Revolutionary Morality in the ANC Underground

[The following is a chapter from the book The ANC Underground in South Africa to 1976: A Social and Historical Study, by Raymond Suttner (Jacana Media, 2008). In addition to main historical threads, the book has highly original investigations of important but neglected aspects of the movement, such as the chapter on Gendering the Underground. Raymond Suttner is Head of the Walter and Albertina Sisulu Heritage Unit at the University of South Africa. During the apartheid era he was jailed for his activities in the ANC underground, described in one of his earlier works, Inside Apartheid’s Prison (2001). The ANC Underground is available from – Porstside moderator.]
Revolutionary Morality and the Suppression of the Personal
This chapter deals with the relationship between the individual and the liberation movement as a collective. There are a number of distinct factors that bear on this relationship; at the same time, they are all connected to one another and are phenomena that need to be treated in their own right. The notion of the collective has an impact on individual judgement, personal choices and intimacy, with its concepts of the organisation as family or parent and a tendency to displace interpersonal love by `love for the people’, displayed through one’s revolutionary activity.
Much of what has been written in the last two chapters has a bearing on what it means for an individual person to participate in a revolution. The relationship between a revolutionary organisation and the individual – raising the question of the `personal’ – has a direct impact on individual conduct and individual judgement.
The imperatives of the organisation can curtail the freedom of the individual to do certain things that people in an open, democratic society can do without question. The relationship also has implications for the family, for personal relationships, and for the individual’s emotional life, by providing a context for both the fulfilment and repression of emotions. The consequences for the social, intellectual, moral and emotional lives of those involved are complex and profound, and form the subject of this chapter.
Revolutionary thinking in the ANC was much influenced by Marxist texts of Soviet origin. One of their premises was that revolutionaries were supposed to realise themselves as individuals within the context of the collective.[1] While few were able to meet these demands, there were exemplary figures like Chris Hani, Bram Fischer and Ruth First[2] who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the popular cause and realise themselves in the service of something much bigger than themselves. They provided models which others were urged to emulate. But, noble as such lives may have been as examples, they also embodied elements that created problematic choices and results in the personal lives of many of these revolutionaries.
Two of the ways we can consider this relationship between the personal and the collective are how it affects the individual’s judgement and how it affects personal and intimate relations with others. For many people the way this has led to problems is evidenced by the many broken marriages or having to deal with the after-effects of long separations in intimate relationships. Some developed a modus vivendi that enabled them to meet their duties to the revolution as well as personal needs and obligations to other people with whom they were close.[3]
While the bulk of the chapter is devoted to notions of love and the personal generally, it begins with the impact of belonging to a revolutionary organisation on one’s right to one’s individual judgement. Then for the rest of the chapter we turn to the question of the personal in relation to individual needs being displaced in the context of `love for the people’ and related perspectives.
Conflict could easily arise between individual judgement and the imperatives of the organisation. Typically in revolutionary situations, once decisions of the collective are arrived at, they are binding on individuals, who may have argued contrary views in the process of debate leading up to the decision. (This is not peculiar to revolutionary situations, of course, but is also found in conventional caucuses of contemporary democratic parties.) During the Russian Revolution, for example, those who had opposed a decision were often later selected as the individuals who should implement it.[4] This is part of the notion of `democratic centralism’ – though it has been said that there tends to be more centralism than democracy. The assumption is that the more open a situation, in the sense of freedom of political activity in the society at large, the greater the internal democracy prevailing within the party. On the other hand, the greater the degree of repression in the society, in particular where an organisation is illegal, the more the centralised element comes to the fore. Paradoxically, after the SACP abandoned democratic centralism as an organisational principle in the 1990s it reappeared in ANC documentation in 2000 and is now asserted as a central element of the ANC’s and apparently also the SACP’s mode of functioning these days. This was the case before Thabo Mbeki’s defeat in the ANC presidential election in December 2007 and appears to continue under Jacob Zuma. Obviously the notion of responsibility to the collective, while necessary in many ways for the survival of a revolution, and especially an underground organisation, carries with it the possibility of abuse, as well as that of entrenching a culture of resistance to fresh thinking and innovation. The pressures and security considerations of a protracted underground struggle may make individuals and organisations especially resistant to much-needed changes of approach. One can only wonder how much more difficult it would have been for the SACP to adapt its strategic thinking, had the collapse of the Soviet Union and its allies occurred when the Party was still operating illegally underground. In that situation, innovation and periodic rethinking were less prevalent than the transmission of a body of accepted ideas which cements the unity of the organisation.
