INGRID JONKER, MARCH 21, 1960, THE FREEDOM CHARTER, HUMAN

RIGHTS, FREEDOM, RESPONSIBILITY AND “DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU
WANT THEM TO DO UNTO YOU”.

Dedicated to Ingrid Jonker: The Struggle is not complete, nor will it ever be
complete

Speech by Tito T Mboweni to the Johannesburg Ward73, ANC John Nkadimeng
Branch,
March 21, 2015. Houghton Primary School. Johannesburg. Gauteng, South Africa

Ingrid Jonker was an Afrikaner woman who died at an early age. She was what is
called a genius. The Oxford Dictionary defines a genius as “exceptional
intellectual or creative power or other natural ability; an exceptionally intelligent
or able person. Genii in some mythologies: a spirit associated with a person,
place, or institution; the prevalent character or spirit of a nation, period”. Ingrid
was a poet, writer and genius who, in the 1960s, was the opposite of
Afrikanerdom and an African. She wrote a historical poem entitled “Die Kind is
nie Dood Nie”, “The Child is not Dead”.

The poem reads thus:
“The child is not dead, ‘Die kind is nie Dood nie’
The child is not dead
The child lifts his fists against his mother
Who screams Africa shouts the scent
Of freedom and the veld
In the locations of the cordoned heart

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The child lifts his fists against the father
In the march of the generations
Who are shouting Africa shout the scent
Of righteousness and blood
In the streets of his warrior pride

The child is not dead
Not in Langa not at Nyanga
Not at Orlando not at Sharpeville
Not at the police station in Philippi

The child is in the shadow of the soldiers
On guard with rifles, Saracens and batons
The child is present at all gatherings and
Law-giving
The child peers through house windows and
Into the hearts of mothers
The child who wanted just to play in the sun at
Nyanga is everywhere

The child grown to a man treks all over Africa
The child grown to a giant travels through the
Whole world

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Without a pass (Die kind wat ‘n man geword het trek
Deur die ganse Afrika
Die kind wat ‘n reus geword het reis
Deur die hele wereld
Sonder ‘n pas.”

It is by no coincidence that the ANC leadership always quoted this poem at
important events. President Oliver Tambo [on several occasions] and President
Nelson Mandela at his first State of the Nation Address in 1994. Addressing an
International Conference on “Children, Repression and the Law in Apartheid
South Africa” on the 24th of September 1987, President Tambo said: “The
Afrikaner poet, Ingrid Jonker, died in 1965 at the young age of 32. Consumed by
a dark foreboding and overwhelmed by despair, she committed suicide as her
creative intellect was coming to its ripening. By her death, she joined herself to
the children of our country about whom she had written. Her tragic passing was
as powerful an indictment of the Apartheid system as were these verses which
she has left us”. He continued to say that “We share with Ingrid Jonker that
nobble vision of the child who wanted only to play in the sun, the child grown
into a giant, journeying over the whole world, without a (dompass). We share
with her the knowledge and confidence that the wanton massacre of the children
at Langa and at Nyanga, at Orlando and at Sharpeville, at Soweto, Athlone,
Maseru, Gaborone, Harare, Maputo, and Kassinga, the knowledge that this
succession of massacres will deny us our journey over the whole world – free at
last, free at last, the last to be free but free at last”.
It was the happenings, the tragedies at Sharpeville, Langa and elsewhere that
triggered this Afrikaner woman to feel the pain of our people. Who was Ingrid
Jonker? Well, she was an Afrikaner girl whose father, Dr Abraham Jonker who
became a National Party MP and at some stage was the chairman of the
parliamentary committee charged with overseeing the implantation of
censorship. She of course was the opposite of all this nonsense. He disowned her
and threw her mother out of the house and distanced himself from her mother
and her. He stood for Apartheid whilst she felt the “black people’s pain” in her.
She loathed Apartheid and what that system did for “all” her people, all South
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Africans, particularly black South Africans. As was usual those days, she was
declared insane, mad and un-Afrikaner!
Ingrid Jonker, in the aftermath of the massacre at Sharpeville and Langa and
other South African centres, experienced brutality at Philippi, where she saw a
mother holding a dead child, shot in the head, at the station. She looked at the
mother and child, and the human spirit came to her, “the child is not dead,
Die kinder is nie Dood nie”.

