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The Archives of the Pan Africanist Congress and the Black Consciousness-Orientated Movements1

  • Brown Bavusile Maaba (a1)
Extract

On 19 September 1998, Professor Sibusiso Bhengu, the South African Minister of Education, officially opened the National Arts and Heritage Cultural Centre (NAHECS) archives at the University of Fort Hare. This archive houses documentation from three former liberation movements: the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, the Azanian People's Organization and the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania. Bhengu, from 1991 to 1994 the first black rector of Fort Hare, had signaled a new era for the university.

It was during Bhengu's administration that the university received ANC archival documents, firstly from the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College (SOMAFCO), the ANC school in Tanzania during the exile period between 1978 and 1992, followed by other documents from ANC missions in different parts of the world. The arrival of these sources, which are lodged in the University Library, was followed by the official opening of the ANC archives on 17 March 1996 by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki of behalf of Nelson Mandela. Even before they were officially opened, the university had begun to receive scholars who combed the documents in an effort to reconstruct the history of the exiled liberation movements. Fort Hare historians also utilized the archives.

The presence of the ANC archives at Fort Hare seems to have inspired Mbulelo Mzamane, Bhengu's successor as Vice Chancellor, to state that Fort Hare should be a home for all South African liberation movements' archival material. Soon, sources from the three liberation movements were sent to the university and the former Centre for Cultural Studies (CCS), now NAHECS, took charge of the documents. While these papers were being sorted out, a building was being constructed on campus to house the papers.

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1

I would like to especially thank Prof. Sean Morrow, formerly Director of the Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre, now Department of History, University of Fort Hare, and Prof. Tim Stapleton, Trent University, Canada, for their advice. I would also like to thank the staff of the National Arts and Cultural Centre (NAHECS) for making research material available, and for their comments. These include Prof. Themba Sirayi, the Director, and the archivists, Festus Khayundi, Noludwe Lupuwana, and Punky Kwatsha. Thanks also for comments from Bulelwa Metuse.

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2 For the ANC Archives lodged at Fort Hare see Stapleton, T. and Maamoe, I., “An Overview of the African National Congress Archives at the University of Fort Hare,” HA 25 (1998), 413–22. See also: S. Morrow, B. Maaba, and L. Pulumani, “Revolutionary Schooling? Studying the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College, the African National Congress Liberation School in Tanzania, 1978-1992,” paper submitted for publication in Social Dynamics.

3 See as well Maaba, L.B., “The Students of Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College, 1978-1992” (M.A., University of Fort Hare, 1999); idem., “The Social Life of the Students of Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College, 1978-1992,” paper presented at the Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre Seminar Workshop, 22 March 2000; idem., “Historians Do You Us? The Photographs, Art and Artifacts of Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College, 1978-1992,” unpublished paper; Morrow/Maaba/Pulumani, “Revolutionary Schooling?”; Morrow/Maaba/Pulumani, “Education in Exile at Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College and Dakawa Development Centre, 1978-1992,” forthcoming in P. Kallaway, ed., The History of Education Under Apartheid; Morrow, S., “The African National Congress Dakawa Development Centre in Tanzania, 1982-1992,” African Affairs 97 (1998), 497521.

4 It should be noted that NAHECS has papers of some South African literary figures, including A.C. Jordan and G. Mzamane, both renowned Xhosa writers, as well as the papers of political movements described in the present paper. Also included is a collection of Xhosa literature published by Lovedale Press and some of the original manuscripts of these books.

5 Morrow, S. and Gxabalashe, Khayalethu, “The Records of the University of Fort Hare,” HA 27(2000), 481–97.

6 For sources that touch on Jabavu see for example, Higgs, C., The Ghost of Equality: The Public Lives of D.D.T Jabavu of South Africa, 1885-1959 (Athens, 1997); Ngqongqo, S.J., “Mpilo Walter Benson Rubusana, 1858-1910: The Making of the New Elite in the Eastern Cape” (M.A., University of Fort Hare, 1996), Wilson, Monica, ed., Freedom for My People. The Autobiography of Z.K. Mathews: Southern Africa, 1901 to 1968 (London, 1993).

7 Morrow/Gxabalashe, “Records.”

8 Fort Hare Newsletter 1992, 4.

9 Pogrund, B., Sobukwe and Apartheid (London, 1990).

10 UFH NAHECS, Box 9. “The Biography of Comrade Sabelo (Victor Phama).” It was common in exile for those who left South Africa to use pseudonyms in an effort to thwart the South African security forces. See, for instance, Shubin, , ANC: A View from Moscow (Bellville, 1999); Ellis, S. and Sechaba, T., Comrades Against Apartheid: the ANC and the South African Communist Party in Exile (London, 1992); Maaba/Morrow/Pulumani, “Education in Exile.”

11 For sources on BCM see Sono, T., Reflections on the Origins of Black Consciousness in South Africa (Pretoria, 1993); Pityana, B.et al, eds., Bounds of Possibility: The Legacy of Steve Biko and Black Consciousness (Claremont, 1991); Fatton, R. Jr., Black Consciousness in South Africa: The Dialectics of Ideological Resistance to White Supremacy (New York, 1986); Stubbs, A., ed., Steve Biko: I Write What I Like (New York, 1978), Mangena, M., On Your Own: Evolution of Black Consciousness in South Africa/Azania (Braamfontein, 1989).

