The ANC is an instrument of the people, not the other way around - Mac Maharaj
We have a look at the book 'Breakthrough: The Struggles and Secret Talks that Brought Apartheid South Africa to the Negotiating Table' by Mac Maharaj and Z Pallo Jordan.
The book written by two African National Congress stalwarts looks at the period leading up to the talks. When former president FW de Klerk announced the unbanning of the liberation movements on2 February 1990, he opened the door to negotiations that would end Apartheid, pave the way to democracy.
How did that moment come about? What power struggles, what secret talks brought the country to this point?
Mac Maharaj has more.
People normally focus on what happens at the table, but in a conflict situation and war, the longer that war lasts the more difficult it is to resolve the matter by sitting on the table. But you have to sit on the table even if it takes one surrender to the other. That process becomes very important to understand and what find out was that we could document what was happening.Mac Maharaj, African National Congress veteran
We tried to show the different sides or different elements, period by period, according to the timelines of events. We've put the facts on the table. If there are any acts of omission we'd welcome that but we believe that we've put in everything that is relevant and we've given all the sources so that it cannot be said that what we are putting there is just an opinion piece.Mac Maharaj, African National Congress veteran
One of the problems we have is that we try to judge our past by the present conditions of our country whereas if you want to learn from history you must understand the past as best as possible, how it happened so that we can see how it influences today.Mac Maharaj, African National Congress veteran
Are there lessons in it for today's ANC leaders?
There are lessons for everyone, including the ANC. The focus on the ANC is understandable because it has been the governing party since 1994 and it has to take responsibility for what has happened in that period. But the important lesson that comes out of this is that you need to mobilise our society for change and take as many people on board. We show that in the Struggle years, what the ANC did under the leadership of [OR] Tambo was to broaden its support to enter into the terrain of the ruling forces and win over and neutralize others so that there is a national movement for change.Mac Maharaj, African National Congress veteran
We show that in the Struggle years, what the ANC did under the leadership of [OR] Tambo was to broaden its support to enter into the terrain of the ruling forces and win over and neutralize others so that there is a national movement for change.
If we want social change we must understand that the people are the force for change and we need to argue, we need to persuade them in order for our country to change. The ANC is an instrument of the people, not the people an instrument of the ANC.
Listen below for the full interview...