‘That child lives’. ‘Die kinder is nie Dood nie”.

The history of what happened at Sharpeville on March 21 1960 is well-known and
it also inspired Ingrid Jonker to write that poem: The Child is Not Dead”. A large
number of our people had gathered to protest against the Pass Laws in particular
and the whole system of Apartheid discrimination: the political, economic and
social exclusion and oppression and exploitation of the majority by the minority.
And one of the most violent events occurred on that day. At the end of the day,
sixty-nine people had been killed and many more injured. The Apartheid regime
declared a state of emergency and banned the African National Congress and
other components of the liberation movement. A war had clearly been declared
against our people and their liberation movement. But, “The child was not [ yet]
dead”. The movement for liberation was alive.

The ANC leadership, sensing that the banning of the organisation was imminent
because of the passage of the UNLAWFUL ORGANISATIONS ACT, No 34 OF
1960, issued the following statement: “The attempt to ban the African National
Congress, which for half a century has been the voice of the voteless African
majority, is a desperate act of folly, committed by a Parliament which does not
contain a single African. We do not recognise the validity of this law, and we shall
not submit to it. The African National Congress will carry on in its own name to
give leadership and organisation to our people until freedom has been won and
every trace of the scourge of racial discrimination has been banished from our
country. We call upon all the peoples and Governments of the whole world to
help us in this noble struggle, a part of the aspirations of all humanity for peace
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and brotherhood. We call upon the United Nations to quarantine the racialist
Vervoerd Government by imposing full economic sanctions against the Union of
South Africa” ( April 1960).
Recalling that the Nationalist Party came to power in 1949 on the agenda and
programme of Apartheid. By 1960, they had unleashed untold repression unto
the African people in particular and black people in general. No less than sixty
repressive and segregationist laws had been passed by the minority regime. And
our people had had enough of all this and the Defiance Campaign had energised
them into intensified mass action. The unity of the African, Indian, Coloured and
progressive white people represented a clear progressive threat against an
apartheid edifice. The people, under the leadership of the ANC and the Congress
Alliance, had already adopted the Freedom Charter at the Congress of the People
at Kliptown on June 26, 1955 and the regime had responded by arresting the
leadership and putting them on a “treason trial” which badly flopped before their
eyes. The child was not dead, but alive.

To get a sense of what the people faced in 1960, let us only cite the economic,
social and cultural environment in which they lived. The South African economy
had emerged from the WWII in a somewhat changed way. “After 1932 South
Africa experienced a period of sustained and rapid growth. In 1960 the physical
volume of manufacturing output was six times as large as in 1930. (The index,
based on 1930= 100, stood at 603 in 1960). The number of industrial workers
more than quadrupled, from 158 000 in 1930 to 653 000 in 1960 the contribution
of manufacturing to national income in 1930 was less than that of agriculture
and mining. But soon afterwards, during the Second World War, manufacturing
overtook both of these sectors. By 1960, manufacturing contributed considerably
more than agriculture or mining” (Jones and Muller, p167). Giant factories had
emerged, such as African Explosives and Chemicals Industries (AECI) and a large
army of African workers started being better organised and politicised. Places like
Sophiatown, District Six, Alexandra, and others were beginning to mould a new
African, a new person in a complex cultural and social environment which
became a threat to the Apartheid regime. A new non-tribal and increasingly
urbanised black South African was emerging and the regime did not like this a
bit. Thus they began to re-tribalise our people out of places like Sophiatown into
townships such as Soweto: Meadowlands Zone 6 for VaTsonga-Machangana,
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Zondi for Ma-Zulu, Moletsana for Batswana, Rockville for Basotho, Eldorado Park
for coloured people, etc. The struggle was also meant to fight against these
tribal, ethnic and racist structural impositions. At the same time, concurrently,
the regime intensified its Bantustan programme, thus unleashing on our people a
huge onslaught in both rural and urban settings.

