ANC speaker calls for disruption fo Apartheid[mk1]By Katie Schwarz
The purpose of armed rebellion against the South African government is "to make it impossible for the structures of apartheid to carry out their policies in the black community," said Themba Vilakazi of the African National Congress (ANC) at MIT last Nov. 26.
Vilakazi, Massachusetts representative of the group which advocates military struggle against the white regime in South Africa and which has been outlawed there since 1960, spoke before about 12 people at a lecture sponsored by the MIT Coalition Against Apartheid.
The ANC was not represented at the recent Institute Colloquium on Apartheid, noted Thomas E. Uebel G of the coalition, who introduced Vilakazi. ANC representatives had been scheduled to speak at the event, but were unable to attend.
Vilakazi opposed foreign investment in South Africa. Such investment leads to lower standards of living for black workers, he claimed. The country's rapid economic growth in the 1960s and '70s, "in no small measure due to the infusion of foreign capital," harmed black workers by causing inflation, he said, and the ANC hopes to "get foreign capital out by making it very difficult to do business as usual."
The ANC's attacks on the apartheid government have a psychological purpose, functioning as "armed propaganda," Vilakazi said. Such attacks "reassert the presence of the movement within black society in South Africa,"<>
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The ANC is very conscious of the impression its actions make on the world and tries to avoid causing civilian casualties in its guerrilla attacks, according to Vilakazi. The group does not perpetrate "random killings in supermarkets and cinemas," he said, adding that violence against civilians "would make it difficult for the ANC to garner any of the increasing support which it has been gaining even among a few whites." Instead, the group's targets are "structures affiliated with police and security forces."
Armed revolt may be the only way to convince white South Africans that change is needed, Vilakazi continued. "White life is so segregated, so insulated," he said. "Unless white people's lives begin to be affected in some very direct ways, they will never be motivated to change the status quo in South Africa."
The rise of black labor unions is an important success for black South Africans, Vilakazi said. He accused a representative of the US State Department of taking credit for building these unions at a panel discussion during the Institute Colloquium. But the growth of unions comes from "continuing labor unrest in spite of [its] illegality," and is "not in any way as a result of foreign intervention or corporate enlightenment," he said.