TRIBUTE TO RE-BURIAL OF PAN AFRICANIST HEROES AT MUNSEIVILLE

BY DR MOTSOKO PHEKO 13TH APRIL 2019

Programme Director

The Motsoane family

The Mocumi Family

The Ntshole Family

The Molatlhegi family

Sons and Daughters of Africa

Our Respected Religious Leaders

Before I have the honour of addressing you and paying respect to these four brave Sons of Africa that we are re-burying here today; allow me to remark that at this time in April 1963, I was with them in Krugersdorp Prison. The apartheid colonialist regime had charged me with furthering the aims of a banned organisation, namely the Pan Africanist Congress. The   South African colonialist regime later sentenced these African heroes to death in the land of their forefathers during 1963. It hanged them on 16th June 1964. I never knew that I would speak at their reburial this 13th April 2019.

Anyway, it was King David a man married to Bathsheba. Queen Bathsheba was a Hittite, a Kushite, a Hamite and therefore, an African. I am overwhelmed by what her husband has written in Psalm 8. He says:

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; what is man that you are mindful of him….For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honour.”

These African heroes – these Munsieville Four:  Richard Motsoane, Josia Mocumi, Petrus Ntshole, and Thomas Molathegi lie here today to be re-buried.  They are a little lower than the angels, and are crowned with glory and honour – the glory of their patriotism and the honour of their dedication to the liberation of their people. They performed their liberation duty with their highest sacrifice, their blood and their life. Their liberation movement, the Pan Africanist Congress was only eleven months when it launched March 21 in 1960 internationally known as Sharpeville Day. That movement was declared illegal by the apartheid colonialist regime when it was only one year one month.

Much can be said about the selfless role of these heroes played in the liberation struggle of this country. This is despite suppression of information about them and about their liberation movement here in South Africa. Anyway here is what has been said been said  about their first uprising in this country, the Sharpeville Uprising. Paul Sauer who was the Acting Prime Minister at the time is on record as saying:

“The old book of South African history was closed a month ago [21st March 1960]….For the  immediate future, South Africa will have to reconsider in earnest and honestly her approach to the Native question.”

 English professor, Bernard Leeman has written, “In the aftermath of Sharpeville Uprising, Whites flocked to the Canadian and Australian High Commission Offices in Pretoria. They enquired about emigration. Many Whites bought guns.The helmeted troops patrolled the streets. In a single day the Pan Africanist Congress had changed South Africa forever.”

Frantz Fanon a man with impeccable revolutionary credentials has recorded that “Sharpeville shook public opinion for months, in newspapers, over wavelengths and in private conversations. It is through that, that men and women in the world became acquainted with the problem of apartheid in South Africa.”

These men that we are reburying today became part of this history. They became also some of the first members of a military wing of a liberation movement; ever formed in this country. It was formed on 11th September 1961. It was called POQO –meaning the pure ones in Xhosa. This is the wing in which they took part and for which they were sentenced to death. The colonialist regime hoped that this would scare Africans to fight for their liberation.

Prof. Tom Lodge in his book Resistance and Ideology in Settler Societies –Southern Africa Studies Volume 4 says, “The military wing of the PAC – POQO not only inspired activities in South Africa, but insurgents were very much more numerous than Umkhonto of ANC in terms of geographical extensiveness…the numbers involved and its time span. The POQO conspiracies represented the largest and most sustained insurrection in South Africa in modern times.”

Prof. Tom Lodge draws attention also to the political and scientific fact that, “The persistence of the movement over a long span and over a large geographical area qualifies POQO to lay claim to being the most sustained insurrection by Blacks [in South Africa]”

The apartheid colonialist regime has been most ruthless when it came to dealing with the Pan Africanist Congress. Between 1962 and 1964 alone, 202 of POQO/PAC guerrillas were sentenced to death for their activities to overthrow the colonialist settler regime. The bones of the 43 other African freedom fighters that were exhumed were re-buried in September 2017. Today it is these four gallant sons of Africa that we are re-burying. It must be noted that in 1968 POQO was renamed the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (APLA). It registered famous guerrilla battle victories such as Villa Peri and many others.

The struggle for which these African heroes died won various kinds of battles. Which liberation movement ever got colonialists expelled from the United Nations? These African that we are reburying belonged to such movement.A university professor who was a keen observer of events in this country during the liberation struggle has written:

“In November 1974, the PAC succeeded in obtaining the expulsion of South Africa from the United Nations General Assembly, and in July 1975, the OAU Meeting in Uganda adopted as official policy a long document prepared by the Pan Africanist Congress arguing the case for the illegality of  South Africa’s status [in international law].

Indeed, as a result of this PAC startling performance, South Africa was expelled from the United Nations. Its seat was given to the PAC in 1982. This is the liberation movement for which they were hanged. The politics of liberation were not cheap. They were not for becoming councillors or going to Parliament.  They were for sacrifice for the liberation of the African people of this country.

This movement to which these heroes belonged became the most feared in this country by colonialists. Its members were the first to be imprisoned in Robben Island this past century. This was from the 12th of October 1962. They included the PAC President Dr. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe. There was a special law made for him alone in the country. It was called “Sobukwe Clause.”

 Indeed, John B. Vorster who was the colonial Minister of Justice told the colonial parliament: “I want to say if Robert Sobukwe was released we would have a high penalty to pay in this country.”