The central question that we are considering, that of the individual judgement versus the collective, is highlighted in an episode related by the ANC MP and former SACP leading member Ben Turok in his autobiography. During the 1973 Durban strikes, Turok was in contact with Harold `Jock’ Strachan, a former political prisoner, who sought funding to assist those involved in the trade unions.[5] Turok tried to obtain Party support and appears to have received an unsatisfactory response to the effect that structures inside the country would handle the situation. Turok had doubts about the security and efficacy of SACP underground work and decided to pursue methods of operating outside the organisation. He managed to raise funds and channelled them to Strachan. When the SACP discovered this, he refused to divulge the names of the people to whom he had given the money, believing it would endanger their security. The SACP, in turn, considered it unacceptable that an individual member should act in this way without accounting for their actions to the organisation. Turok was expelled.[6]
Some members have in retrospect maintained that Turok was expelled for `good reasons’.[7] Within the paradigm that the SACP espoused, it was plainly unacceptable for a member to operate independently, running a private funding operation for activities inside the country. On the other hand, one has some sympathy for Turok if, as he claimed, he did not get an adequate response from the organisation and did not have confidence in its security. What should he have done? From my experience as an operative in the Durban area at the time, security seemed to be good in the range of activities where I was involved. No one did anything that placed me in unnecessary danger – but I operated on a small scale. In so far as the underground existed at that time, it does not appear to have gone beyond a scattering of small units. There was unlikely to have been the kinds of organisation and resources in existence to provide the facilities Turok needed. While MK groups entered the country from time to time, these were sporadic and do not seem to have established enduring structures that Turok could have drawn upon for support and assistance. Whether Turok was right or wrong in taking the action he did, he nevertheless put himself outside the SACP collective, and he should not have been surprised at the action taken.
This discussion is not intended to pass judgement but to show that when one problematises the relationship between the individual and the collective it raises issues that need to be considered within the paradigm of the particular activity. One can make a case both ways. A similar though more recent example, in the context of an open democratic state where the dangers of illegality are not present, had a different outcome. In 2002 Jeremy Cronin, Deputy General Secretary of the SACP, conducted a long, two-part interview with the Irish academic Helena Sheehan which appeared on the Internet. In the course of the interview he referred to the possible `Zanufication’ of the ANC, meaning that the ANC might take a decadent, bureaucratic and undemocratic course as had happened with ZANU in Zimbabwe. This statement evoked outrage among some members of the ANC leadership and some semi-racist responses describing Cronin as a `white messiah’. While the substance of what he raised was not debated, his wording was regarded as a vilification of the ANC and, having been raised outside the organisational collective, was treated as impermissible.
When the matter came to the National Executive Committee of the ANC, a suggestion was made that the Communists meet in a separate caucus. This group advised Cronin to apologise. According to the paradigm within which Cronin worked, he was subordinate to both the ANC and SACP collectives and he therefore saw fit to apologise. Many have referred to this as a `craven’ apology and `cowardice’. In some situations it is true that bravery may be measured by whether or not an individual stands against a collective, and speaks `truth to power’. But in this case Cronin saw himself as duty-bound to subordinate his own private judgement to the demands of the collective.[8]
It is interesting to ask whether the primacy of this paradigm is conducive these days to the development of democratic debate within the organisations of the liberation movement and democracy as a whole. I have a number of ambivalences. To the extent that organisations like the SACP may have changed or even renounced some of their previously pioneering positions on gender equality (in the Jacob Zuma rape trial),[9] which had inspired many people, since there is no situation of danger now, it would seem to be one’s duty to speak one’s mind or leave the organisation. It is said that where individuals disagree with certain positions that they see as flying in the face of the organisation’s heritage, they should fight to win them within the organisation. At a certain point, having failed to restore the democratic and non-sexist heritage of the organisation, is the collective not becoming a cloak behind which individuals shield in order to retain certain positions, with various actual or potential benefits?