12 Keynote Address by Prof. S.M.E. Bhengu, Minister of Education at the Inaugural of the Centre for Cultural Studies, Fort Hare University, 19 September 1998.

13 As part of the Fort Hare community, I was an eyewitness to this gathering.

14 Lodge, T., “The Pan-Africanist Congress, 1959-1990” in Liebenberg, I.et al, eds., The Long March: The Story of the Struggle for Liberation in South Africa (Pretoria, 1994), 104–05. Very little has been written about the PAC but see Karis, T.G. and Gerhart, G.M., eds., From Protest to Challenge: a Documentary History of African Politics in South Africa, 1882-1990: a Documentary Survey (Oxford, 1991); Pogrund, B., How Can a Man Die Better? The Life of Robert Sobukwe (Johannesburg, 1990); Leeman, B., “Africanist Political Movements in Lesotho and Azania (South Africa), 1980-1984: The Origins and History of the Basotholand Congress Party of Lesotho and the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania” (PhD., Bremen University, 1984); idem., “The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania” in P. Alexander et al, eds., A Multi-Disciplinary Snapshot of the Continent in 1995 (Canberra, 1996); idem., Lesole la Mokhehle (n.p., 1991).

15 Pogrund, , Sobukwe and Apartheid, 67.

16 Lodge, “Pan-Africanist Congress.”

17 UFH NAHECS, Tanzanian Mission, Box 9, Unidentified person to Joe Mkwanazi, 10 June 1986. Letters of this nature are also common in the ANC archives. See Maaba, “Students.”

18 UFH NAHECS, Box 5, File 1, and Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (South Africa): Visits Australia. In many instances the way in which African countries, more especially the frontline states, handled the presence of South African exiles was ambiguous, pressured as they were by the South African regime: see for instance, Maaba, “Students;” Ellis, S. and Sechaba, T., Comrades Against Apartheid: The ANC and the South African Communist Party in Exile (London, 1992); Kasrils, R., ‘Armed and Dangerous:’ My Undercover Struggle Against Apartheid (Jordan Hill, 1993), Shubin, ANC.

19 Lodge, , “Pan-Africanist Congress,” 104–24.

20 UFH NAHECS, Tanzanian Station, Box 6, Bill Ratteree to Mr. Vusi Ndlovu, 6 July 1987.

21 UFH NAHECS, Tanzanian Station, Box 6, Johnson Mlambo to Bobby Dalton, 28 November 1986.

22 UFH NAHECS, Tanzanian Station, Box 9, Robert Sobukwe to Major General-General Rademeyer, 16 March 1960.

23 UFH NAHECS, Tanzanian Station, Box 81, Speech by John Nyathi Pokela: 22nd anniversary of the Sharpville shooting, 21 March 1982, 3.

24 UFH NAHECS, Tanzanian Station, Box 81, Speech by the Administrative Secretary of the PAC, Joe Mkwanzi at Mbeya Region during the 6th anniversary of the June 16 massacre.

25 UFH NAHECS, Tanzanian Station, Box 1: Minutes of Central Committee Meetings: Minutes, 1975-1982, 6.

26 UFH NAHECS, Tanzanian Station, Box 6, Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers' Conference 1988.

27 UFH NAHECS, Tanzanian Station, Box 37, Proposed Master Plan for Multipurpose Development of the PAC Kitonga Site, 41. There are also some artifacts in the PAC collection, but it is not clear whether these came from Mosogoro or from another PAC Mission. Ironically, the ANC also had a school in Tanzania called Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College,. For this see Maaba, “Students'” Morrow/Maaba/Pulumani, “Revolutionary Schooling?”; Morrow, “Dakawa Development Centre.”

28 UFH NAHECS, Zimbabwe Station, Box 12, undated letter from New Orleans to an unidentified person.

29 UFH NAHECS, see Boxes 1 and 2 of the Zimbabwe Mission.

30 Phama's threats were widely covered by the media at the time.

31 UFH NAHECS, London Station, Box 8, Carol Brickly to Mr. Will Carling, 9 September 1992.

32 UFH NAHECS, See Box 8 of the London Mission.

33 UFH NAHECS, London Station, Box 2, Molefe Pheto to Michael Muendane, 23 October 1979

34 UFH NAHECS, London Station, Box 8, Molefe Pheto to M.N. Muendane, 1981.

35 UFH NAHECS, See, for instance, Boxes 18 and 26 of the London Mission.

36 UFH HANECS: United Nations Station, Box 62, Mary Robertson to Ahmed Gora Ibrahim, 25 May 1983.

37 UFH NAHECS, Dr. S.E.M. Pheko to H.E. Madeleine Korbel Albright. Disk 1. PAC supporters killed Amy Biehl in 1991 at Gugulethu Township and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa has since pardoned these.

