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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Freedom Fighter No. 3



There are things that the people talk about that never appear in the newspapers, and often truth must be sought in rumours that are whispered from one to another.

How many political prisoners arc there on Robben Island. Is it true that nearly a thousand are there. What kind of treatment do they get. Is it true that they are being beaten and assaulted constantly.

Why is Mr. X - Bruno Mtolo - allowed to continue betraying his former comrades - naming , making up stories, sending people to jail for years and years. Is it true that this lying, two-legged rat who only associates now with the Special Branch, has to sleep in prison every night because he fears for his life.

Is it true that police informers Mtembu and Mashilwana have left their homes because they are afraid to face their former friends. Is it true that three police informers were recently beaten so badly that they all landed up in Coronation Hospital. Is it true that a school hall in Alexandra - used for police training - was recently the target of successful sabotage.

BUT NOTE WELL - the people are not seeking revenge - but justicel  Verwoerd's courts are sentencing freedom fighters to death.  Following on a long line of peoples' martyrs, heroes like Zinakile Mkaba, Vuyisile Mini (trade union leader) and Wilson Ithayinga, have been condemned to be murdered after the Port Elizabeth sabotage trial. Wellington Bongco, named as East London's volunteer-in-chief, has also been sent to his death. They are not the first to suffer death for freedom. They will not be the last.


Southern Rhodesia's war of liberation has begun.

The white settler regime is clenching its stronghold over the African people; the African people are fighting back with the weapon of organized violence.  Like their brothers in Kenya, Algeria, Angola and South Africa, Zimbabwe freedom fighters now know that only violence can smash the white dictatorship.

Arrests, restrictions, stonings, bombings are dragging the white settlers towards another Sharpeville.  "Law and Order" Minister Clifford Dupont threatens to declare a state of emergency.  But the emergency already exists.

Perpetual Oppression

Successive white governments have banned one African nationalist party after another – first Joshua Nkomo's ANC, then his PDC, later his Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU).  Dupont has for bidden Nkomo's latest party – the People's Caretaker Council – to hold meetings.  Now he has …………….(text illegible)


Vorster says the police force "does not tolerate irregularities".  Vorster, you lie!  Every single African in this country has felt the whip of the police.  We know of the beatings-up that go on in every police station every night, the fists, the boots, the sjamboks.  We know the electric shock machines, the murders.  Why are people shot "while trying to escape".  Why do people die of "pneumonia" in jail.  Why die Looksmart Solwandle Ngudle hang himself.  Why do political prisoners suddenly get "heart attacks".  What happened to Sipho James Tyitya.  Every African knows.  The truth is that EVERY POLICE ………..(rest of text illegible)


The Apartheid Rhodesia Front kicked out Winston Field as Prime Minister because he was too soft, a slow-coach.  Their new Prime Minister, Ian Smith, is going to grab independence and oppress the people harder.  Smith's brand of independence is simply freedom to suppress the African people (who outnumber whites 12 to 1), and Africans know it.  The people are fighting back.  When Smith grabs independence, the people are going to fight even harder.  Victory is certain within a year or two.  The forces of oppression in Zimbabwe are far weaker than in South Africa, and Northern Rhodesia lies next door.  This is the settlers' last ditch – the grave!




Southern Rhodesia's Umkhonto we Sizwe continued

A hundred politicians are arrested in Salisbury every week.  Richard Mapelisa, Bamson Majengwa and two others have been sentenced to hang for petrol bombings, and a 15-year-old boy has been given 16 years' hard labour.  Again and again police turn savage police dogs onto crowds of women and children.

At Hartley, a police dog-handler battered Josiah Gunzaro to death in a baton charge against a crowd which had gathered to see Joshua Nkomo appear in court.  More than 1,500 people sang freedom songs at his funeral.

Concentration Camp

Condemned by the International Commission of Jurists for setting up a race dictatorship, the Government is sending hundreds of militants to the "rehabilitation centre" at Wha Wha – a brutal concentration camp surrounded by barbed wire.  But many escape the police and have gone underground.

An expert sabotage organisation is now at work, blasting railway lines, power plants, goods trains and telephone poles.  There have been at least 31 blasts in Bulawayo alone since November.  In March three goods trains were tossed off the track when saboteurs smashed fish plates and loosened a rail.  Most explosions are caused by army hand grenades, plastic and anti-personnel bombs.

People's War

The whole people are restless, eager for freedom.  Three thousand coal miners were on strike, thousands of school children boycotted school for weeks because the government imposed school fees, and 400 peasant women went to jail with their babies because they refused to dip their cattle.  Dip-tanks have been set on fire.

Investors are pulling their money out of the country, hundreds of whites are leaving (scared), immigration has been cut in half.

