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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Capture The Citadel


Broadcast to South Africa by O R Tambo on the 8th Anniversary of Umkhonto we Sizwe, 16 December 1969

Comrades-in-arms and fellow fighters in the struggle for freedom:

On December 16, 1961, a national army - Umkhonto we Sizwe - was born to resume the armed resistance of our fathers, this time against the modern oppressor and his allies. Already that army has won historic battles in the battlefield against armed enemy forces. Thus, the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe joins together three periods in our history: the first, the period of wars of resistance waged by our forefathers against the white invaders of our country. This lasted for centuries. The next began with the formation of the African National Congress which meant the birth of a new united African nation in South Africa. The third is the emergence of Umkhonto we Sizwe itself. This signified the resumption of armed struggle under modern conditions for the restoration of our land to its rightful owners.

The last eight years have seen the steady unfolding of armed guerrilla struggle throughout southern Africa. The people of Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia are at war with the racists and colonialists. FRELIMO, MPLA, ZAPU, SWAPO - these are familiar names in international and revolutionary circles. In this war our own Umkhonto we Sizwe, in alliance with our ZAPU brothers, has already performed great deeds in Zimbabwe where the soldiers of white supremacy were made to bite the dust. But the supreme challenge to our nation, to the African National Congress, to all democrats in our country and to the Umkhonto we Sizwe, indeed the challenge to all Africa and all anti-imperialists still remains; this is the capture of the citadel of white supremacy, South Africa, and its conversion into a fortress of true democracy, peace and progress for all our people and for mankind.

This is the formidable challenge in the face of which many fighters will flee the ranks of revolutionary forces and join condemned platoons of counter-revolutionaries and traitors. A challenge, in the face of which governments, once counted among militant opponents of colonialism and imperialism, will abandon their positions in the anti-imperialist front, and crawl cap in hand for crumbs under the neo-colonialist table. But the oppressed and freedom-loving masses of our country are equal to that challenge. Like their counterparts in Guinea-Bissau under the leadership of PAIGC, in Palestine, in heroic Vietnam where the FLN of South Vietnam has trounced the imperialists, in Latin America, like their counterparts in the United States and elsewhere, our people under the leadership of the ANC are now poised for large-scale guerrilla warfare against the usurpers of the peoples' power and we too shall defeat the racists and exploiters.

Our Morogoro Conference last May sought to accelerate our progress towards this armed confrontation with the enemy. It examined in detail various aspects of our struggle, it carried out a thorough review of our strategy and tactics, our programme and our policies, it called for the closing of ranks, for unity and for vigilance against splitters and wedge drivers and against conscious or unconscious enemy agents in our midst. We are called upon to work very hard and faithfully to achieve the goals set by the Morogoro Conference. We have to redouble our efforts to eliminate flaws in our work and create and maintain an increasingly more efficient machine for the prosecution of our struggle at all levels whether we operate in South Africa or from outside its borders. Already the distribution of thousands of leaflets and the broadcasts in East London, Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth under the fascist noses of Vorster and his execution squad - this has already demonstrated the determination of the ANC and our people to outclass the forces of reaction in the struggle for the seizure of power and for the liberation of our country.

To say this is not to underestimate the strength of our enemy. The South African white minority regime has vast resources which have been mobilised against our people. It has made great efforts to corrupt our natural allies in independent African States. Already some States have fallen for the blandishments of apartheid and have succumbed to its bullying and blackmail. The enemy has powerful allies in the imperialist countries such as America, Britain, Japan, France, West Germany. In no other part of the world and at no time in history has an oppressed people been confronted by such a formidable combination of imperialist Powers and fascist forces. In spite of all this, however, the enemy is headed for inevitable and ignominious defeat.

The South African Supreme Court which in the course of our political struggle has ordered the murder of so many of our people, which has sent thousands of our leaders and activists to prison, including Namibians, and which is at present sitting in farcical judgment over Winnie Mandela and others, this entirely white-skinned institution has become a notorious instrument of persecution manipulated by a clique of fascist criminals whose hands have for long been dripping with the blood of the innocent. Who shall avenge the blood and settle accounts with the murderers? Umkhonto we Sizwe, the ANC, the masses of our land, backed and supported by the united might of progressive and anti-imperialist forces.

Long Live the Revolution!

Maatla ke arona!

Amandla Ngawethu!

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