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Speech by the Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC) Cde Ace Magashule on the occasion of the 39th Anniversary Celebrations of the founding of the Congress of South African Students

31 May 2018, Soweto Theatre

Our Young Generation are the heirs and the lifeblood of our National Democratic Revolution

Comrade Programme Director
The President COSAS Cde John Macheke and members of the National Executive Committee
The Founding member of COSAS and also a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC Cde Nomvula Mokonyane
Members of the National National Executive Committee of the ANC present
Comrade Programme Director
The Former President of COSAS, Cde Shepherd Mathe
The leadership of SOWETO June 16 present
The leadership of the Veterans League present
The leadership of the South African Communist Party present
The leadership of the Congress of the South African Trade Unions present
The leadership of South African Civic Organisation present
The leadership of the ANC Youth League present
The leadership of ANC Women's League present
The leadership of the South African Student Congress present
The leadership of the Progressive Youth Alliance present
The leadership of the Business Community present
The leadership of the Church Community present
Comrades and friends

It is our honour, to be part of this great occasion, during the historic day of the 39th anniversary celebrations, of the birth of the Congress of the South African Students. On behalf of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, we express our profound words of appreciation and gratitude, to all of you gathered here.

Our special words of warm revolutionary greetings go to the National Executive Committee of the Congress of the South African Students and the whole embodiment of the progressive youth formations. We are indeed humbled by the invitation, to mark the anniversary celebrations, of the founding of this glorious movement of the young lions of our country.

The event to commemorate the founding of this colossal movement represents a significant milestone in the history of our struggle for national liberation. It represents the continuity of our struggle to make our country and the world a better place for all.

The leadership of the ANC appreciates the leadership role played by the young people of our country over decades of our struggle against oppression and exploitation. We therefore salute their magnificent contribution to the struggle against the monstrous repressive racist Apartheid regime.

Throughout the years, the youth of our country have been the backbone of our struggles against imperialism and colonial oppression and exploitation. The youth of our country have been the veins and the vessels of our national democratic revolution.

It is therefore befitting, during this important occasion, of the 39th anniversary of the Congress of the South African Students, to borrow the words of one of the towering genius of our revolution, Cde Vladimir Lenin, when he says:

"Give me one generation of the youth and I will transform the world. During the triumph of the revolution, the task of constructing the new society would fall on the shoulders of our youth, but they will be unable to perform this task if they are ignorant mentally, untrained and full of empty talk".

The magnitude of this event is a post mortem confidence that our youth is still the nucleus of our revolution, walking along the glorious path, in the long trenches of our struggles, for the freedom and dignity of our people. The occasion is a demonstration that our youth remains to be an indestructible fortress of our national democratic revolution.

We are confident that you can still take the first line of march, you still know that when our revolution is under siege, your task is to swell the ranks and defend it. Your political leadership role is to occupy the forefront trenches of our struggle, to defend the gains of our democratic breakthrough.

Your role is to defeat those who want to liquidate the history of the struggles of our country. Those who want to undermine the glory and bravery of the people, in our guest to determine their own destiny.

It is quite clear, that those opposed to the noble programme of the struggle, of the second stage of our transition for radical socio economic transformation, are determined to turn the cloak of history. They are unashamedly dedicated to undermine this most important strategic objective of our national democratic revolution.

It is for this same reason, that today we confirm before you, that your audacity to host this event, during this important day in the calendar of the history of our struggles, is a testimony, that indeed you are our future leaders. You are indeed the heirs and the lifeblood of our revolution.

The Congress of the South African Students, is a product born out of our struggles against imperialism and apartheid colonial domination. Its formation, was part of the overall strategic objectives, to intensify our struggles for total liberation.

During this important day, of the 39th anniversary celebrations of the birth of the Congress of the South African Students, we are duty bound to salute those gallant fighters, who germinated the seeds for the formation of this revolutionary movement. We are duty bound to salute the sons and daughters of our soil and all the martyrs, who volunteered their own lifes for the emancipation of our people.

We salute the living memories of Cdes Peter Nchabeleng, John Nkadimeng, Peter Mogano, Moses Mabhida, Stan Mabitsela, Martin Ramogadi, 'Chairman Mao' Elliot Shabangu, Robert Manci, and Joe Gqabi.

We will forever be indebted to the young lions of the June 16, 1976 SOWETO uprisings, and to all those who were at the core of the historic task of the formation of this preparatory school of our young students.

We salute Cde Roller Masinga, Jabu Ngewnya, Billy Masetlha, Mzwakhe Mbuli, Super Moloi, Titi Mthenjale, Thami Gqeta, Joyce Dipale, Baby Twala, and many of the young generation of our country.

These are the nucleus of young leaders, who appreciated the necessity of the mammoth task, for the formation of the Congress of the South African Students. We are thankful of their extraordinary acts of heroism.

Cde Joe Gqabi, our erstwhile leader of the struggles, a direct commander of these young revolutionaries of the June 16, was brutally murdered by the Apartheid mercenaries in Harare, Zimbabwe, during the year 1981. We salute his heroism, commitment, dedication, courage and fearlessness.

