South Africa: The Flames of Revolution

Umkhonto we Sizwe

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 5 July/August 1980

The flames of revolution are once again engulfing the racist apartheid state in South Africa. On the 20th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre, on the 4th anniversary of the Soweto uprising, the South African racist state is again being challenged by a massive and powerful revolutionary assault.

In FRFI 3 we hailed the victory of ZANU and ZAPU saying that it would give enormous impetus to the struggle against the racist South African regime. And today, inspired by the victory in Zimbabwe, the revolutionary black masses are doing battle for democracy and freedom against the blood sucking racist state and its imperialist backers, of which British imperialism is the main one. The black student's struggles, the spectacular ANC(SA) military operation against SASOL, the long and bitter workers' strikes and the uprising of Capetown blacks on 17 June brings the revolutionary movement in South Africa to a new and higher stage.

One year ago, in June 1979, we wrote:

‘The magnificent struggles of the South African blacks, at its height during the Soweto uprising, is now simmering again beneath the surface as the South African racist state backed by British imperialism, intensifies its brutal oppression. But the courage and example of ANC freedom fighters like Solomon Mahlangu, murdered recently by the South African racist regime will not go unavenged. The ANC(SA) has now stepped up its activities in South Africa itself — the armed struggle will intensify.'

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Interview with Thozamile Botha

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no.8 January/February 1981 

Thozamile Botha 

The interview below was given to us by Thozamile Botha whilst on a speaking tour in Britain, organised by the Anti Apartheid Movement and the South African Congress of Trade Unions.

Thozamile Botha is a black South African working class leader who played a leading role in the famous strike at Fords in Port Elizabeth. The history of this strike is recorded in the interview, and particular emphasis placed on the unity between the striking Ford workers and the Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation. From the interview we obtain a very clear and stirring picture of the unity that exists between all aspects of the revolutionary struggle in South Africa. It is noteworthy that the racist apartheid regime is now attempting to break up this unity. It is preparing legislation which makes it illegal for any black trade union to have links or association with black community organisations. What fools to believe that this unity can be broken by a piece of legislation. Throughout the whole of last year the black masses of South Africa faced the apartheid regime's mass murder, torture and imprisonment. Their unity did not break. When there is a mass revolutionary movement led by the ANC no legislation, however many are the guns which back it up, can break the spirit of the black working class. This legislation reveals only the fears of the apartheid regime.

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The ANC 12 Treason Trial - Never on Our Knees

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! No. 2 - January/February 1980

On Thursday 19 November 1979 the racist apartheid regime of South Africa sentenced James Mange to death in a 'court' in Pietermaritzburg. The South African regime intends to add James Mange's name to a long list of people murdered 'judicially' — the most recent being Solomon Mahlangu who was hanged on 6 April 1979. James Mange is one of the African National Congress 12 Treason Triallists.

The ANC 12 Treason Trial was part and parcel of the war between the South African regime and the ANC(SA). This is obvious from the background to the trial, the conduct of the ANC 12 in the trial and the viciousness of the racist court at Pietermaritzburg.

War in South Africa

All 12 comrades were charged under the treason laws, with 43 alternate counts under the Terrorism laws. Two were also charged with conspiracy to incite murder. All 12 were alleged to have been involved in armed actions against the security forces. This was the first time that a South African 'court' has admitted that the security forces are engaged in a war with Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation — the military wing of the ANC).

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Communists and the revolution in South Africa

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no 62 - September 1986

On 30 July 1986 the South African Communist Party celebrated its 65th anniversary at a rally in London's Conway Hall. Joe Slovo was the main speaker. David Reed analyses the issues raised in Slovo's speech: issues at the heart of the South African revolution.

Everywhere communists are watching, assessing and analysing the South African revolution. Its outcome will have a dramatic, perhaps decisive, impact on revolutionary developments worldwide. This fact alone would give enormous significance to the speech* made on 30 July 1986 by Joe Slovo, chairman of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Chief of Staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, and member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC. That this speech was commemorating the 65th anniversary of the SACP and was given in London, the political centre of the imperialist power which is the main backer of the apartheid regime, would add to its significance for British communists.

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Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013

Throughout the 1980s, the Revolutionary Communist Group and City of London Anti-Apartheid Group actively campaigned against apartheid and for the release of all political prisoners. In particular our members were central to the organisation of the non-stop picket outside the South African Embassy in Trafalgar Square from April 1986 until Mandela was released in February 1990.*

For around the world today, we still see children suffering from hunger and disease. We still see run-down schools. We still see young people without prospects for the future. Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs; and are still persecuted for what they look like, or how they worship, or who they love.’

US President Barack Obama, Tribute to Nelson Mandela Soweto, 10 December 2013

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