South African’s National Liberation Movement
ANC MARKS 62ND ANNIVERSARY OF uMKHONTO WE SIZWE
Today, 16 December 2023, marks the 62nd anniversary of a pivotal moment in South Africa’s history when the African National Congress (ANC) launched a widespread military campaign that commenced with a series of strategic bombings targeting critical governmental infrastructure, including power plants and post offices.
This event signified the inaugural public action by the military wing of the ANC, known as uMkhonto weSizwe, commonly referred to as as MK. The name’ uMkhonto weSizwe’, in both Zulu and Xhosa, translates to ‘Spear of the Nation’. It was established with a definitive objective: retaliating by all available means necessary “in defence of our people, our future, and our freedom.”
The decision to mark the initiation of the public military resistance against apartheid machinery was deliberately chosen for its significant historical context, as the date is also known as the Day of the Covenant among the Afrikaner community in South Africa. Also referred to as the Day of the Vow or Dingaan’s Day, this day holds considerable historical importance, particularly among Afrikaners. The Day of the Covenant is primarily a commemoration of the Battle of Blood River (His Majesty King Dingane vs the Boers), which took place on 16 December 1838. This battle was pivotal during the Great Trek, a substantial migration of Dutch- speaking settlers, known as Boers, moving inland from the British-controlled Cape Colony.
16 December has since evolved into a public holiday in South Africa, known as the Day of Reconciliation. This day symbolises the transformative journey from strife to an era of unity in post-apartheid South Africa.
As the ANC, we hold the collective members of MK in the highest regard, venerating them as the heroines and heroes of our struggle. While risking life and limb in service to our people, their invaluable contribution
was pivotal in securing our democratic breakthrough in 1994. They were at the forefront, crucial in executing our four pillars of struggle: mass mobilisation, underground operations, international solidarity, and armed resistance.
Although MK was officially disbanded in 1994, the spirit and moral compass of its veterans continue to inspire and guide us. The official end of MK as a military wing coincided with the end of apartheid and the dawn of a new democratic era in South Africa. This significant period was marked by the country’s first multiracial elections in April of that year, and the transition of its members was multifaceted. Some elected to integrate into the newly formed South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and other law enforcement agencies, contributing to the broader process of national reconciliation and the transformation2 of the South African military. Meanwhile, others chose to remain civilians and contributed in various fields such as academia, business, and other socioeconomic endeavours.
As we commemorate this day, we pay homage to our fallen heroines and heroes whose spirits rest in inspirational crypts spanning from Maseru to Sharpeville, Havana to Matola, Harare to Stockholm, and beyond. Their sacrifice is a constant reminder that we must persist in our revolution, never faltering in our pursuit of freedom and justice.
We owe it to our living heroes not to falter in our commitment to the cause. Our resolve for “decisive action to advance the people’s interests and renew our movement” must be unwavering.
This Reconciliation Day, let us redouble our efforts towards fostering unity and securing a decisive victory for the People’s Organisation — the ANC in next year’s provincial and national general elections.
In an era where our adversaries have “war chests” to effect regime change, we must strengthen our efforts to renew our organisation, firm up unity, and emerge as a leading motive force in the 2024 election and beyond with even greater vigour.
To the first Commander-in-Chief of the MK, Comrade President Nelson Mandela and his generation of freedom fighters, we offer you endless gratitude and imminent victory against the enemies of our National Democratic Revolution.
Victory is certain.
Aluta Continua! Long live the undying and revolutionary spirit of the MK!
ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
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