It is therefore not surprising that by 1955, our movement led this gigantic
programme for our people to spell out what kind of South Africa they wanted to
live in. One of the outstanding ANC leaders, Prof ZK Mathews, President of the
ANC in the Cape argued at the Cape conference held in Cradock on 15 August
1953, that:” I wonder whether the time has not come for the ANC to
consider the question of convening a National Convention, a Congress
of the People, representing all the people of this country irrespective of
race or colour to draw up a Freedom Charter for the democratic South
Africa of the future”. And the leadership had responded in the manner that
they did and so did the people. The year 1955 therefore marked an important
historical milestone for our country, our movement and the struggle. It was
indeed the Year of the Freedom Charter.

In celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Freedom Charter, President OR
Tambo put the charter into context by saying: “What is the Freedom Charter?
The Freedom Charter contains the fundamental perspective of the vast majority
of the people of South Africa of the kind of liberation that all of us are fighting for.
Hence it is not merely the Freedom Charter of the African National Congress and
its allies. Rather it is the Charter of the people of South Africa for liberation. It
was drawn up on the basis of the demands of the vast masses of our country and
adopted at an elected Congress of the People; it remains still a people’s Charter,
the one basic political statement of our goals to which all genuinely democratic
and patriotic forces of South Africa adhere”. And he went on to say, “when we
together drew up and adopted the Freedom Charter,… we stated the matter
plainly that each people has a right to independence and self-determination and
to equal status one with the other, and that it was on this basis that peace,
friendship and cooperation among the people can be secured”.

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The period 1960-1990 was to be one of the longest periods in our struggle: most
of our leadership imprisoned on Robben Island and other jails, our organisations
declared illegal, any sign of decent suppressed with brutal force, many detained,
tortured, killed, maimed, psychologically damaged and our organisation reorganising in exile and in the underground at home. By the 1980s, mass
resistance was back: COSAS, Trade Unions, AZASO, Soweto Committee of Ten,
Pebco, UDF, etc. The regime was under tremendous pressure and negotiations
were clearly the way out of the crisis.

The mobilisation by the ANC and others, had led to economic sanctions, cultural
boycotts, political isolation and an intensifying armed struggle led by Umkhonto
we Sizwe. The regime in South Africa could not perform normal political
functions. Instead they resorted to terror and the destabilisation of southern
Africa. They could not play sports: rugby and cricket! It was a crisis!
So as we reflect on March 21, SA Human Rights Day, we must ask ourselves the
question, how far have we gone in realising the objectives of the Freedom
Charter and of our constitution? Are we a human rights country? Ok, we have
established the institutional framework for the pursuit of human rights’; we have
sought to embed a human rights culture in many areas of our endeavours. The
child is not dead!

As we recall the events of 1960, as a backdrop, we must then ask ourselves the
question: Have we, as the post-1994 state and society, done anything to value
our human rights and to honour and show gratitude to those who gave their lives
for our freedom. Are we worthy to be the ones who have inherited the spirit, the
fruits of struggle?

Let us start from the beginning. In 1996, after a long period of negotiations, we
adopted the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The constitution is the
supreme Law of the Republic and all other laws are subject to the constitution. In
examining our human rights position, I therefore refer, for starters, to the
constitution. In Chapter 1: Founding Provisions, it says that “The Republic of
South Africa is one, sovereign, democratic state founded on the following values:
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a) Human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human
rights and freedoms, b) Non-racialism and non-sexism”. It then goes on to say
that “There is a common South African citizenship” where “All citizens are, a)
equally entitled to the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship and; b)
equally subject to the duties and responsibilities of citizenship”. Chapter 2 deals
in detail with our Bill of Rights. The constitution says that “This Bill of Rights is a
cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in
our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and
freedom…The state must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the
Bill of Rights… and everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their
dignity respected and protected”. The Bill of Rights is a subject of discussion on
its own but today we re-affirm its structural basis as we celebrate South African
Human Rights Day. The Bill of Rights deals in detail about: equality, human
dignity, life, freedom and the security of the person, against slavery, servitude
and forced labour, protects people’s privacy, guarantees freedom of movement
and residence, protects freedom of expression, religion, belief and opinion,
guarantees the right to assembly, demonstration, picket and petition, freedom of
association, political rights, citizenship, freedom to trade, occupation and
profession, labour relations, the protection of the environment, property rights,
housing, health care, food, water and social security, protection of children,
cultural and language, access to information and rights when arrested, detained
and as an accused person. This is one of the most extensive coverage of human
rights that I have come across, save the United Nations Charter on Human
Rights. Correctly applied and pursued, we could be one of the greatest countries
in the world to live in. What we normally forget though, is that these rights go
hand in hand with responsibilities. These rights make sense and contribute to a
better society if you respect my rights in the same way as I respect yours and
together we can build a human rights centred South Africa. It does not help the
promotion of our rights if, because you are angry at something or somebody or
the government, you burn down our clinic, hospital, police station, library or
school. I want to use those facilities, and by burning them down, you are
infringing on my rights.