Democratic centralism – under whatever name – is not peculiar to Communists or the ANC. In reality all organisations, and all party caucuses, demand a degree of subordination of the judgement and will of their members. It is a feature of party discipline almost universally. It is all a matter of degree and many factors need to be brought into any judgement that an individual takes.
At the same time, when I originally wrote this chapter, the situation was less stark and divisive than it now appears within the ANC and its allies, who have just emerged from a national conference (December 2007) which has been engaged in contestation not over ideas so much as for spoils that would come from one or other person becoming leader and probably the next State President. In short, ideology and programmatic issues have been supplanted by personal support and patronage.[10] Democratic centralism has little to do with this crisis or with its potential resolution. The centralisation of government rule under Mbeki is found throughout the continent and is not related to any notion of democratic centralism.[11] The crisis is unrelated to forcing views on people in the name of a collective, for there is a range of collectives within the ANC and its allies at present and their differences are not clearly ideological. Throughout much of 2007 it was a question of winning support for Zuma or others, a politics without programmes.
Returning to the period when subordination to a collective was a viable consideration in the sense of a recognised collective leadership existing, whatever moral judgement one may wish to make, we need to be aware that there are conditions and circumstances under which the individual’s judgement needs to be subordinated to that of the collective. Having entered that relationship, the individual knows that is the case. In a revolutionary situation such as prevailed in South Africa in the 1960s, gathering momentum until the late 1980s, this kind of subjection was necessary for the ANC’s and SACP’s existence underground. Whether conditions prevailing in the twenty-first century make it equally necessary is open to question and, as indicated, perhaps impossible to enforce in the current turmoil. All paradigms relate to a context and, in so far as that context changes, new paradigms need to emerge.
* * *
Any involvement in a revolution has an impact on conceptions of the personal. Given the overriding demands for sacrifice and loyalty to something greater than oneself, it leads invariably to a negation of intimacy. Indeed there is a substantial body of revolutionary literature which exalts a conception of personal sacrifice for the revolution as the highest and most honourable duty of a revolutionary cadre. In the words of Liu Shaoqi, notes from whose work `How to Be a Good Communist’ were found in Nelson Mandela’s handwriting at Rivonia, here is one example from this genre:[12]
A PARTY MEMBER’S PERSONAL INTERESTS MUST BE UNCONDITIONALLY SUBORDINATED TO THE INTERESTS OF THE PARTY. At all times and on all questions, a Party member should give first consideration to the interests of the Party as a whole, and put them in the forefront and place personal matters and interests second. Every Party member must completely identify his personal interests with those of the Party both in his thinking and in his actions. He must be able to yield to the interests of the Party without any hesitation or reluctance and sacrifice his personal interests whenever the two are at variance.[13]
Here, we see the idea of a revolutionary as an individual who expects nothing personally, who is prepared to sacrifice all personal needs in order to ensure the success of the struggle.[14] Consequently, no sacrifice is too great and there is no situation where personal needs can supplant those of the organisation. Ernesto `Che’ Guevara, whose exemplary life inspired generations of revolutionaries throughout the world, carried these ideas further in their implications for personal and emotional life. Speaking of the demands on revolutionaries he claimed that the revolution demanded every hour: `The circle of their friends is limited strictly to the circle of comrades in the revolution. There is no life outside of it.'[15]
Though it may have been very exacting, such single- mindedness as he presumes may have been necessary for the successful conduct of the tasks of a revolutionary and also helped to blot out some of the personal pain entailed in the sacrifices being made. The denial or curtailment of the scope of the personal was generally one of the conditions for the successful prosecution of revolutionary activities. We need to acknowledge this, not least because of the consequences, including scars, that have been left through these sacrifices; they should be recognised and if possible remedied.[16] As WB Yeats wrote in his profound but ambivalent poem commemorating the martyrs of the Irish Easter 1916 rising, `Too long a sacrifice / Can make a stone of the heart.'[17] Such numbing of emotions is part of the legacy of ANC/SACP underground activity, for these conceptions of revolutionary morality were more thoroughly absorbed in the underground than any other site of struggle.[18] There are sacrifices, beyond those that are known, that remain with many people, unacknowledged as part of their contribution.
