Thursday, September 13, 2012

Robert Sobukwe: Son of the Soil

"Remember Africa ... Remember Sobukwe" - the 23 minute documentary by Kevin Harris - 2011 - commissioned by the Nelson Mandela Foundation & the Robert Sobukwe Trust. This film is an edited version of the 48 minute documentary made by Kevin Harris in 1996 titled: "Robert Sobukwe - A Tribute to Integrity". Sobukwe once said: "True leadership demands complete subjugation of self, absolute honesty, integrity and uprightness of character, courage & fearlessness - and above all, a consuming love for one's people". This statement underpinned Sobukwe's selflessness and integrity and the legacy for which he should always be remembered."

Comment: This is an edited version of a documentary I watched with my late father in 1996.  Those of you who knew my dad will remember his close friendship with Sobukwe in the Kimberley years.

My dad's interview has been removed and I expect largely because this edited version was in part commissioned by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

What I remember about my dad's comments in the interview was his strident criticism of the African National Congress (ANC) and its attempts to erase Sobukwe from his role in the anti-apartheid struggle, particularly as it relates to the Sharpeville anti-pass campaign (1960).

He also strongly condemned the negotiated settlement (compromises) that led to the post-apartheid state.

Mandela and his organization has not been a friend to the memory of Sobukwe; if you don't believe me read some of his dismissive comments on Sobukwe in his various autobiographies.

My mom appears at 19:35 minutes into the documentary and she is wrongly identified as "Sobukwe's neighbour".  The Robert Sobukwe Trust should know better.

My moms was about 55 when the interview was done - ain't she just a beautiful woman?  She still is.  :0) 

When this blog first started six years ago I used to receive comments from folks who thought I was the son of the late ANC stalwart, Fatima Meer.  At one stage the blog was even listed as belonging to the son of Fatima Meer on an ANC-friendly website.

That aside, the documentary above should have included more discussion as to why Sobukwe has been made marginal to the post country, at least in formal terms.

Why do they still fear Robert Sobukwe even now that apartheid is over?  If you recognize the failure of the post country you may know a lot of the reasons as to why.

My thinking is that as time goes on more and more folks will remember Sobukwe and invoke the character of his struggle principles as the state inevitably continues to falter.

And we are not free.


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