The African National Congress was formed in a meeting in Bloemfontein on 8 January 1912. After taking up arms against the government of the day in the sixties, the ANC exploded and became known internationally as the movement seeking liberation for South African people. It has been at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid rule, losing many members along the way. The party raised awareness about the plight of South African people encouraging musicians, entertainers and sportspeople around the world to join in the mission to eradicate racial inequality in the country.
It is exactly this line of thinking that Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille wishes to establish clarity on. Helen Zille publishes a weekly newsletter on the DA website and this Sunday she laid out the intentions of the party with the ‘Know Your DA’ campaign. In the newsletter she quoted George Orwell: “Who controls the present, controls the past. Who controls the past, controls the future”.
Helen Zille wants the public to know that the ANC was not alone in the apartheid struggle. Though at the time they belonged to other opposition parties, many leaders within the DA were also actively involved in the fight. The DA unveiled a poster of former president Nelson Mandela and Helen Suzman who the DA has stated was a member of the party. The DA is disappointed with the public perception that Helen Suzman was a member of the ANC when she had actually been a member the DA.
In the newsletter, the DA leader says: “South Africans need to know that the ANC did not always provide the only, or even the most important, opposition to segregation and apartheid”.
The ANC disputes that Helen Suzman was ever affiliated to the DA as a member. According to News24, the ANC chairperson in the Western Cape thinks this campaign is “cynical and opportunistic”.
Despite concerns that the DA may be perceived as an organisation that has yet to move on from the past, Helen Zille is certain that knowing the past is beneficial to building a prosperous future. The ‘Know Your DA’ campaign was launched in Alexandra, Johannesburg and is set to hit the rest of the country with vigour in the next few weeks.