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The struggle for Africa`s complete and final decolonisation forges on!
21 May 2001
The ushering in of the Year 2001 signalled, at least symbolically, the commencement of the African Century.
In the coming years and decades, dedicated work will have to be done to transform this symbolic gesture into a practical demonstration of our unyielding will and zeal to be free - free from poverty, ignorance, disease, war, dictatorship, racism, sexism, underdevelopment and marginalisation.
In essence, our pursuit of the African Renaissance is an affirmation of our centuries-old struggle for full independence from colonialism.
Gradually, Africa emerges from the bitter-cold moments of her colonisation strolling into a brighter future of democracy and a better life for all.
As she does so, she continues to carry on her back all the menaces of her past, the very reasons that her best daughters and sons fought for her freedom.
The development of capitalism in the middle-ages resulted in the saturation of domestic markets especially in Europe, thus necessitating the search for markets and cheap labour abroad, resulting in the pursuit and scramble for colonies and the division of the world among capitalist countries.
This development was propelled by the transport and communications revolution that resulted in the epoch-making "journeys of discovery".
With this, developed the ability to export capital that resulted in the globalisation of capitalism, making it a universal phenomenon. Lenin ("Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism", p. 63) stated that "under capitalism the home market is inevitably bound up with the foreign market. Capitalism long ago created a world market".
This was also the age of the development of monopoly finance capitalism, the maturation of which was reached at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries.
In the same pamphlet (ibid., p.72-73), Lenin argues that "the colonial policy of the capitalist countries has completed the seizure of the unoccupied territories on our planetâ€¦Hence, we are living in a peculiar epoch of world colonial policy, which is most closely connected with the `latest stage in the development of capitalism`, with finance capitalâ€¦It is beyond doubt, therefore, that capitalism`s transition to the stage of monopoly capitalism, to finance capital, is connected with the intensification of the struggle for the partitioning of the world".
The point we are making here is that the instance of our colonisation was propelled and hence inextricably bound up with the development of capitalism and imperialism.
It was no wonder that the capitalist countries were always the ones that often resisted supporting our struggle or supported it last. It was also no wonder that our struggle for national liberation was and still is, at the same time, a struggle against colonialism and imperialism, a struggle which sought a non-capitalist path of development for Africa.
None can doubt the truth contained in what Comrade Fidel Castro said in 1988 that the history of Africa will be divided into before and after Cuito Cuanavale. So, because the victory of the revolutionary democratic forces in that battle against the bulwark of colonialism, apartheid South Africa, was a deciding factor and tocsin for the ultimate victory of the anti-colonial struggle throughout the continent.
It will be remembered that the forces of colonialism made their last desperate stand in this Southern region of Africa, where imperialist forces concentrated all their efforts, energy, weapons and human resources to ensure the permanent sustenance of their evil cause.
On the other hand, the national liberation movement waged the most heroic, daring, stoic battle to rid the continent of the menace of colonialism. On each occasion, our people`s struggle did not triumph without guts and blood, and on each occasion, where it was defeated, colonial forces left trails of blood and devastation as they sought to wrest our strategic victory and ensure that were free only in form while in oppressed in substance.
As they lost political power, the colonial forces, accustomed to plundering our resources, sought to create client States everywhere in Africa that would basically facilitate this outcome and preserve their economic interests. To deepen our dependence on them, as they were wrecking our economies, they were bludgeoning us into an unceasing debt burden that has resulted in massive outflows of capital to the developed countries from Africa that, itself, serves to preserve colonial economic relations.
Indeed, these client States were to become a prominent feature of post-colonial independent Africa. Leaders of the progressive national liberation movement were assassinated in many countries, there were civil wars, coups de tat and other anti-democratic manoeuvres that were to deny the African people, after many years of fighting for freedom, their political and socio-economic rights.
While they claimed to be democratic, everywhere in Africa imperialists propped up and supported brutal dictatorships so long as they could preclude the seizure of power by the revolutionary democratic movement.
In this entire arrangement, South Africa occupied a strategic position as an outpost of imperialism and colonialism. White supremacists thought that they could guard this turf with all their arsenal, disrupt and destroy the Frontline States in order to cut the ANC off from all sources of assistance and eventually to destroy it so that it does not interfere with this set up.
It was no coincidence that African people throughout the continent joined together in a common effort to defeat the apartheid monster in South Africa. Upon this one fact hinged the most critical questions of the emancipation of Africa as a whole. Africa understood that for as long as the apartheid regime remained intact in South Africa, so long would Africa herself and all her children remain in permanent bondage. The basic fact was that apartheid was incompatible with and antithetical to Africa`s independence.
Of course, these forces have not abandoned this latter aim of cutting the ANC off and eventually destroying it. Their actions within the country, especially in recent years and months, demonstrate vividly this desperate endeavour to force the ANC to turn against itself, its members on each other`s throats and eventually to loose focus.
This not succeeding, they hope nonetheless to disrupt the neighbouring States in Southern Africa through economic and political means so that they are seized by indigenous puppet and pseudo-democratic organisations and leaders who feed on the palms of imperialist forces that would the neo-liberal agenda on our continent and re-affirm the dependent and exploiter-exploited relations between the centre, the North, and hinterland, Africa.
The imperialist forces wish and work hard for Africa never to be free and develop, always to be marginalised and excluded from the processes of human development, and make no contribution to the progress of humankind. Through the processes of globalisation, they hope to foster this as a permanent arrangement.
This is what Africa`s youth must fully understand and fight against! It is what must inform our engagement with the challenge of African development - freedom, development and a contribution to human progress!
The Millennium Partnership for African Recovery Programme (MAP) is thus our concrete and programmatic response to this African development challenge within the concrete context of the age of advanced imperialism. It is an African solution to this centuries-old problem. It is a path we are charting ourselves and are prepared to blaze towards the fulfilment of the centuries-old African dream for freedom and development. It is a bold and unique intervention to reverse the menacing problems of poverty, ignorance, backwardness, disease, marginalisation and underdevelopment.
The popular participation of the African masses in its implementation shall constitute the ultimate guarantee of its success, as a result of which we will be correct to state that the African Century was, indeed, a People`s Century.
This attainment of the objectives of this programme shall, of course, depend and be bolstered by a bold, visionary and courageous leadership that puts the interests of the masses of the African people ahead of their own personal interests as individuals.
Above all else, what this programme requires is a strong and vibrant progressive movement for the African Renaissance, a movement in permanent and dynamic contact with the masses of the African people and mobilising these masses themselves to act for agents for change, to make this renaissance their own passionate lifetime endeavour!
Our generation of youth in Africa today must do all it can to advance this cause for Africa`s renewal. Whether as students or on the sports fields, arts and cultural theatres, in recreational centres and religious institutions, we must be seized of this single goal of an African Renaissance!
The youth of Africa must be the forward troops of this progressive agenda and front rank combatants for the renaissance of their continent. We too must strengthen the progressive youth movement for the pursuit and attainment of this programme. We must strive to be best in whatever we do, knowing that thus only, through hard work, can we propel the African society forward!
To do so is both a duty and a privilege! No other generation of youth shall every be present at this moment of change on the African continent, during this time of her transition from the dark past of colonialism to the brighter and glorious future of independence and a better life for all. We must therefore not evade our opportunities and betray our mission! So much depends on what we will do today!
ANC Youth League