– Ribbon Mosholi
– ANC International Relations Manager

October is very important for the African National Congress (ANC) in this centennial year as it is the month when we remember and celebrate the birthday of President Oliver Reginald Tambo. He not only was the president who served the ANC the longest in the position; but the one who popularised the liberation struggle in South Africa and was instrumental in the creation of the global Anti-Apartheid movement. He indeed is credited with putting the internationalist nature and agenda of our movement on the world map.

It is therefore not a mistake that this month, October, the month of his birthday, the ANC chose to mark the contributions of the international community and embark on its 3rd international solidarity conference. Like in all other themes each month since January, the ANC invites all members of society, and in this month particularly the international community, to reflect on this history and the centenary of the ANC.It is therefore in this spirit, specifically epitomised in the person of Oliver Tambo that we welcome our comrades who were central to the development and sustenance of the international anti-apartheid movement to reflect on a legacy that is equally their own.

We know that our joint legacy has inspired and attracted many struggling peoples elsewhere in the world, including the Palestinians, who face a far more violent and inhuman situation. I’d like to quote from the 2007 ANC Polokwane resolution which captured this situation: “The 60th Anniversary of the Palestinian catastrophe, known as the Nakba, which resulted in the dispossession of Palestinian lands and their birthright through a systematic policy of colonial expansion, ethnic cleansing and military occupation of the most brutal kind, which as South Africans we readily recognize from our own experience of apartheid…given our own experience in our liberation struggle, we South Africans know the force of an international solidarity campaign in bringing to bear on an oppressive regime to force it into real negotiations and a just solution.”

Palestinians have asked for our solidarity and we must respond. In 2005, the largest grouping of Palestinian civil and political society issued a call with three basic demands:

1. Ending the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Apartheid Wall,
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

These are not unreasonable demands!

Taking the long standing relationship that we have had with the oppressed people of Palestine the centenary celebrations of the ANC, specifically the legacy of Oliver Tambo and the international anti-apartheid movement, should serve as an opportunity for those who contributed to our liberation in the world to also reflect on how they could do so in the case of Palestine.
Long live the spirit of OR Tambo, Long Live! Long live Palestinian struggle, long live!