38 UFH NAHECS, United Nations Station, Box 25, Biography of the late Comrade Kgabi Jafta Masemola.

39 UFH NAHECS, United Nations Stations, Box 25, Speech by the President of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, CDE Clarance Mlamli Makwetu, delivered at the special session of the Security Council of the United Nations on 15 July 1992.

40 UFH NAHECS, United Nations Station, Box 26, Biography of John Nyathi Pokela by Gora Ibrahim.

41 UFH NAHECS, United Nations Station, Box 26, Address by John Nyathi Pokela Chairman of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania to UNO General Assembly, 9 November 1982.

42 UFH NAHECS: Johannesburg Office, Box 113, Deputy-President of the PAC J. Mlambo to the Gauteng Minister of Safety and Security, 8 August 1994.

43 UFH NAHECS: Johannesburg Office, Box 93, Pan Africanist Congress Proposal for the urgent socio-economic restructuring of the recently violated Boipatong Squatter Community.

44 Hirson, B., Year of Fire, Year of Ash: The Roots of a Revolution? (London, 1979), 64.

45 Many sources cover the events of the early 1960s leading to the Rivonia Trial, among them, Davies, R.et al., The Struggle for South Africa, 2 (London, 1988); Frederikse, J., The Unbreakable Thread, Non-Racialism in South Africa (Harare, 1990), Pogrund, How Can a Man Die Better?; Mandela, N., Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (Johannesburg, 1994).

46 Horrel, , Bantu Education to 1968 (Johannesburg, 1968), 3446.

47 Hirson, , Year of Fire, 64.

48 Ibid, 72.

49 Woods, D., Cry Freedom: Biko (New York, 1979), 73.

50 Ibid.

51 UFH NAHECS: BCM(A)/ AZAPO Collection, Box 3, Dado to Mandisa, 8 November 83.

52 UFH NAHECS: BCM (A)/ AZAPO Collection, Box 1, Thabo Mbeki to Harry Nengwekhulu, 12 March 1979.

53 UFH NAHECS: BCM (A)/ AZAPO Collection, Box 1, Makgolo Makgolo to people addressed as “comrades.” 28 April 1985. UFH NAHECS: BCM (A)/AZAPO Collection, Box 2, Gerrit de Jager to Sello Pella, 23 January 1983.

54 UFH NAHECS: BCM(A)/AZAPO Collection, Box 13, Speech delivered by O.R. Tiro on graduation Day on behalf of the graduates, 1972. For more on Tiro see. Hirson, Year of Fire.

55 UFH NAHECS: BCM(A)/AZAPO Collection, Box 13, and Speech by Bafana Buthelezi at a conference organized by the Zambian Association for the Liberation of South Africa.

56 UFH NAHECS: BCM(A)/AZAPO Collection, Box 9 Canada Region Conference Report 25-27 July 1987.

57 UFH NAHECS: BCM(A)/AZAPO Collection, Box 19, and Black Consciousness Movement of Azania Draft Constitution–1980.

58 UFH NAHECS: Box 16, BCM (A)/AZAPO Collection: Newspaper article: interview with Tsietsi Mashinini: Reprinted from Inter-continental Press, 15 November 1976 and 14 March 1977. On the role of Mashinini on the Soweto uprising see: Hirson, Year of Fire; Ndlovu, S.M., The Soweto Uprising: Counter-Memories of June 1976 (Randburg, 1998).

59 UFH NAHECS: BCM(A)/AZAPO Collection, Box 18, Document on the Dukwe settlement, The Dukwe settlement made headlines again when the secessionists from the Caprivi Strip in Namibia were accommodated there after being granted political asylum by the Botswana government in 1999. For details on SOMAFCO see Maaba, “Students.”

60 Lodge, T., Black Politics in South Africa Since 1945 (New York, 1983), 344.

61 As a secondary school student in Kwa-Thema, a township in the East Rand, Johannesburg, I witnessed these clashes.

62 Lodge, , Black Politics, 346–47.

63 Maseko, S., “The PAC, AZAPO and the UDM” in Reynolds, A., ed., Election '99: South Africa (Claremont, 1999), 128–29.

64 UFH NAHECS: BCM (A)/AZAPO Collection, Box 1, Lybon Tiyani Mabasa to Colonel Muamma Gaddafi, nd, AZAPO to Bill Clinton and the American people, n.d.

65 UFH NAHECS: BCM (A)/AZAPO: Box 9, Report on the Tenth Annual Congress of Azapo, 22-23 December 1990.

66 UFH NAHECS: BCM (A)/AZAPO Collection, Box 10, AZAPO BCMA PAC Resolutions of Kadoma Consultation August 1991.

67 UFH NAHECS: BCM(A)/AZAPO Collection, Box 19, AZAPO Education Policy.

1 I would like to especially thank Prof. Sean Morrow, formerly Director of the Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre, now Department of History, University of Fort Hare, and Prof. Tim Stapleton, Trent University, Canada, for their advice. I would also like to thank the staff of the National Arts and Cultural Centre (NAHECS) for making research material available, and for their comments. These include Prof. Themba Sirayi, the Director, and the archivists, Festus Khayundi, Noludwe Lupuwana, and Punky Kwatsha. Thanks also for comments from Bulelwa Metuse.

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History in Africa
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