The African National Congress (ANC) will tomorrow, Friday the 8th of January 2020 mark 109 years of its existence.
As the ANC celebrates its 109th anniversary we look forward to more centennial celebrations. The obligation to strengthen unity and deepen the renewal of our movement is a commitment we must all cherish for the sake of future generations.
As we are all aware, the NEC met yesterday to finalise the January 8 statement. We were honoured to have been joined by our two former Presidents, Comrade Thabo Mbeki and Conrade Jacob Zuma, who continue to be the fountain of wisdom for our movement. The meeting benefited a great deal from their invaluable inputs which helped to shape the content and direction of the statement.
The NEC further expressed its gratitude to the people of South Africa for responding positively to the call to join hands in order to help defeat the pandemic. Our behaviour and actions as individuals or as communities will determine whether or not we win this war.
Our National Officials are today participating in the Alliance Political Council (APC) together with the National Office Bearers of our Alliance Partners, Cosatu and the SACP to reflect on a variety of challenges confronting our nation and to chart a way-forward. The APC will specifically reflect on the much anticipated Government vaccine roll-out plan. Later today the leadership of the ANC will meet with progressive NGO’s and civil society formations to give an update on the imminent vaccine roll out plan as well as continued efforts to fight the pandemic
Yesterday the 6th of January marked the 26th anniversary of the passing of Comrade Joe Slovo, one of the giants of our revolution who served our movement with selfless dedication. He was a fierce opponent of the apartheid regime and capitalist exploitation. He was one of the most distinguished intellectuals and revolutionaries of our movement who dedicated his entire life to the emancipation of the working class and the liberation of our entire nation. He served both the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP) with distinction.
January 8 has always been an important annual event for the country. Every year, the National Executive Committee (NEC) uses this moment to take stock of the political situation and the balance of forces, to articulate the vision for the forth coming months, to identify key tasks for its members and structures and to announce the theme for the year.
The tradition of releasing the January 8 statement began in 1972 on the occasion of the organization’s sixtieth birthday. Unfortunately, there was a six-year lull. The tradition resumed in 1979, which the NEC declared as “The year of the Spear” in recognition of the increasing important role of armed struggle as a critical pillar of our struggle as spearheaded by Umkhonto we Sizwe.
The ANC continues to be an inspiration, not only to the vast majority of the people of South Africa, but also to all freedom-loving people of the continent and the world. The movement’s values, policies and programmes continue to resonate with the aspirations of our people.
As the ANC, we honour the founding fathers and mothers of our glorious movement for the huge role and sacrifices they made over many decades. We also extend our gratitude to ordinary members and supporters for building and for helping us to keep this revolutionary giant intact for many decades.
As we mark the 109 birthday of Africa’s oldest liberation movement, we remain keenly aware of the monumental and intricate challenges that remain on our path towards achieving the vision of a better life for all. Yet we know that we dare not fail because the ANC remains the only true embodiment and repository of the hopes and aspirations of millions of our people. As we mark this important day, we look back on our liberation heritage as a catalyst for the ongoing renewal of our movement.
January 8 traditionally marks the beginning of the ANC’s calendar year where President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the annual January 8 Statement on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) in which key tasks to be carried out by structures and cadres of our movement will be outlined. The January 8 statement unveils the ANC programme of action for the year. In the coming months, we expect all cadres of our movement to respond with practical action to the marching orders as shall have been articulated in the January 8 statement.
January 8 presents the ANC and the nation with an opportunity to take stock of the progress we have registered and to reflect on the road that still lies ahead.
The ANC will use this occasion to reaffirm our collective commitment to the resolutions of the 54th National Conference. It is a platform to reassert the ANC as a movement rooted among the people and as leader of society. It is a moment to draw on the legacy of the founding fathers and mothers of the ANC and to reorientate the current generation to the values and objectives that inspired our forebears.
As part of the programme, there will be messages of support from our Alliance partners, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP).
For the first time in our history, January 8 will be held under extraordinary circumstances imposed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be a significant departure from past practices. This year’s January 8 celebrations will be a virtual affair, including the build-up activities. As you are already aware, there will be no mass rally as on previous occasions. This is part of our commitment towards preserving lives in the midst of this deadly virus. As a leader of society, we have a duty to lead by example.
Unlike in the past, there will be no presentation of awards to ANC structures and leagues which have performed well in the previous year.
Friday’s main January 8 event will be preceded by a number of build-up activities, later today, 7 January 2021, the ANC Youth League will host the Peter Mokaba Memorial Lecture as part of celebrating the 62nd birthday of former Youth League President, Peter Mokaba. The event will draw former ANC Youth League leaders who belonged to Peter Mokaba’s generation as well as the current leaders of the Progressive Youth Alliance formations. The Treasure General of the ANC, Comrade Paul Mashatile, will deliver the memorial lecture.
Furthermore on this day, the ANC Women’s League will embark on an uManyano programme in a form of Charlotte Maxeke inter Generational Program. This year – 2021 – marks 150 years since the birth of the ANCWL’s founding President, Mme Charlotte Maxeke. Therefore, this dialogue seeks to kickstart the year long ANCWL’s planned activities to celebrate the life and legacy of Mme Maxeke.
Tomorrow, Friday the 8th of January the actual day of the anniversary will kick off with a number of interviews by our veterans and stalwarts reflecting on the significance of January 8. Our Provinces and Regions throughout the country will be engaging in various social media watch parties ahead of the main address by ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa at 19h00’s. The main program will be chaired by our National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe from Luthuli House with the NEC, Alliance Partners and Other Fraternal Parties including invited guests and dignitaries joining in virtually. Multiple platforms have be created to allow the media and the public access to the proceedings. Details of these platforms will be shared with both the media and the public across our social media platforms.
This year the logo of the 109th Anniversary consists of a special insignia, the Baobab Tree. The oldest living Baobab is estimated to be more than 3 000 years old. The Baobab is renowned for its magical powers and symbolic value to many indigenous African people, as well as its functional usefulness.
The age and utility of this tree suggests endurance, wisdom, endowment and bounty.In the 109th Anniversary celebration of the ANC the tree symbolises the sustained presence of the ANC in our lives and its ability to weather all manner of storms in pursuit of the liberation of all South Africans.
As we grapple with the second wave of the pandemic, we remember the families whose loved ones have succumbed to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to them. Let us show compassion and solidarity with those who are infected and to offer support to all families who have lost their loved ones due to COVID-19.
The ANC reiterates its call to all South Africans to comply with all measures intended to curb the spread of the virus. Unless we observe the basic protocols, this second wave will leave untold miseries and devastations of unimaginable proportions. Let us not let our guard down. Let us make the wearing of masks a way of life, practice good hygiene, observe social distancing and avoid large gatherings.
We thank you.
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