Underground work and its secrecy forced people to make hard choices, involving enduring pain and guilt for many. A significant number of people had to leave their homes, families and loved ones, usually without informing them of their departure.[19] At the time, the expectation was that they would soon return; instead, many were absent for decades, unable or afraid to come back in case this put in jeopardy the security of those left behind. A particularly stark example was the sudden departure of Eric Mtshali to join MK in 1962 without his being able to inform or say goodbye to his wife or children. Eight years later, without having had any contact or opportunity to explain his reasons for departure, he learnt from casual conversation with sailors in Dar es Salaam harbour, that his wife had died.[20]
The question one may ask today is what the consequences were when spouses or children were not consulted about the decision to leave.[21] Such consultation usually did not take place; if it had, it may well have endangered the activities of MK. Obviously this left much `unfinished business’, which often remains unresolved to this day. In many cases families did not hear of their children’s or other family members’ decision till much later. They sometimes expected them to return with material wealth, while instead they often returned without means of support and became dependants, a burden on their parents or other relatives. This exacerbated earlier resentment caused by their original disappearance (as various returnees have told me in their firsthand accounts).
Many left children as babies only to see them again three decades later.[22] Anton Qaba explained how – because of security considerations – when there was a call on someone to leave for MK work, there was no such thing as `I have left this or that at home.'[23] Hilda Bernstein captures and summarises the pain of exile, borne mainly by women, well:
Exile exacts its price not only from those who leave, but also from those who are left: … often without a word of farewell and leaving behind no money for material needs. The women went to work and brought up families alone and in loneliness … often through silent years without any communication from the one who had left … Many who left concealed their intention to depart from those closest to them. … Then their lives were haunted by the unresolved departure – not having said goodbye … Without the rites of farewell the one who had departed was already within the realm of the dead . Abrupt and secret departure added a sense of guilt to the exiles’ pain of unresolved separation from the closest members of the family … The years of loss and suffering of the mothers are only one part of the picture; the other is the alienation, the resentment and feelings of rejection suffered by the children who were left behind.[24]
In the case of Ruth Mompati, who was sent out of the country for political training in 1962, she was not able to return because it was believed she would face arrest. This forced her separation from her children. `But I still wanted to go back, because I’d left a baby of two and a half years, and a child of six years. And I just couldn’t think of not going home.'[25] When the family did reconnect in 1972, they did not know one another. `I was not their mother … I was a stranger … I think I suffered more, because they had substitutes. I hadn’t had any substitute babies. I now had grown-up children, who became my children as years went on.'[26]
Though Guevara’s exhortation may seem to require a level of commitment that few would be able to match, harmonising personal and political needs was not impossible, and in some cases was achieved despite the great stresses. The example of Albertina and Walter Sisulu is well known.[27] The Sisulus’ responsibilities to the `ANC as family’ do not seem to have impaired their conventional roles as parents and grandparents or the exercise of their responsibilities to children and grandchildren. In fact, Walter Sisulu was constantly consulted on Robben Island about the naming of children or other family issues. In the case of Albertina Sisulu, her role as mother cannot be narrowly confined to that of a caregiver or whatever other conventional notions attach to motherhood. She also saw herself as a politiciser of her own children and caregiver to a wide range of others whom she embraced as `sons and daughters’.[28]
Success in underground work meant that operatives had to harden themselves and repress basic needs to communicate with others. The work meant concealing important parts of their lives and fears and anxieties. Often this created misunderstandings in not meeting social expectations from people or simply failing to explain adequately why one or other thing was done or not done. Underground life sets serious limits on social and emotional life.