During this occasion, we salute the living memories of the revered heroine of our struggles, Cde Emma Sathekge. The 15 year old young student, was killed by the apartheid security apparatus in the year 1984, at the township of Atteridgeville, during the struggles to boycott classes.

The students of Atteridgeville, were demanding for the removal of the age limit clause for the entry of students at school and the right for the formation of Student Representative councils. We shall for ever treasure her selfless contribution, to the struggles for the liberation of our country.

We salute the living memories of one of the finest sons of our national liberation movement Cde Mathew Goniwe. A teacher by profession, a revolutionary and trade unionist, he was brutally assassinated by the security police, together with three of our activists, Cde Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkonto, and Sicelo Mhlauli.

It was during the year 1983, when thousands of students from the town of Cradock in the province of the Eastern Cape, organised a massive school boycott, in protest against the intentions by the Apartheid regime to unilaterally transfer Cde Goniwe from his school to Graaff-Reinet, where was set to be a school principal. The transfer was a ploy by the authorities to isolate him from the community of his people, where he led the struggles for free and equal education for all.

During this occasion, we remember the heroism of the founding President of the Congress of the South African Students Cde Ephraim Mogale. Our country is indebted to the heroic contribution of his generation to our struggles for a just and equal society.

In his memory, we pay tribute to the young lions, who constituted the first National Executive Committee of the Congress of the South African Students. Amongst others, are Cde Vusi Gqoba, Vungasha Mabasa, Mpho Masetlha, Nomi Mogase, Sphiwo Mthimkulu, Baby Tyawa, Nomvula Mokonyane, Teenage Monama, and many others.

We celebrate this important historic day, few months after the people of our country and the world, were devastated by the passing on of the mother of our nation, Cde Winnie Nomzamo Madikezela Mandela. We salute the living memories of this outstanding heroine of our struggles, whose the movement we are celebrating its anniversary celebration today, declared as a honorary life President.

We celebrate the occasion of the anniversary celebrations of the founding of COSAS, during the year of the centenary of the life and times of the two icons of our liberation struggles, Cde Reginald Oliver Tambo and Albertina Sisulu. We salute their contribution to the struggles of the young people of our country against the racist Apartheid regime.

The historic mission of the Congress of the South African Students, was the struggles for representation of the rights and interests of the black students in general and the africans students in particular. Its struggles, was part of the overall strategic mission for the building of a non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous society.

The leadership of COSAS declared its allegiance to the ANC as the authentic leader of our people and the freedom charter as the guiding tool of our struggles. Their immediate campaign was to commemorate the hanging of one of the youngest commanders of Umkhonto we Sizwe, Cde Solomon Mahlangu and the celebration of the centenary of the victory of the Zulu nation against British colonialism, during the year of Isandhlwana.

The students were inspired by their struggles for the creation of a non racial education system based on the will of the majority of our people. They viewed the struggles for the democratization of education as part of the greater struggles for the emancipation of the people of our country.

It was for the reasons that COSAS demanded for the recognition of democratically elected Student Representative Councils, that students should be part of the broader struggles by our communities, to support the bread and butter issues affecting our people and also support the struggles of the organised workers. Therefore COSAS remained rooted in the struggles against the political system of the racist Apartheid regime.

Throughout the years, the Congress of the South African Students have been in the forefront of our struggles for a free and compulsory education. We therefore take this opportunity to thank former President Jacob Zuma, for having declared the policy of free and compulsory education to all the people of our country, who are especially from working class families.

This decisive decision by the former President of our country, was part of the revolutionary programme adopted by the 53th conference at Mangaung, to declare the the present historical period of our struggles, as the second phase of our transition, for the radical socio economic transformation. This decision was of paramount importance to accelerate the revolutionary process for transformation of society.

The 54th conference of the ANC has taken the resolution to take further the struggles for the radical socio economic transformation. The conference took resounding resolutions to expropriate land without compensation, to nationalise the Reserve Bank, to accelerate the implementation of a free and compulsory education, and to ensure that the previously oppressed people of our country become part of the commanding heights of our economy.

We support your struggles to make history as a compulsory subject to all students, the diversity of languages when writing examinations, the end of corporal punishment, safe school campaign, access to efficient scholar transport system and many of your campaigns aimed at transforming the quality of our education system.

We are here today to express our firm support and unwavering solidarity with you the future of our people. We commit ourselves to count on our unshakable and resolute revolutionaries struggles for radical socio economic transformation.

It is the responsibility of the young generation of today, to find the meaning of the new forms of struggles and how to take forward the objectives of our national democratic revolution. Our country needs a calibre of young people with the propensity to understand the urgent tasks of our revolution.

Your task is to learn, and to learn, and to learn. We need young people with requisite skills to contribute towards the improvement of the lifes of our people.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE CONGRESS OF SOUTH AFRICAN STUDENTS. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

We thank you.

Issued by the African National Congress