The Premier of the Province Mr Willies Mchunu
ANC Chairperson in Kwa-Zulu Natal Comrade Sihle Zikalala
Family and Ex-political prisoners’ representative Mr Sifiso Buthelezi
MECs, Members of the Provincial Legislature,
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Msunduzi Municipality
Chief Patron of the Foundation, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma,
Members of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders,
Leaders of faith organisations and leaders from other sectors,
Compatriots, Comrades and Friends
It is always a great honour when we come together to pay tribute to the stalwarts of our liberation struggle in various ways.
We are doing that today, with the launch of the Truman Magubane Family Foundation, whose goal is to assist young people from our communities to equip themselves for active participation in the economic and other spheres of life in the new South Africa.
It is fitting that today we are launching a Foundation which is named after this gallant freedom fighter.
He is one of the finest models of revolutionaries who never say die.
Councillor Truman Magubane is among the most distinguished freedom fighters that were produced by this city. He is one of the finest sons of this province.
Councillor Magubane joined the struggle for freedom at an early age in life during the roaring fifties and in the wake of the Defence Campaign of 1952.
But it was not long after when the Apartheid colonial regime banned the ANC in 1960 and forced cadres like Councillor Magubane to become part of the early underground structures of our organization.
Being one of those who did not succeed to leave the country for military training abroad he worked in the underground structures of our organization in the most difficult period. The High Command of the young people’s army Umkhonto WeSizwe was arrested in Rivonia in 1963.
Former President Nelson Mandela had been arrested in 1962 in Howick. Madiba was returning to Johannesburg after meeting Chief Albert Luthuli then President of the ANC who was serving a banning order at his home in Groutville.
It is also so fitting that we launch this Foundation just a few days after the International Mandela Day.
The Rivonia Trialists were sentenced to life imprisonment and were sent to Robben Island.
That is where most political prisoners would be incarcerated. Mizilankatha is one of the courageous freedom fighters who kept the fire of the national liberation movement burning. He was arrested in 1975 and sentenced to fifteen years in prison in 1977.
Magubane comes from a family of freedom fighters. He continued to fight for the freedom of his people at a time when he was just building a family of his own.
He had a young wife, Mavis who was also arrested and detained for three years in prison. Two of his siblings went to join Umkhonto WeSizwe abroad. His whole family was subjected to extreme harassment and surveillance.
In his own words it was a bitter sweet reunion when one of his sons also came to Robben Island as a prisoner in 1986.
Two of his brothers also went to exile and one was among the MK combatants who were brutally murdered by Apartheid security forces who raided their shelters in Matola, Mozambique in 1981.
Time does not permit for me to tell the story of Truman Magubane and his family and comrades who continue today to be an inspiration to our people, young and old, to this day.
The economy of South Africa is very different from what it was just four decades ago when Comrade Magubane went to prison in Robben.
Just to enter the labour market today requires the level of skills that very few if any black South Africans possessed when Councillor grew up here in Msunduzi.
Our people were deliberately denied educational opportunities by the Apartheid regime.
Very early on when missionaries set up schools as part of and parallel with the colonial project our people soon realized that education empowered them to challenge the structure of colonial oppression.
Indeed those who obtained formal education were pioneers in the establishment of the Congress movement in the 19th century which coalesced into the South African National Native Congress in 1912, in Mangaung.
We speak here of among others Walter Rubusane, Pixley ka Isaka Seme,Reverend James Calata, Sol Plaaije, and John Tengo Jabavu.
We speak also of Reverend John Langalibalele Dube, uMafukuzela, the first president of the African National Congress.
One of the main streets in this municipality bears the name of this giant who also founded the Ohlange Institute which produced many leaders of our struggle for freedom and other fields of human endeavour.
We continue to suffer the consequences of Apartheid policies today even as the ANC-led Government has expanded access to education for all.
We want highly trained artisans, scientists, and leaders of large corporations. They must be leaders of the commanding heights of the economy of our motherland.
Our country has high rates of unemployment because of the structure of the economy and labour market. This is another direct effect of Apartheid.
For those who would deny this truth let us quote Hendrik Verwoed, the architect of Apartheid when he talked about Bantu Education in 1954:
The Bantu must be guided to serve his own community in all respects. There is no place for him in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour.
For that reason it is of no avail for him to receive a training which has as its aim absorption in the European community while he cannot and will not be absorbed. Up till now he has been subjected to a school system which drew him away from his community and particularly misled him by showing him the green pastures of the European but still did not allow him to graze there.
That is the kind of frankness that is missing from the debate about the real causes of our economic stagnation today.
All kind of excuses are made and people blame the ANC which is making huge strides in reversing the effects of centuries of systematic exclusion and suppression. We need new graduates who will help restructure this economy completely.
That is why we speak of radical socio-economic transformation: the fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership and control of the economy.
We have to change the structure of the economy for a number of reasons.
Firstly the economy was built around commodities for export to Europe and later the Americas and other regions. Even roads and rail were constructed so that they led from the mine shafts and the farms straight to the harbours like Durban.
Commodity prices are set in the international market. In other words the minerals come from our land but we do not determine their price.
The large economies buy our minerals as raw materials and manufacture goods which they sell back to us at exorbitant prices. Capitalism works in such a manner that at times more is produced than what can be sold.
The prices are reduced and commodity-based economies suffer.
We want to re-industrialize so that we create more jobs. We also want to beneficiate our minerals and agricultural products so that we add more value and do not depend on import of finished goods from other countries.
The structure of our economy was also shaped by colonial capitalism.
It is in the nature of capitalism to concentrate capital in fewer and fewer enterprises.
Historically all the capital is controlled largely by white men.
Those who hold capital here and abroad instinctively become suspicious when we talk about changing the structure of the economy because they are making a lot of money from the economy as it is.
They have to protect their hold on the economy even if it means they have to destroy our spirits and take our lives.
To achieve our objectives we need all the young people to be highly educated; to go beyond what Government alone can afford. That is why we need structures like the Truman Magubane Family Foundation.
We also want to produce new generations of farmers and leaders of the agro-processing industry.
We want black agricultural scientists that will propel South Africa to become the food basket of the world and compete with the best of the best from the developed regions like Europe and the Americas.
That is why we have to accelerate the redistribution of land and support food production.
Working together with the current landowners we must develop creative solutions to this end.
The reality is that with the best intentions and efficient policy implementation, the State will never have enough money to return the land if that is the only avenue open to it.
I said a few things about Comrade Magubane because he models in the best possible manner the calibre of freedom fighters and leaders we need today.
We need leaders who cannot be suppressed. We need leaders who are not opportunists.
We need leaders who are totally committed to the betterment of the lives of their people.
As I close I want to stress the love for education that Mzilankatha instilled in his children. His two daughters who joined Umkhonto WeSizwe also furthered their education as part of the ANC program in exile to equip young people with the skills that would be necessary to build the new South Africa.
One of them is a senior official in the Department of Defence today. The other continued her education in what is today known as the University of KwaZulu-Natal and sadly passed on while she worked there.
I would like to thank the Magubane family for starting this Foundation, which aims to promote the culture of reading books and documenting the unfolding stories of Africa.
I encourage South Africans to start such progressive initiatives.
We urge all the young people to use every opportunity to equip themselves for the new economy. We urge them also to prepare for and embrace the fourth industrial revolution so that our country is not left behind.
I thank the Msunduzi Municipality for this very important project.
It is my honour and pleasure, to officially launch the Truman Magubane Foundation! May it grow from strength to strength.
I thank you.
Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa