On the 60th anniversary of the African Communist journal, President Cyril Ramaphosa and secretary-general of the South African Communist Party (SACP) Blade Ndzimande reflected on the importance the publication holds for South Africa.
As part of the event, “60 years of writing and fighting”, the two leaders addressed members of the public, office bearers and media on the SACP quarterly journal on Monday at Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia.
The publication shaped ideologies and lead the revolution, Ramaphosa said, carving a path that would assist in leading South Africa through to democracy.
“We genuinely recognise the immense historic contribution that the African Communist made in the idealisation of our struggle against apartheid.
“We are here to celebrate an institution as much as it is a publication,” Ramaphosa said.
He attributed the success of the publication to the activists behind it, saying: “It’s creation and success over the six decades depended entirely on the dedication as well as the hard work of some of our most under-celebrated comrades…
“By celebrating this anniversary, we are therefore paying tribute to countless revolutionaries of our movement who made the African Communist possible,” he said.
While the publication played an integral role in South African history, not so long ago carrying the book meant imprisonment, torture and sometimes even death, Ramaphosa pointed out.
“The distributors were, in many ways, right in the trenches because they were executing possibly the most dangerous aspect of the work because a number of them did get arrested,” he said
He added: “Today, I think, we must pause for a while and pay tribute to their extraordinary spirit as well as conviction that made them unflinching in their desire to launch the African Communist in 1959.”
Despite these dangers, the very first edition of the publication was not unclear in its goal.
“This magazine, the African Communist, has been started by a group of Marxists/Leninists in Africa to defend and spread the inspiring and liberating ideas of communism in our great continent… It is being produced in conditions of great difficulty and danger, nevertheless, we mean to go on publishing it,” Ramaphosa read out.
The robust debate and “crucible of ideas” that the publication spurred on has today conscientised many who played a role in shaping policy, Ramaphosa said.
“It is our legitimate expectation that the African Communist will continue to place itself at the service of our movement to propagate our idea of non-racialism and other morally compelling ideas as it successfully did for the past 60 years,” Ramaphosa said.