANC and our revolutionary Alliance, to work hand in glove with the School Governing Bodies and ensure that our schools becomes safe and conducive environment for education. We need our students to respect their teachers and parents, and equally we need the teachers to respect the students and the parents they work with.
We also take the opportunity to appeal to all of you, to assist with the fight against the scourge of drugs raving our young population. We appeal to you to take care of yourselves and become responsible future leaders.
We appeal to you to work hard and ensure that you pass your examinations this year. Without education there is no a bright future.
Marching side by side with the young people of our country we are confident that we shall achieve the strategic objectives of our national democratic revolution. With you the victory of our struggle shall triumph into the future.
We thank you very much