Non-Racialism and Social Cohesion:
Is ANC Failing in its Vision of a National
Speech by Y Abba
Omar at the Inaugural Annual Lecture of
the ANC Inland
Branch, Boksburg Centre,
29 October 2014
of Ceremonies and Chair of Inland Branch 42, Wilson Manganyi;
Leader, Duduzile Nqozo.
ladies and gentlemen.
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.
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
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
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
To download PDF: ANC Lecture YAO.pdf