From Boy Scout Bob a Job to Freedom Fighter
1950 youth, self politicised.
During the writing of ‘Consider the Verdict’, I become of the opinion, that Nelson Mandela had let the African people down, allowing the exclusion of his people, from the Economy and the Land to continue.
I asked, “Was he conned, or was he a collaborator?”
Following this question that I asked myself, my mind never stops receiving Nelson Mandela input, why was his family and friends excluded from Nelson Mandela’s life after release, this exclusion becomes a topic of the guide book ‘Passport to Soweto’, extracts included in the Chapter, “Was Nelson Mandela’s mind, manipulated?”
Off the interaction with the Orlando East community, where both ANC and PAC elders are involved, I am taken through the period 1940 to 1960, exposed to political history that I had not touched on before, history that explains the ANC split in 1958.
PAC Veteran and member when PAC was founded, John Mahapa, arrested with Robert Sobukwe on March 21, 1960, has greatly contributed towards my Africanist mindset development, born in 1940, still a child in 1955, my friend that moved from Boy Scout to Freedom Fighter overnight, thanks to the Drum Magazine.
To my surprise, many young Township boys belonged to Scout Groups in the Townships. Twice a year, during their school holidays, they were required to perform ‘Bob a Job’ doing work in their communities, earning a ‘Bob’, which was added to their Scout Troop coffers.
While still a student at an Orlando East Primary School, one of the community leaders, Job Rathebe, offered the Boy Scouts an opportunity to earn money for themselves. Friday afternoons, Saturdays, and on occasions Sunday mornings, they worked at the Drum Magazine, rolling and packing Drum magazines for distribution.
Early struggle by the South African black people, was driven by the educated groups, the Fort Hare students, the academics, the lawyers, the teachers, the journalists, the doctors, who brought together their friends and families as momentum built.
The Orlando East Secondary School youth, were bubbling with energy as they awakened to the Freedom movements in other parts of Africa, from living in a situation where freedom was not thought about, freedom not considered, almost impossible, they were becoming enlightened, they were the youth that ignited the fight for freedom, a fight that has been hidden from our heritage.
The Drum magazine, reading while rolling, while packing, brought them exposure to the African countries fight for freedom, the youth moved towards achieving dignity and freedom;
The “dangerous explosion” among the Kikuyu that he had predicted in 1930 erupted as the Mau Mau rebellion of 1952, which was directed against the presence of European settlers in Kenya and their ownership of land. On October 21, 1952, Kenyatta was arrested on charges of having directed the Mau Mau movement.
On his return to Tanganyika, Nyerere was forced by the colonial authorities to make a choice between his political activities and his teaching. He was reported as saying that he was a schoolmaster by choice and a politician by accident. Working to bring a number of different nationalist factions into one grouping he achieved this in 1954 with the formation of TANU (the Tanganyika African National Union).
Kwame Nkrumah – Ghana
He formed in June 1949 the new Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP), a mass-based party that was committed to a program of immediate self-government. In January 1950, Nkrumah initiated a campaign of “positive action,” involving nonviolent protests, strikes, and noncooperation with the British colonial authorities.
After his release, he helped found the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) party on 5 October 1958, quickly becoming the organization’s leader.
This group of youth, as scholars self-politicised by 1955, while they worked at the Drum, rolling and reading the magazines, seeking Dignity and Freedom.
In the late 1950s, Drum Magazine develops the youth as self-politicised Africanist, but in a few years time, the Sharpeville Massacre is not covered by Drum Magazine, even though they had two eye-witnesses on the ground.
Jim Bailey, the owner of Drum, did not approve the publication of any reports of the Sharpeville massacre, his Father, Sir Abe Bailey, a diamond tycoon, the family and business links to the economy, in my opinion, influenced this decision.
Today, as John and I discuss Drum’s failure to contribute to the Africanist struggle, failure to remove white rule when it should have been removed, John laments,
“I must stop my songs of praise for the Drum Magazine.”