The ANC led government has shown tremendous foresight in the implementation
of human rights in South Africa. Here I wish only to the Companies Act of 2008.
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In this law, which principally deals with the rules and regulations of companies,
there is inserted in Section 72, issues which deal with the Global Compact, the
OECD Good Practice Guidance on Internal Controls, Ethics and Compliance to
Curb Foreign Bribery. The section creates a Social and Ethics Committee of the
boards of companies which are of a certain size and beyond. The regulations
framed under the Companies Act, 2008, make it much clearer what the functions
of the Social and Ethics Committee are. For example, “ to monitor (a)
company’s activities, having regard to any relevant legislation, other legal
requirements or prevailing codes of best practice, with regard to matters relating
to: (i) social and economic development, including (a) company’s standing in
terms of the goals and purposes of- (aa) the ten principles set out in the United
Nations Global Compact Principles; [ for ease of reading, the Ten
Principles are: 1) businesses should support and respect the protection
of internationally proclaimed human rights, 2) businesses must make
sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses, 3) businesses
should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition
of the right to collective bargaining, 4) the elimination of all forms of
forced and compulsory labour, 5) the effective abolition of child labour,
6) the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and
occupation, 7) businesses should support a precautionary approach to
environmental challenges, 8) businesses must undertake initiatives to
promote greater environmental responsibility, 9) encourage the
development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies and
finally, 10) Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms,
including extortion and bribery]. and (bb) the OECD recommendations
regarding corruption; (cc) the Employment Equity Act; and (dd) the Broad Based
Black Economic Empowerment Act; (ii) good corporate citizenship, including (a)
company’s – (aa) promotion of equality, prevention of unfair discrimination, and
reduction of corruption; (bb) contribution to development of communities in
which its activities are predominately conducted or within which its products or
services are predominately marketed; and (cc) record of sponsorship, donations
and charitable giving; (v) labour and employment, including – (aa) the company’s
standing in terms of the International Labour Organisation’s Protocol on decent
work and working conditions.”.

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I submit comrades, that as we celebrate South Africa Human Rights Day, that we
have, as a country, the structural, political and legal framework to promote and
enhance human rights, a human rights way of living, and the human right way of
doing things. If we could only muster the courage, conviction and honesty to fulfil
our promise, this country will be a better place. And the child will not have
died in 1960, not at Sharpeville, Langa, Soweto or Nyanga or at
Marikana and not Andries Tatane. For “ The child is in the shadow of the
(repressive) soldiers on guard with rifles, Saracens and batons, The child is
present at all gatherings and (is) law-giving, The child peers through the windows
and into the hearts of mothers, The child who wanted to play in the sun at
Nyanga is everywhere” and travels the world without a dompass.

Comrade chair, let me end my presentation by appealing, asking for unity in the
African National Congress. Let us close ranks and not give any space for those
who want us divided. But we must deal with the elephant in the room on this
matter. I know that I stand a good chance of getting into trouble for what I’m
about to say, and hopefully you will come to my defence. This unity is going
to have to start with the unity of/or reconciliation between comrades
Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki. They must unite for the sake of our movement.
They are old enough to understand my appeal, my request. We have been
ducking and running away from the words in this paragraph for too long and the
collateral damage is too much to bear. This thing of saying: Umuntu ka Thabo,
Umuntu ka JZ, NO! This needs to end now. I’ve had enough of it. It is causing too
much harm to our movement and country. So, comrades, there it is: my view.
Please don’t burn me at the stake!

