MK 60th anniversary

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The 60th anniversary of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) , once the armed wing of what is now South Africa’s ruling party, was marked by a commemorative event at Freedom Park on 16 December.

ANC (African National Congress) deputy president David Mabuza told those gathered at the Salvokop site, south of the Pretoria CBD, marking six decades of MK was “a crucial chapter” in South Africa’s history.

“It is a heritage that should be preserved by forging unity of all combatants of the peoples’ army in honour of their contribution to the struggle for liberation of our country and the region,” he said adding “MK will remain etched in our collective memory and heritage as a true galvanising force around which popular mass protests and resistance coalesced to advance our liberation struggle and free the country from the violence and brutality of the repressive apartheid regime”.

The armed struggle, according to a copy of Mabuza’s address, was one of four pillars of ANC strategy to “overthrow the white minority regime and contribute in the creation of a free, united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa”.

“MK was a non-destructible army of dedicated and disciplined combatants whose manifesto complemented the overall strategy of the liberation movement while remaining entrenched in the popular tradition of political accountability and subordination of soldiers to political leadership.

“This was an army always at the frontline of the peoples’ defence and a major inspiration for the pillar of mass mobilisation,” Mabuza said quoting former ANC president Oliver Tambo when he called for MK to be central in mobilising society on all fronts in January 1985.

“Through struggle and sacrifice we planted the seeds of people’s war in our country, that is, a war waged by the people against the white minority regime. A central task in the coming period is to transform the potential created into the reality of people’s war. Guided by that perspective, we must build up the mass combat forces that are training themselves in mass political action for sharper battles and for the forcible overthrow of the racist regime,” is according to Mabuza what Tambo said in 1985.

He continued: “The mass combat forces that are and have been engaged in the popular offensive must now become part of MK, the vital cutting edge of our onslaught. In this way we will ensure the people’s army deepens its roots and grows inextricably among the popular masses. In this way we will ensure it grows in size, in the spread and quality of its operations and in the weight of every blow it delivers”.

Praising the former armed wing Mabuza said it executed its missions” in the best interests of all the people of South Africa, to build a different society based on values of equality and freedom and not on exclusion and superiority of one race over another”.