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LETSETSE

THE FLEA

Monthly news, comment and mobilisation pamphlet of the Black


Consciousness Movement of Azania [BCMA]

Vol. 1, No. 8 April, 1990

BANTUSTAN COUPS AND TRICKS

When the idea of Bantustans was first thought of, the Boers saw it as a final solution
to "the native problem". We were to be scattered all over the country to wretched
areas set aside for 'Bantu' resettlement. The whites would, hopefully, live in peace
thereafter.
The "solution" has always been rejected by the owners of the land, the Blacks, and
developments in these "homelands" have shown that the despicable collaborators
who have taken part in the balkanisation of our country enjoy no popular support.
By these we do not mean the coups d'etat, but the general unrest and resistance
against those who have led the people towards backwardness. There have been two
military coups in the last two months.
The former 'President for Life' in the Ciskei Bantustan, Lennox 'Nyheke' Sebe is
a case in point. Before he accepted "independence", he was clearly defeated in
elections in his own constituency. The regime than appointed him "economic
advisor" to the Ciskei puppet government, notwithstanding that his knowledge of
economics was no more than a puppy's piss. They later found him a safe seat and
returned him to the dummy parliament.
The development we ne'ed to address now in the Bantustans is that of military
coups. This development has the potential of confusing some of our people into
thinking that the officers behind the coups are progressive.
Starting with the Transkei, there is no doubt that Bantu Holomisa enjoyed the
support of the Boers when he first took over. The Matanzima brothers who ran the
Bantustan, and their cronies were far too depraved for anyone to be seen
supporting them. When the Boers ditched them, Holomisa was the next best thing.
Holomisa has now clashed with his bosses in Pretoria. His populist utterances,
including the call for reincorporation into the rest of South Africa, however, are
simply stunts. He can not represent the people or their wishes. It is within the power
of the Boers to remove him. To prove this point, when the Bophuthatswana
Bantustan soldiers of Lucas Mangope mutinied against him, Big Brother was not
amused. They quickly sent in the Defence Force led by its Chief, General Viljoen,
to crush the rebellion against their lap-dog.
The popular uprising against Sebe was unstoppable. He was overthrown while he
was on a visit to Hong Kong. We have no reason to believe that the officers who
couped him are different from Holomisa. They are all de Klerk's officers. The anger
and the frustration of the people remain. These officers are in no position to satisfy
their needs.

During the first week of this month, Frank Ravele's short and turbulent term as
"President" of Venda Bantustan came to an abrupt end, through a coup led by one
of the Blue-eyed boys of theS.A.D.F. who was back barely three days from a course
at a South African military academy. It is clear the Boers engineered this coup to
remove another embarrassing puppet and rid themselves of the shame of Ravele.
After the jubilation that greeted Ravele's removal, it was revealed that the coup
leader, Gabriel Ramoshwane, had been a member of the South African special
branch, and had carried out hostile activities against the liberation movements. On
Tuesday, 10 April, less than a week after taking over, Ramoshwane banned the
Allied Workers' Union, the only labour organisation active in Venda and closed
its offices.
The message coming out of the Bantustans is clear. The Azanian people are sick
and tired of being taken for suckers. The people want re-incorporation into a
unitary Azania. The masses are fighting for the liberation of our whole country.
The regime will find no solution in engineering coups and replacing dogs with foxes.

