Cyril Ramaphosa

Riyaz Patel

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to the party’s first secretary general Sol Plaatje as the party marks 108 years in existence, with land as it was then, and still today, the burning issue.

The Northern Cape province is awash with ANC colours, with Ramaphosa and senior officials engaged in mass mobilisation efforts which will culminate in a rally in Kimberley on Saturday where the party will announce its annual January 8 Statement.

“Here lies our DNA as a movement, the DNA of the Sol Plaatje family,” said the ANC President at the struggle hero’s grave at West End Cemetery.

Plaatje, a journalist, was renowned for his intellectual contributions, and Ramaphosa referred to the opening line of Plaatje’s book, Native Life in South Africa.

“There will forever be one phrase he used which was quite emotive but also politically packed with a lot of meaning, which [he] said after the 1913 Land Act was passed:

‘Awakening on Friday morning, June 20, 1913, the South African native found himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth.’

“It was published in 1916, the most telling emotive phrase about the pain that black South Africans felt at the time and continue to feel up to this day, about the dispossession of land,” Ramaphosa said.

The ANC president added that the party took a “revolutionary resolution” at its 54th national conference on the land question, which, he said, in many parts, was inspired by Plaatje.

He said the ANC would resolve the matter because it was a “historical mission.”

Ramaphosa added that the ANC’s bid to renew itself was in honour of those who came before them, assuring that the ANC would continue to exist beyond its 108 years of existence.

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