Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Social Movements, South Africa

Mandela Day: Revolutionary radicals will not, cannot celebrate

Happy 92nd birthday to Nelson Mandela, I celebrate your life and your sacrifice. I honour you for your commitment and steadfastness over 27 years. But for many South Africans there is no reason to celebrate Freedom Justice and Democracy because it’s not a reality. From the Shackdwellers and Rural Network South Africa...

Revolutionary radicals recalcitrant in their reflective refusal to revere “freedom days” are dubbed as reactionaries by our “democratic state”.

The South African calendar is full of days on which we are asked to celebrate our freedom. There is Human Rights Day, Freedom Day, Worker’s Day, Youth Day, Mandela Day, Women’s Day and Heritage Day. These days are turned to months. Those of us who refuse to celebrate these days and months as if the struggle is over and who insist that the struggle goes on are called reactionaries.

Tomorrow, on the 18th of July, on Mandela Day, Abahlali baseMjondolo will be in court for the Kennedy 12 case. We as the Rural Network will be in court in Utrecht for the case of Mr. Mdlalose who was assaulted by a farmer. In Motala Heights Shamita Naidoo is organising an event for all the children.

On Mandela Day we will still be struggling. We are saying to people that, yes, it is good to give 67 minutes on Mandela Day. But we should give that 67 minutes in struggle. This South Africa is not the country that Tata Mandela and his comrades fought for. The only real way to honour Tata Mandela is to work to complete the struggle of Mandela. This means that the struggle continues. It also means that those who tell us that the struggle is over dishonour the spirit of Mandela.

We are looking forward to the 26th to the 29th of July when Dear Mandela, a powerful film about the struggle of Abahlali baseMjondolo, will be released in Durban. This film is clearly saying that Mandela’s struggle is not completed.