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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Broadcast on ANC Radio by W. M. Sisulu

26 June 1963

Sons and Daughters of Africa:

I speak to you from somewhere in South Africa.

I have not left the country.

I do not plan to leave.

Many of our leaders of the African National Congress have gone underground. This is to keep the organisation in action; to preserve the leadership; to keep the freedom fight going. Never has the country, and our people, needed leadership as they do now, in this hour of crisis.

Our house is on fire.

It is the duty of the people of our land - every man and every woman - to rally behind our leaders. There is no time to stand and watch. Thousands are in jail including our dynamic Nelson Mandela. Many are banished to remote parts of the country. Robben Island is a giant concentration camp for political prisoners. Men and women, including my wife, rot in cells under Vorster's vicious laws to imprison without trial. Men wait in the death cells to be hanged. Men die for freedom.

South Africa is in a permanent state of emergency. Any policeman may arrest any South African - and need not bring him to trial. People may be hanged for appealing to the United Nations to intervene. Under the Bantu Laws Amendment Bill, the pass laws will turn children into orphans, wives into widows, men into slaves. We must intensify the attack on the pass laws. We must fight against the removal of the Africans from the Western Cape. We must reject once and for all times, the Bantustan fraud. No act of Government must go unchallenged. The struggle must never waver. We the African National Congress will lead with new methods of struggle. The African people know that their unity is vital. Only by united action can we overthrow this Government. We call on all our people to unite and struggle. Workers and peasants; teachers and students; Ministers of Religion and all Churches. We call upon all our people, of whatever shade of opinion. We say: - The hour has come for us to stand together. This is the only way to freedom. Nothing short of unity will bring the people their freedom. We warn the Government that drastic laws will not stop our struggle for liberation. Throughout the ages men have sacrificed - they have given their lives for their ideals. And we are also determined to surrender our lives for our freedom.

In the face of violence, men struggling for freedom have had to meet violence with violence. How can it be otherwise in South Africa? Changes must come. Changes for the better, but not without sacrifice. Your sacrifice. My sacrifice.

We face tremendous odds. We know that. But our unity, our determination, our sacrifice, our organisation are our weapons. We must succeed! We will succeed!


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