* * *
Paradoxically, both Liu and Guevara do not deny the importance of love. But in the revolutionary context, they do not conceive of or acknowledge love as an interpersonal phenomenon. Personal love is supplanted by `love for the people'[29] and, as we shall see, this often also connects with a notion of the liberation movement or Party as `family’ or parents. Guevara writes:
At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love … Our vanguard revolutionaries must make an ideal of this love of the people, of the most sacred causes, and make it one and indivisible … The leaders of the revolution have children just beginning to talk, who are not learning to say `daddy.’ They have wives who must be part of the general sacrifice of their lives in order to take the revolution to its destiny … We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity is transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force … In our case we have maintained that our children should have or should go without those things that the children of the common man have or go without, and that our families should understand this and struggle for it to be that way.[30]
Ray Alexander Simons described how she was unwilling to return to Latvia whence she had emigrated as a teenager, in order to join her fiancée, because `although I was not in love with any other man, I was indeed `in love’ with the people here, the country and the struggle against race discrimination.'[31]
* * *
Participating in the struggle entailed a distinct notion of `family’. Writing of the Spanish Communist underground, Guy Hermet refers to the Party as `a sort of extended family in which memories and hopes are shared and to which [the member] is tied both emotionally and materially’.[32] In South Africa, Communists sometimes used the word `family’ as a metaphor or code word to refer to the Party.[33] This was also true of the ANC. One woman cadre, in explaining to her children that she had to leave them behind in Tanzania in order to carry out an ANC assignment, told them that `although I may be your mother, your real mother and father are the ANC. The ANC will look after you, feed you and clothe you.'[34] This conception is part of a continuous ANC cultural phenomenon long predating the period of illegality. This is seen in recollections of the role of volunteers in the Congress of the People campaign, which led to the adoption of the Freedom Charter. Mrs Sibanda, an old volunteer from Cradock, reported, `Whenever we went to people’s houses, and they were in trouble, or had problems, we would become mothers of that family, and men volunteers should be fathers.'[35]
The notion of ANC being in loco parentis arose also in the context of cadres wanting to marry.[36] Permission had to be sought from the ANC leadership before a couple could marry. Security considerations made contact with family back home difficult if not impossible, and placed strain on young couples who felt uncomfortable with taking the step to marry without the knowledge of their family. Baleka Mbete argues that the need for the organisation to approve was not a sign of authoritarianism but a responsible attitude, ensuring that adequate investigations were conducted to ensure that other parties were not prejudiced, for example undisclosed spouses left behind in South Africa. There was also an overall need to care for young people who left in their teens and had no role models to learn from or depend on.[37]
Many young people longed to see their parents, and the organisation was depicted as performing a similar role. While it could be parental in some ways, it could not fill the gap. In fact, many young people missed their parents very much. Phumla Tshabalala speaks of missing her mother every night. But it was not only the young girls or women who longed to have a parental void filled. Gertrude Shope, head of the ANC Women’s Section, was asked to visit camps for two days instead of one because so many young men wanted to be with a motherly figure.[38]
Muff Andersson, a former MK cadre, has been quoted as saying that the ANC `had no mechanisms to help members cope with depression and anxiety. "Women felt they could not even talk about it. There was a fear that if you acknowledged these feelings you might be seen to be weak and less dependable for revolutionary work."'[39] It may well be that the mechanisms for coping with psychological problems were generally inadequate, but it appears that this is not the only experience that needs to be built into our understanding. As a revolutionary, Chris Hani appears to have departed from the `revolutionary masculinist’ norm, which sees men as bearers of the rational, the emotional being the preserve of women. Soldiers, notably women in MK, testify that Chris Hani made cadres feel that their personal fears and emotional make-up were as much the concern of the army and the revolution, as strategy and tactics. Dipuo Mvelase, a female MK commander, describes the way in which Hani raised issues that for many people were outside the bounds of revolutionary discourse:
He was … a comrade to whom you felt you can say anything and not feel bad about it, whether it is personal or whether it is about the struggle … Someone you could confide in, probably say certain things that I couldn’t even say to my mum … Despite the fact that everybody needed his attention because he was the commander in that area [in Angola], we had about three hundred new recruits and he spent every single evening talking to us. And you felt wanted, you felt at home. You felt important you know. Asking you about your family, how you feel, what is your experience, do you miss home? Questions that you thought you wouldn’t be asked because we are in a revolution … you as a person, you get lost … But Comrade Chris made sure that you don’t get lost … He humanised the struggle … He made every one of us feel we count. This is something that one never experienced before, because there are those big expectations that revolutionaries have to do this, have to sacrifice that. That revolutionaries are ordinary people, one never felt that until I met Comrade Chris.[40]
Hani also integrated this concern in the way cadres were briefed prior to being sent on missions into the country. In seeing cadres over the border he was more concerned with their `readiness’ than with the details of their mission. He did not want anyone to undertake a mission if not psychologically prepared, driven by fear of being called a coward or less revolutionary. He made them feel that there were many ways of contributing to winning the war, without entering the country. He did not want unnecessary martyrs, but that each person could `continue fighting tomorrow’.
