The Spear of the Nation
16 December 1986

Message from the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Umkhonto We Sizwe

16 December 1986

I am glad that the Indian National Congress is commemorating the Heroes` Day to mark the 25th anniversary of the launching of armed struggle by the African National Congress under the leadership of Nelson Mandela.

During this period, the African National Congress and its leaders have faced the most brutal repression from the racist authorities of Pretoria. Nelson Mandela himself has spent twenty-four out of these twenty-five years in jail. Other leaders and activists of the African National Congress have been executed, imprisoned or been forced to go into exile. These measures of suppression have not daunted the spirit of the African National Congress. The struggle has continued and even intensified.

The spirit of freedom can never be vanquished. I am confident that the people of South Africa will continue to wage their war against the inequalities and injustice of apartheid till the system is eliminated. In this struggle the African National Congress has played a leadership role and will undoubtedly continue to do so. In their fight the people of South Africa have our wholehearted and unconditional support.