FURTHER AGGRESSION AGAINST BCM CADRES


The last issue of LETSETSE dealt with a number of hostile actions against
members of the BCM. A funeral of a family member of one of the leaders of the
Azanian Students' Movement (A2ASM) was violently taken over by elements who
removed the BCM flag draped over the coffin and replaced it with a green, black
and gold flag. The group occupied the church and kept the mourners in the funeral
procession out of the church, and went to bury the corpse on their own. On March
21, a service to commemorate the massacre of demonstrators at Sharpeville in 1960
was held at the Stadium in Ikageng Township, near Potchefstroom. The key-note
speaker was Comrade Lybon Mabasa, outgoing deputy president of AZAPO. The
UDF/ANC supporters tried to disrupt the meeting and failed. When Comrade
Mabasa took the platform, he got a very good response from the audience. The
disruptionists then resorted to stoning the meeting and the speakers. At Sharpeville
itself, the Africanists who organised the service there, invited the BCM to attend,
and to present a speaker. When the BCM forces arrived at the Stadium, their
marshalls tried to keep them out of the event. When they entered, the Africanists
forced them not to display their BCM banners outside. The local AZAPO
chairman, who was listed on the programme, was not allowed to speak. What more,
the very Africans who invited him spoke to the press about why they were right to
block him.
Late last month, BCM veteran, Rapheso Mamabolo was attacked in his parish in
Heilbron, in the Orange Free State. His car was smashed up by UDF supporters
who have been intimidating BCM cadres and threatening elderly members of the
community. When they were urging each other to set the car on fire, Reverend
Mamabolo got out of the car and challenged them to do so if they saw the act as
their path to liberation.
On April 4, a group of UDF supporters attacked several houses in Mahwereleng,
near Potgietersrus, vandalising the houses and injuring many BCM cadres
including Abner Ledwaba. Families of our militants were told to pass messages
that they should resign from AZAPO and other BCM organisations. This was
barely two weeks after the effective leader of the UDF/ANC called for unity and
mentioned his intention to resume contact with AZAPO. Seven more comrades
were injured and hospitalised on April 10 in another round of attacks by the
UDF/ANC youths. A member of the AZAPO regional executive was surrounded
by knife-wielding thugs who tried to force him to reveal the homes and
where-abouts of BCM cadres. When a senior UDF cadre intervened, our comrade
demanded to know why this was happening when peace-talks were in progress at
national level, and when the President of AZAPO was on a joint committee with
the leader of the ANC. The reply was that the UDF could not control its members.
There has been inculcated a mentality amongst the UDF/ANC, which seeks to
establish themselves as the only voice of the oppressed. This is encouraged by their
external supporters such as the Russians and the Swedes. If they want to establish
such a situation by force, they are going to cause a lot of unnecessary suffering for
Black people. The situation in Natal is largely due to their attempts to suppress
Inkatha by force. Much as the BCM disagrees with Inkatha, we do not believe the
solution is through violent conflict with them.
TWO ISSUES RELATED TO WOMEN AND THE
STRUGGLE
Women in Leading Position in The Struggle
The liberation struggle in Azania has a proud tradition in the area of the
participation of women. This goes back to the wars of resistance fought by our
forebearers against the invading colonialists. Also, all liberation movements can
point to women who became prominent in their ranks. The BCM can point to the
fact that both before the 1977 crackdown, and after, its main mass organisations
have at some point been led by women.
It seems as if this history has weakened the drive to develop more participation and
leadership by women in the Azanian liberation struggle as a whole. In all societies
such as ours, which are ruled by colonialism, imperialism and capitalism, male
domination stays strong. Many factors cause women to take a smaller role in public
matters such as struggle. To weaken these forces of oppression, we must make an
extra effort to build women's participation, and to increase the women's role in
decision-making. If we look at the national leadership of the two main Labour
Federations or the Churches and other mass organisations, how many women are
there? Even in Trade Unions where women make up a large number of the
members, we may find unions where there is not a single woman in the National
Executive, or in the Central Committee. We must engage the talent and skills of
our sisters so they can be examples for others. There are many reasons why women
comrades often do not rise to leadership. Some of them have to do with family
work. Some have to do with us being used to seeing men.in responsible positions.
In the past, also, many families used to find it more important to educate their sons
rather than daughters. We must work to change these positions. We must also
criticise some of the habits which have occurred in our various organisations.
Sometimes, women have been recruited simply as companions and fans of male
activists. Or women who have been attracted to the struggle on their own have been
treated badly by comrades with childish, playboy habits. When they see that their
contribution is undermined in these ways, many women then stay away from the
activities of the struggle. Some observe from a distance that the dignity of their
gender is not upheld, and decide to use their energies elsewhere.
In many countries such as Zimbabwe, Nicaragua and the Philippines, women have
been and are the backbone of the revolution. Azanian women can do just as well.


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