12 December 1991
Monday, 16 December 1991, marks the 30th anniversary of our People`s Army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, also known as MK. This anniversary is of great historical and political importance. The countrywide events taking place mean that this year, for the first time in MK`s 30-year history, our people will participate in the public rallies and peaceful manifestations of their army.
Increased political oppression and military violence against the people forced our leadership, on 16 December 1961, to embark on a new course to achieve our freedom. The only alternative to submission was to fight. The ANC decided to channel the anger of the people into a coherent military response, geared to show our determination to be free, to resist white minority domination and to galvanise our people into action.
The correctness of those 1961 decisions has not been overshadowed by the price that people paid, as the regime attempted to viciously crush our movement, fired by a racist arrogance that ensured the struggle became ever more bitter, and the price in lost lives higher, as the years passed.
Today we celebrate the strength and resilience of the South African people who, despite state vengeance, gave up their loved ones who left home to become the people`s soldiers.
We salute all those who fed, clothed and gave shelter, despite the threat to their own lives, to our soldiers on their return.
We salute all MK combatants, men and women from all walks of life, who swelled the ranks of the peolple`s army.
We acknowledge the debt we owe to countries like the USSR, Cuba, the former German Democratic Republic and other socialist countries, who helped train, clothe and arm us, as well as gave unstinting all-round support to our movement in the spirit of true internationalism. When we had but few friends in the world, it was the African and socialist countries that supported us in our fight against colonial terrorism.
Over the years the regime`s death forces have maimed and murdered thousands upon thousands of our people. The Roll of Honour is long; many of the names inscribed upon it are those of the unsung heroes of our fight for freedom. We dip our banner in salute to all those who fell. We say to their families, friends and supporters: they died that we may be free!
Even now the Roll of Honour continues to grow as surrogate forces of the regime continue to wage a vicious war against our people. 16 December this year will focus attention on the ongoing violence and crimes committed by the notorious death squads, as well as on our army`s role in both the negotiation process and the strengthening of people`s self-protection.
We continue to recruit, to train and to develop our cadres for a future army. We will not disarm or disband before our goal of achieving a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and united South Africa is achieved. Only a new democratic government, elected by our people according to universally accepted democratic norms, will have the power to create a new defence force. We will be part of such a professional force to serve all the people of a democratic South Africa.
MK is neither a private army nor the army of a political party. The nature of the struggle against apartheid and white minority domination necessitated that our movement for national liberation give birth to the people`s army. We therefore invite all democratic South Africans to join us in marking the 30th anniversary of MK.
Celebrations will culminate on Monday, 16 December 1991, in 12 rallies to be held in different corners of South Africa. A special message will be delivered by the Commander of Umkhonto we Sizwe, Joe Modise, at the Orlando Stadium Rally, 16 December, at 10h30. The keynote address will be given by ANC President Nelson Mandela.
MK Military Headquarters