Theme: “Role played by POQO in the armed struggle”
Speaking on behalf of POQO: Kwedi Mkhaliphi
The veteran of PAC Mr Mkhaliphi thanked all the people that came to the 51st APLA anniversary lecture at the University of Western Cape on Tuesday, 11 September 2012. He first unpacked the meaning of the name POQO. He said Mr Alan Bhula came with the name POQO. On the eve of Sobukhwe’s visit at Kensington branch, Mr Bhula was hailing on a loud speaker that “Wonke amaAfrika POQO ayamenywa kumhlangano wama Afrika”. He recalled that PASS laws were the main campaign that PAC mobilized people around. He said the “Dompass was like hell to many Azanians because they had to carry it like an albatross”. He mentioned how Verwoerd installed the laws that were to drive Africans away from the cities. The PASS was not discriminating any African educated or not had to carry the Pass.
ANC opposed all the campaigns of the PAC. When invited in 1960 Duma Nokwe said he would swallow his hat if PAC would have more than 50 members. The 1960 march was to be a nonviolent march. Where people were not expected to fight back when encountered by the Boers. The day was a rainy day leading to more people joining the campaign due to the myth that rain symbolizes hope. ANC joined the campaign by saying we must burn the passes. That was the character of the ANC of trying to hijack the limelight at all costs. Chief Luthuli edged people to burn their passes.
Another campaign was to deal with laundry people who were spying for the apartheid. After five women were not allowed to visit Zone in Langa. POQO arrived in Umtata, where a road was built and peoples land was expropriated. The construction works were asked to down tools but they refused which led to confrontation. People being given 500 pounds for their land. POQO beat people working there and the Boers retaliated. Many comrades were later arrested, and the most important thing was that POQO ended but people were never defeated.
Former member of AzanianPeople’s Liberation Army. Mike Masala
Spoke of the Legacy of APLA, the armed wing of the Pan Africanist congress. He defined legacy as the gift handed down by the predecessors. The legacy affects everyone as I had tasted liberation in Soweto. According to him the 1976 apprising’s in Soweto proved how self-determination would feel like to an African child. He warned the audience of Pseudo APLA members who claim the revolutionary movement, whereas many people dream even today of the hardship they suffered away from home. Many soldiers were left behind, and their sacrifices are not recognized today. He mentioned the unnecessary deaths they encountered abroad such as from malaria, assassinations, and TBs. He mentioned how APLA was always a step ahead of everyone. When MK went to Algeria APLA was already coming there. He said 1960 and 1965 was the year, and the first group trained in Egypt. Templeton Ntantala was trained in China. People could not obey his orders since he was a commissar but not a commander. Commander and a commissar were bringing contradictions within the movement. The land rover killed a lot of people, whereby mist of their autopsy’s had one thing in common the land rover.
“The monkey that kills APLA is still alive, or the owner lost control of it”MrMasala maintained. He was taking this phrase from a famous Xhosa proverb which explains when a house is plagued by misfortune. He reminisced about the battle of Vila peri where their commander Mr Garson Ndlovu leaked information to Hani and people in Vilaperi, where only two survived. Thamsanqa was arrested by Portuguese. He maintained how that battle was so costly to the APLA army.
He said “We were always blessed. Battles can be lost because of politicians. APLA’s armaments liberated ZANU.” Brain-drainage, commander of SANDFs air force is a product of APLA. Most The blood that spill was because of the enemy within. 14 injured, 6 died. Soldiers wanted to go home, and were maimed by Tanzanian forces. A wrong message was sent, but at what cost? lives were lost because of our very own legacy. The price that was paid was heavy under Potlako Leballo. Being tormented haunts you for your life, and he made reference of a phrase he learnt that says “how can a men die better?
Majority of South African defence force generals were groomed by APLA. He said we must be careful when talking of imperialists nowadays because Imperialists have now changed names to Xhosa names. Meaning that the battle lines are not as clear as they used to during the Apartheid regime. People suffered and paid the price. The spirit cannot rest if laid in the foreign land. He finished by saying this legacy of APLA cannot be played with because it is full of blood.
Guest speaker: Mzimasi Sibeko, former member of the then AZANYU
Bra Mzi as he is known by many opened by stating that an Introspection in a non-opportunist, non-sectarian, non-factional approach would bring about progress within PAC. He said we cannot rejoice in these events celebrating the perpetuating of colonialism. The Bhambta’shave since fell under the sword of the colonialists, and we must defend ourselves. He categorically stated that you cannot talk of POQO without mentioning the Biko’s and Sobukhwe’s. Nothing that defeats more than being stripped your dignity, and that is what the enemy did to our people.
Mzi Sibeko remembered how Theo Mabusela is fighting for his life as reflection of how the PAC dish does not eat referring to the Xhosa proverb “inene isitya esihle asidleli”. He firmly stated that all the political movements mean nothing until they position themselves within the question of national oppression. Petitions were not working and Sobukwe set the scene. He said it was madness to be subjugated. Sobukwe and Biko had a choice because it was so important for them to sacrifice themselves. They knew 1994 would come, Biko would have made a deal. But he knew better, that the person would stand forever even if his body would die.
Mzi Sibeko mentioned “the double sword that we need to use to protect ourselves. By us he was referring to the progressive African front. The sword must cut within to be able to cut outside. He said Emulation, is a single task that faces us. All we need to do is to emulate Biko and Sobukwe If we call ourselves by Sobukwe and Biko’s children. We should benchmark ourselves to be like them. If we call ourselves by them we must do as they did. Our party is the embodiment of the highest truth in our society, Sobukwe and Biko were the personifies of that truth. They belong to us and we must fight for them.”
The event was very successful in highlighting the dialogue that needs to occur between former APLA members, PASMA members, PAYCO members, and the PAC. It highlighted the need to be inside the PAC in order for one to correct PAC problems.
– Written by Sinethemba Mandyoli