The life of each and every soldier used to be very important to him. He used to ask: `Do you think there are things that are personal that you need to sort out?’ His view was that if you go home with the baggage of certain personal problems that are not resolved, that are not addressed, you might not be very, very confident in fulfilling your mission – that you might die; and that used to concern him very, very much.[41]
He was aware that many had joined the army out of anger but when confronted by the actual situation of return were in fact reluctant, and believed that the army should accommodate this.
Comrade Chris managed to accommodate it because he used to deal with us individually and discuss with us and find out what troubles us, what makes us happy, you know, and that … was very important, more important than the mission itself because these people – we have to implement these missions, and not some objects because they happen to have skills.[42]
That the ANC was seen as and acted out the role of a substitute parent also affected individual parents and their relationship with their own biological children. It appears to have resulted in specific conceptions of parental responsibility and relationships as part of this vision of a broader love of the people that tended to supplant or downgrade the interpersonal, including responsibilities towards children. Freddy Reddy, a psychiatrist working in MK camps in Angola from the 1970s, reported a consultation concerning a young man who left the country to join MK, but mainly to meet his father. He had hardly known his father, who had been in prison during his childhood and then joined MK outside. Reddy describes their meeting and the differing reactions of father and son:
The first time he saw his father was on the parade ground during inspection. He was very excited, but his father gave not the slightest sign of recognition, nor did he contact him later after the inspection. The boy was emotionally devastated. He felt that his father did not love him. It was not very long before he developed confusional psychosis. On asking his father why he ignored his son, he [the father] replied that everyone in the camp was his [child]: `I could not give him special treatment.'[43]
How widespread was this attitude? To what extent was the embrace of this wider notion of parenting an adoption of wider responsibilities towards children in general, or primarily a mode for displacing or repressing the need for responsibility towards one’s own children? To the extent that the organisation sought to fill that gap, as we have seen, it was only possible to do so in a partial way.
This chapter has examined the ways in which joining the underground entailed a rupture in people’s lives, a break in the normal pattern of relationships that would sustain them in their lives had they not taken the course involving secrecy, warfare and other stressful factors. That a rupture took place did not mean there was no longer a need for relationships and other emotional attachments that could not automatically be fulfilled in the situation of underground work. Notions such as the ANC or Communist Party as parents or family helped meet the need for parental figures. Also, the desire to fulfil oneself through interpersonal love was supplanted by `love for the people’ (which could only have served as a metaphorical substitute if it was viewed as a substitute at all).
As we have seen, there were various ways in which people tried to match and meet both political imperatives and personal needs. Though personal needs would never be entirely fulfilled in revolutionary situations, the example of Walter and Albertina Sisulu shows how a couple’s relationship with their children could sometimes go beyond that of many other revolutionary parents in seeking to maintain conventional responsibilities as well as revolutionary ones. In similar vein, Chris Hani’s conception of the revolution encompassed a real concern for the personal.
The subordination of the personal has also been examined in relation to the tension that exists between individual powers of judgement and the imperatives of the organisation. Having chosen to be part of an organisational arrangement in conditions of great danger, cadres were called upon or saw the need to sacrifice elements of their individual judgement or defer to that of the collective leadership of the organisation to which they owed allegiance. In the sphere of political judgements there was little doubt that the individual submission to the collective was accepted as necessary for security and other reasons.