Despite everything that has happened recently, Indeed, Ingrid Jonker is not dead!
She lives amongst us.

I would like to wrap up with Tiyo Soga’s famous hymn, my favourite hymn.

Thixo Nkosi ye nyaniso “Lizalis’ idinga lakho, (Fulfil/realise your promise)
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Thixo Nkosi ye nyaniso! (Faithful/Truthful God)
Zonk’ iintlanga, zonk’ izizwe, (All races, all nations,)
Ma zizuze usindiso. (Must be saved)

Amadolo kweli lizwe, (All knees in this world)
Ma kagobe phambi kwakho; (Must bow before you)
Zide zithi zonk’ iilwimi, (So that all tongues)
Ziluxel’ udumo lwakho. (Proclaim your glory)

Law’la, law’la, Nkosi, Yesu! (Govern/Prevail our God)
Koza ngawe ukonwaba; (Happiness can only come through you)
Ngeziphithi-phithi zethu, (Because of our struggles/challenges)
Yonakele imihlaba. (The world is damaged)

Bona izwe lakowethu, (Look at our world)
uxolel’ izoono zalo; (Forgive our sins)
Ungathob’ ingqumbo yakho, (Do not send your wrath)
Luze luf’ usapho lwalo. (To kill the children)

Yaala, Nkosi, singadeli (Prohibit us God from disobeying)
Iimfundiso zezwi lakho; (The teachings of your Word)
Uze usivuselele, (Revive us)
Sive inyaniso yakho. (We can hear your Truth”)

Amandla! Ngawethu!
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Maatla! Kea Rona!
All Power! To the People!

ENDS

SELECTED RECOMMENDED READING LIST (Not in any order of
importance or alphabetical)
1. Ivor Wilkins and Hans Strydom: The Super Afrikaners, ‘Inside the
Afrikaner Broerderbond. Jonathan Ball Publishers, 1978/2002
2. David Welsh: The Rise and Fall of Apartheid. Jonathan Ball. 2009
3. Stephen Clingman: Bram Fischer, ‘Afrikaner Revolutionary. Jacana
Media.1998, 2003
4. Scott Couper: Albert Luthuli, ‘Bound by Faith’. University of
KwaZulu-Natal Press. 2010
5. Stuart Jones and Andre Muller: The South African Economy, 19101990: MacMillan. 1992
6. Douw Steyn and Arne Soderlund: Iron Fist From the Sea, ‘South
Africa’s Seaborne Raiders 1978-1988. Hellion & Company and GG
Books UK. 2014
7. Piet Nortje: 32 Battalion, ‘The Inside Story of South Africa’s Elite
Fighting Unit’. Zebra Press. 2003George Bizos: No One to Blame,
‘In Pursuit of Justice in South Africa. David Phillips Publishers and
Mayibuye Books. 1998, 1999
8. John S Saul and Patrick Bond: South Africa, ‘The Present as
History, From Mrs Ples to Mandela and Marikana. James Currey.
2014
9. Sampie Terreblanche: A History of Inequality in South Africa,
1652-2002. UKN Press.2003
10.
Brian Bunting: Moses Kotane, South African Revolutionary.
Inkululeko Publications. 39 Goodge Street. London W1.1975
11.
Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Autobiography
of Nelson Mandela. Macdonald Purnell.1994
12.
Bernard Makhosezwe Magubane: The Political Economy of
Race and Class in South Africa. Monthly Review Press. New York
and London. 1979.
13.
Adelaide Tambo: Oliver Tambo Speaks Speeches, Letters and
Transcipts. Kwela Books. 2014
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14.

Thomas Karis and Gwendonlen Carter: From Protest to Challenge,

A Documentary History of African Politics in South Africa. Hoover
Institution Press. 1977. Essop Pahad and Willie Esterhuyse (editors):
Africa Define Yourself, Thabo Mbeki. Tafelberg.Mafube. 2002.
15.Andre Brink and Antjie Krog: Black Butterflies.

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