The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 77.0°F | Overcast

Black leader talks of African strife

To editors:

The main ideas of Motlana's speech are here in mode8:

Land in crisis

Warning signs plentiful

Crash of violence compared to past has started

People's war developing

Workers (Comm of 10 and Soweto Civic Assn)

The first story includes the above stuff

The second story will include the below stuff

youth (educational oppression, protective laws)

are taking up the cause

Police state; white south afri unaware

Constitutional changes. Could have proposed limited

participation before


One-party government

If there is confusion, the text of the speech is in my grey box. Give me a call if you have questions at x5-8392.


By Craig Jungwirth

First in a two-part series on the opening address of the Institute Colloquium on Apartheid.

Nthato Motlana, chairman of the Soweto Committee of Ten and the Soweto Civic Action Committee, chronicled "The Battle for South Africa" for over 800 students, faculty and staff Wednesday afternoon in Kresge Auditorium.

Motlana has been "one of the leading politicians in South Africa," said Professor Robert I. Rotberg, chairman of the ICC's Program Subcommittee, who introduced Motlana. Motlana received his medical degree and began practicing medicine in his homeland in 1958, Rotberg added.

Motlana, whose address opened the Institute Col<>

loquium Committee's (ICC) Colloquium on Apartheid, discussed the development of a "people's war" led by students and workers in South Africa -- a movement aggravated by the South African government's apartheid policies.

"South Africa is indeed a land in crisis," he said. "It is difficult to say when the crisis actually started ... There have, of course, been very numerous warning signs which [South Africa's] rulers have ignored."

The African National Congress (ANC), a national organization of blacks, "so far this year has launched the biggest number of attacks inside the country since 1976," Motlana said. He cited a litany of figures from an Oct. 20 Johannesburg newspaper that recounted 93 acts of violence thus far in 1985, ranging from 25 murders and attacks on civilians to one sabotage and attack on a police fuel depot.

Compared to the 42 incidents reported in 1984 and 355 acts reported since 1976, Motlana said, "There has been a dramatic increase in the activities of the African National Congress -- inci<>

(Please turn to page 2)


(Continued from page 1)

dents within South Africa over the past year testify to this."

The South African government has invaded neighboring countries in "its clandestine policy of destabilization," Motlana explained. This policy was founded "to compel [those countries] to get rid of the ANC within their borders ..."

Destabilization was initiated to "dry up" ANC activities in South Africa, Motlana continued. "Instead, the ANC seemed to have found a way of coping with this new development."

Motlana said the ANC's new strategies were described by Dr. Tom Lodge, a senior lecturer in Political Science at the University of the Witwatersrand, in an article he wrote for the October 1985 issue of the magazine South African International: "The concept of a peoples' war essentially comprises the broadening out of the guerilla operations with the recruitment of an army of part-time guerillas," Motlana quoted, "who would operate within their normal home areas, thus bringing about a perpetual state of low-intensity civil war."

Increased violence is not the only sign of current unrest in South Africa, he added. "The crisis in the land has deepened a general feeling among workers and students that the status quo simply cannot be allowed to continue."

Black labor unions lead

to civic associations

Black labor unions in the country are now "engaged in a life-and-death struggle against their employers who seem not to recognize the legality of their unions," Motlana said. Recognition of black labor unions "was a ploy intended for control," he continued.

Union members have another problem that American union members do not have, he said: they do not have the right to join labor unions and "belong to political parties, express their political preferences in such bodies [or] stand for and be elected to Congress."

"Following the banning of the ANC in 1960 ... it became almost impossible to mount opposition to white racist rule" in South Africa, Motlana said. The South African government's Communism Act "stated categorically that the formation of any other organization with aims and objectives similar, even remotely, similar to those of the ANC would be illegal," he said.

"The Black People's Convention [BPC] was established ... as an all-embracing organization of black consciousness," Motlana said. But the organization was banned, along with 17 other black people's associations, in 1977.

AZAPO, another "black consciousness organization," was formed in 1978. AZAPO has not been banned and "it lacked, and still lacks, the broad appeal that the African National Conference had," noted Matlano. Many South Africans believe, however, that the BCP and AZAPO are only forums of debate for intellectuals, Matlano claimed.

"Let me remind you," he said, "that South Africa has no representation at any level of government -- whether local, state or national, for that matter -- for black South Africans."

A lack of "legitimacy" of local councils led to a symposium held in Soweto in June, 1977 which established the Committee of Ten (COT). This committee, which Motlana chairs, outlined "the need for effective black local authorities." The committee was "locked up" for six months as a result of their recommendations.

The COT formed the Soweto Civic Association (SCA) in 1978. The COT and SCA led the formation of civic associations in South Africa that, in the absence of national black organizations, are on "the cutting edge" against "white racism in our country."

Next: The role of youth in South Africa.