The overall picture does appear to indicate the general suppression of `the personal’ in favour of `the collective’, but this is qualified. The social and psychological care was undoubtedly inadequate in relation to the problems encountered. But some people did not admit to their psychological difficulties, possibly because of the prevailing atmosphere of a military situation, but also resources were limited. There were psychiatrists and there were possibly other individuals besides Chris Hani who tried to take steps to consider human beings as a whole and not purely in terms of their fighting capacity. We do not know, but that there was a Chris Hani and possibly many others like him needs to be factored into our understanding, along with the presence of itinerant psychiatrists like Freddy Reddy.
[1] See N Saifulin and P Dixon, Soviet Dictionary of Philosophy (Moscow, 1984) 73-4, and H Aptheker, The Urgent Necessity of a Marxist-Christian Dialogue (New York, 1971).
[2] Respectively, assassinated Communist leader, Communist leader who died while serving a life sentence for sabotage, and liberation movement and Communist intellectual murdered by a parcel bomb in Maputo. See T Mali, Tami Mali Remembers Chris Hani: The Sun Before Dawn (Johannesburg, 1993); M Berger, Chris Hani (Cape Town, 1993); S Clingman, Bram Fischer: Afrikaner Revolutionary (Cape Town, Amherst MA, 1998) and D Pinnock, Writing Left: The Radical Journalism of Ruth First (Pretoria, 2007).
[3] See E Sisulu, Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In Our Lifetime (Cape Town, 2002) and R Suttner, ‘A Revolutionary Love’, Mail & Guardian, 19.2.2003.
[4] See EH Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, vol 1 (Harmondsworth, 1966 [1950]).
[5] B Turok, Nothing but the Truth: Behind the ANC’s Struggle Politics (Johannesburg, Cape Town, 2003), 234.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Interview, B Bunting.
[8] See discussion in R Suttner, ‘Being a Revolutionary: Reincarnation or Carrying over Previous Identities? A Review Article’, Social Identities 10 (2004), 415-31.
[9] See R Suttner, ‘The Jacob Zuma Rape Trial: Power and ANC Masculinities’ forthcoming in V Reddy, C Potgieter and P Gqola (eds), (Title undecided) (Cape Town, 2008).
[10] An early attempt to analyse this, which has become dated in a very few months, is R Suttner, ‘African National Congress (ANC): Attainment of Power, Post- Liberation Phases and Current Crisis’, Historia 52, 1 (2007), 1-46.
[11] I do not refere to centralisation in the ANC, which I believe is a myth in that government has taken the decision, purporting to act on behalf of the ANC, whether or not the thinking has passed through organisational strutures on matters such as macroeconomic policies. There is now a tension since the ANC elections of December 2007, with ANC and state presidents being two different individuals, which could lead to some degree of shift.
[12] N Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (Johannesburg, 1994), 347.
[13] Liu, Shao Qi, Selected Works, vol 1 (Beijing, 1984 [1939]). Capitals in original.
[14] See G Hermet, The Communists in Spain: A Study of an Underground Political Movement (Westmeath (Hants), 1971), 148ff.
[15] C Guevara, Che Guevara Reader: Writings on Guerrilla Strategy, Politics and Revolution. Ed D Deutschmann. (Melbourne, New York, 1997 [1965]), 211-12.
[16] See examples in many of the interviews in H Bernstein, The Rift: The Exile Experience of South Africa (London, 1994).
[17] WB Yeats, The Collected Poems of WB Yeats (London and Basingstoke, 1973 [2nd ed 1950]) 204.
[18] This numbing of the emotions was also very necessary in prison, where prisoners sometimes felt that allowing themselves to hope for release and a satisfying personal life — especially when in indefinite detention — would weaken their resolve. See Suttner, Inside Apartheid’s Prison (Melbourne, New York, Pietermaritzburg, 2001).
[19] For example, N Duka, From Shantytown to Forest: The Story of Norman Duka. Ed. D Mercer and G Mercer. (Richmond BC, 1974), 58ff; T Nkobi in Bernstein, The Rift, 16-17; Ruth Mompati in Berstein, 18-20, 21-22.
