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    Non-Racialism and Social Cohesion: Is ANC Failing in its Vision of a National Democratic Society?

    Non-Racialism and Social Cohesion:

    Is ANC Failing in its Vision of a National Democratic Society?

    Speech by Y Abba Omar at the Inaugural Annual Lecture of

    the ANC Inland Branch, Boksburg Centre,

    29 October 2014

     

    Master of Ceremonies and Chair of Inland Branch 42, Wilson Manganyi;

    Councillor Paulina Morake;

    Zonal Leader, Duduzile Nqozo.

    Comrades, ladies and gentlemen.

    I would like to begin by thanking the Inland Branch for honouring me with this invitation to address you on what I hope would become an annual event. The topic I have been asked to speak to is one very close to my heart. In my talk I will start by addressing the three closely related concepts in the topic for today: nation-formation in South Africa of which non-racialism and social cohesion are key components. I will then spend the second half of my talk focusing on the way forward and milestones for the future.

    And unlike other speakers who give the answer to the question right at the end, I will answer the question now: No I do not believe the ANC is failing in its vision of a national democratic society but we are going through some challenging moments which can be addressed by the ANC playing a leading role in conducting open and critical dialogue on the issues of non-racialism and social cohesion.

    This is not the official line from MISTRA or Luthuli House. It is my personal views as a cadre of the movement and I intend being provocative and controversial in some parts.

    SOME HISTORY

     

    From the beginning of the 20th century debates around how a South African nation can be created have revolved around many propositions. Some of the main ones are:

    ·      The ‘Black Republic’ thesis, which, in asserting the rise of a black-led independent state, embodied the modernist impulses of the time.

    ·      The Colonialism of a Special Type (CST) theory which constructed the notion of a colonizing nation and a colonized nation residing in the same territory.

    ·      The Pan-Africanist approach, which is seen as reflective of the ethnic-based school. We have the Pan-Africanism of the Pan-Africanist Congress, which was counter-posed against the principle of non-racialism which was taking root in the ANC.  This is different from the Africanist approach of the ANC which recognises the numerical superiority of indigenous Africans in South Africa as the most oppressed and exploited members of society. The ANC accordingly places a special emphasis on African leadership as well as prioritising addressing the conditions of African people.

    ·      The way in which ‘blackness’ was seen by the adherents of the BCM. It was meant to mobilise Africans, Indians and Coloureds into unity around the fact of their lack of political representation.  As Steve Biko wrote about Black Consciousness. “Its essence is the realisation by the black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their oppression - the blackness of their skin”.

    ·      The multiple identities or “rainbow nation” notions which could be seen as instances of the post-modernist approach.


    To download PDF: ANC Lecture YAO.pdfANC Lecture YAO.pdf

     

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