In 1990, through its Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Dr. Gert Viljoen, the colonialist regime made its position clearer. “We want to change our approach,” it declared. “But we would be negotiating even the name [of the country]. Many Blacks call it Azania. I think there is no likelihood of coming to agreement with them.

They are the extreme Pan Africanist Congress. The name Azania sounds a warning note of a break in history. In our thinking, a complete break in history would be unacceptable. We will have to provide some continuation of the past.” Indeed, on the land question this colonial past continues.

In fact, on the eve of the 1994 elections Stanley B. Greenberg and Frank Geer, the two Americans directed the ANC election campaign. Greenberg has admitted, “The Pan Africanist Congress launched an anti-pass campaign…close to 70 demonstrators at Sharpeville were massacred, putting the international limelight on the PAC….The PAC was the only other party with standing in the anti-apartheid struggle and thus a majority of Africans viewed it favourably.” (FROM THE WAR ROOM by Stanley B. Greenberg pages 126 and 127)

These heroes that we are re-burying here today contributed with their lives to this genuine struggle of the African people led by the PAC.

Then what happened to these 1994 elections in South Africa? America did not favour the Pan Africanist Congress. Why? Greenberg has answered this question. “It (PAC) advocated expropriation of white land without compensation.”

This was of course, false. It is the European colonialists who had colonised the African people through the Berlin General Act of 26 February 1885. The elections themselves were not to be clean. They were planned to be won by a favoured “moderate” liberation movement that would not change anything fundamentally for Africans. These leaders had long declared that the African country belonged equally to the colonisers and to the Africans from whom it had been taken with guns. This is not what these Africans: Richard Motsoahae, Josia Mucume, Petrus Ntshole and Thomas Molatlegi fought for.

Anyway for posterity and for this generation let this eternally noted: On 23 March 2009, Andrian Haland reviewed Greenberg’s book in the Cape Argus in Cape Town. He reminded, “In retrospect, we know that the election result [in South Africa in 1994] was contrived, consensual than literal.” All three words mean that the elections were rigged.  

 According to Geddes & Grosset English Dictionary of 100,000 clear words and accurate definitions, the word contrived has the following meanings or synonyms: “to scheme, devise, achieve by some ploy, design, skilful but overdone, to plan ingeniously, not natural or not flowing.”

On the 8th of May 2019 I will honour the precious blood of these sons of Africa with my vote. I appeal to all who value the blood of these African heroes to vote for the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC).If we do not respect and value African blood, nobody will. You shall remain nonentities. Through the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, the United Nations declared apartheid a crime against humanity. How did those who committed this worst crime in international law; kill those who fought against this crime against humanity?

Let me ask this question. Did Judge Curlewis of the Supreme Court of South Africa know more about the Pan Africanist Congress than some of its members know about it?  In his 5,200-page long judgment in July 1979, among other things this Judge said:

“You Mothopeng, acted to sow seeds of revolution. The riots you organised and predicted eventually took place in Soweto on 16 June 1976 and at Kagiso the next day.”

This Judge concluded by saying, “And then the last thing that I would like to mention is that Pan Africanism is the goal of the Pan Africanist Congress…they propagate and promote the concept. This is also prominent throughout the existence of the Pan Africanist Congress…from the beginning of the organisation, they were radical in the sense that they strove for a fundamental change.”

The glorious Pan African Vision for which these heroes of Africa: Richard Motsoahae, Josia Mocumi, Petrus Ntshole, and Thomas Molahlegi were murdered by colonialists; moves me to close this tribute by honouring them with a few extracts from the praises of some of our Kings that led the legitimate African wars of national resistance against colonialism and imperialism.

King Hintsa who was decapitated:

“Unjonga ntshiyini bathi uqumbile

Inkunzi abayikhuzu kuhlaba ingekahlabi

Uzigodlwana zemazi endala

Zingalala endleleni yazini kunyembelekile.” (Xhosa)

King Cetshwayo of the famous Battle Of Isandlwana where Africans defeated The British

“Uphaqa nje ngelanga

Inyathi yase nhlakahlakeni

Unokuzila ukudla kwamagwala

Amagwala adlu bubende

Ulanga phume ndlini yendlovu

Nyakambe liyophuma kweye ngwenyama.

Impunzi kaNdaba!” (Zulu)

King Moshoeshoe I of famous Battle Of Thaba Bosiu Against “Free State” Invaders

“Rantsho  tshukudu ya maboya ka mpejana

Ya maboya ho le bohloko

Ho le dibakgabitsi di ipabatsa

Banna ba heso ba tsota

ditshetlo ho hlaba

Ya re sehlabaneng ha boya ba lonya

Ba nang le Mosetlane le Lerapo

Banna baheso ba tsotsa ditshetlo ho hlaba

Phatsa tsa majwe di re fahla mahlong

Kulo di arola dihloho tsa batho

Marumo a kgaola batho diphaka

Kharenate di qhoma khabo li tuka….

Bongata bo re ke tsatsi la bofelo

Ho bahale e le letsatsi la polao.” (Sesotho)

Long live Richard Motsoane! Long live Josia Mocume! Long live Petrus Ntshole! Long live Thomas Molatlhegi! Long live their Pan Africanist Mission and Vision. Long Live Pan Africanism!  GOD BLESS AFRICA HER SONS AND DAUGHTERS.

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