[20] Interview, E Mtshali, and supplementary personal communication from J Sithole. See also L Callinicos, Oliver Tambo: Beyond the Engeli Mountains (Cape Town, 2004), for similar examples.
[21] Apart from the earlier quotation regarding sacrifices that the revolution demanded from families of the leaders, one of the most famous revolutionary statements, Che Guevara’s farewell letter to Fidel Castro in resigning from the Cuban government, includes the remark: ‘Wherever I am, I will feel the responsibility of being a Cuban revolutionary, and I shall behave as such. I am not ashamed that I leave nothing material to my children and my wife: I am happy it is that way. I ask nothing for them, as the state will provide them with enough to live on and have an education’ (Guevara, 354. Emphasis inserted). It should be noted that in this case, as is evident from utterances of the Guevara family, they bore no resentment for the decisions Che Guevara took which impacted on their lives. See quotation from Aleida Guevara below.
[22] Interview, I Maphotho. Maphoto was one of a number of South Africans who spent more than ten years in Rhodesian jails after being captured in the Wankie or Sipolilo campaigns — a part of resistance history that still needs to be adequately documented.
[23] Interview, A Qaba.
[24] Berstein, The Rift, xiv.
[25] Ibid., 20.
[26] Ibid., 21-2, and also her interview with Thuso Mashaba, at 67, 70, 71.
[27] E Sisulu, Walter and Albertina Sisulu, and Suttner, ‘A Revolutionary Love’.
[28] See DVD A South African Love Story: Walter and Albertina Sisulu. Directed by T Strasburg. (Quest Star Communication, 2004).
[29] The testimony of Guevara’s daughter Aleida, in an article on his Motor Cycle Diaries, indicates an atmosphere of love in the family environment. See ‘Riding My Father’s Motorcycle’ at http://www.cubasolidarity.dom/aboutcuba/cubaspeaks/cheguevara/041009aleida.h  tm,  where she describes him as ‘the most complete man I’ve ever met’.
[30] Guevara, Che Guevara Reader, 211-12. See similar sentiments in Liu Shao Qi, Selected Works, 137.
[31] RA Simons, All My Life and All My Strength. Ed R Suttner. (Johannesburg, 2004), 81. Italics inserted. For a similar sentiment see the poem ‘Girl of the Sandinista Front’ in M Randall, Sandino’s Daughters: Testimonies of Nicaraguan Women in Struggle. Ed. L Yanz. (London, Vancouver, Toronto, 1981) 129.
[32] Hermet, Communists in Spain, 149.
[33] G Frankel, Rivonia’s Children: Three Families and the Price of Freedom in South Africa (Johannesburg, 1999), 58. Also interview, L Dlamini, on the words used in being recruited.
[34] In Z Majodina, Exiles and Homecoming: The Untold Stories (Johannesburg, 1995), 29. See also Callinicos, Oliver Tambo, 416-7 and 429; and see comments on Hassim’s work in Chapter 6 above.
[35] R Suttner and J Cronin, Fifty Years of the Freedom Charter (Pretoria, 2006), 12; LK von den Steinen, ‘Soldiers in the Struggle: Aspects of the Experiences of mKhonto we Sizwe’s Rank and File Soldiers — The Soweto Generation and After’ (unpublished MA thesis, University of Cape Town, 1999), 207-8.
[36] Ibid., 207.
[37] Interviews, B Mbete and P Jordan.
[38] Interview, P Tshabalala, confirmed by interview, F Radebe; FG Reddy and SM Karterud, ‘"Must the Revolution Eat Its Childer?": Workinig with the African National Congress (ANC) in Exile and Following Its Return’ in MF Ettlin, JW Fidler and BD Cohen (eds), Group Process and Political Dynamics (New York, 1995), 227.
[39] S Hassim, Women’s Organizations and Democracy in South Africa: Contesting Authority (Scottsville, 2006), 88-89.
[40] Interview, N Setsubi, reports similar impressions.
[41] Interview, D Mvelase.
[42] Ibid.
[43] Reddy and Karterud, ‘"Must the Revolution Eat Its Children"’, 226. Italics inserted.

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