Joshua Nkomo and the Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole are still split.  Nkomo has the masses behind him; Sithole has the intellectuals.  Sithole's ZANU (which broke away from Nkomo) has not succeeded where Nkomo failed because its policy is the same old one of non-violence.  Whoever tries it, Nkomo or Sithole, non-violence is finished.  When parties are banned, meetings stopped, officials arrested, non-violence becomes unworkable.

Zimbabwe's Umkhonto we Sizwe shows the way to freedom – dynamic, organized violence!

Song of Freedom

Miriam Makeba is singing a song of freedom in America.  It accuses American and British capitalists of criticizing Verwoerd while he protects their money invested in apartheid.  Britain has R2,000 million (two billion rand) invested in South Africa, the United States has R350 million; France has R140 million.  The song goes:

"If you make money from Verwoerd, How can you tell him that he's wrong.  If you prefer to make your money, then don't sing my freedom song."

This was written by a British actress, Vanessa Redgrave.

South African freedom fighters should realize that the struggle for freedom which we are waging is not a lone one.  All over the world, peoples who are oppressed are waging resolute struggles for democracy, self-determination, and peace.  Whether they are fighting foreign oppressors, or reactionaries at home, the struggle is the same – all over the world, the people are standing up, guns in hands, and driving the oppressors out.

The brave Vietnamese people are waging their war of independence.  First, against the Japanese, then against the French colonialists and now against their successors, the Americans.  North Vietnam drove the French out of the territory in 1954.  The colonialists scuttled off, tails between their legs, and the Americans moved in and illegally tried to occupy South Vietnam.

Viet Cong Fights Back

But their hopes for an easy victory were smashed when the valiant South Vietnamese people, led by the Viet Cong National Liberation Front fought back.  The stooge government set up to help the imperialists floundered in the face of the people's fury, and the patriotic Viet Cong steadily gained ground.  It has gone on gaining ground, in spite of the fact that the Americans are pouring in guns, men, and "aid" worth 5 million dollars PER DAY!


The US imperialists and their South Vietnamese stooges are committing outrageous atrocities against the Vietnamese people.  Captured Viet Cong soldiers are flogged, bayoneted and burnt, defenceless women and children gunned down by fascist government forces.  Peasants are herded into "strategic hamlets" – in other words, concentration camps – at night, and led out to work in the fields by day under the bayonets of reactionary soliders.

But the peasants sneak out at night and defect to the patriotic forces, bringing guns and food with them.  They give the Viet Cong vital information about the movements of government troops, their strength and their morals.  As the Chinese people's leader Mao Tse-Tung has sais, "The guerilla is the fish, and the peasantry is the water in which he swims".  Without the support of the peasants, the most down-trodden section of the people, the guerilla is helpless; but with their support, he is assured of victory.

Our Struggle Too

The imperialists are slowly being driven back into the larger city centres, while the Viet Cong – the National Liberation Front – occupies more and more of the country's territory.  It will not be long before the Vietnamese people are rewarded for their long and courageous struggle.  Vietnam will be free!

The strength of the Vietnamese people is our strength, too!



The Viet Cong has 300,000 members.  Each member is incorporated in a tightly-knit, interlocking cell system.  The party's hard core are 4,000 agents working in groups of four or five who carry the message of freedom throughout the land.  Regional committees direct the day-to-day campaigns.

Ø. Guerilla war is political war.  Its aim must always be clear – victory for the people.  Land, freedom, bread.

Ø. Guerilla war is the people's war.  Guerillas live among the people; the people man the liberation army, feed it, give information, help it, hide it.

Ø. Guerillas never fight when they are weak.  They only fight when they are strong and the enemy is weak.  They concentrate their strength where the enemy is weakest, and strike hard.  Mao Tse-Tung said:

. "When the enemy advances, we retreat!   When the enemy halts, we trouble them.

. When the enemy tries to avoid fighting, we attack.

. When the enemy retreats, we pursue!"

Ø. Guerillas must try to arm themselves from the enemy.  When an oppressor is killed, capture his weapons.

Ø. Guerilla war has three stages.  First, small companies of guerillas fight independently.  The enemy is strong, so the guerillas choose their battles carefully.  Second, small guerilla companies form up into battalion-sized units.  Now the guerillas are stronger; they can stand and fight the enemy sometimes and even pick fights.  Third, the guerilla battalions are formed into a massive army.  Now they are strong enough to fight the enemy on his own ground.  This is the last stage.  They smash the enemy once and for all.

Ø. Guerillas must form an alternative government in the liberated areas.  Peasants must get land, children must be educated, people's courts must try traitors.  In South Vietnam, the Viet cong even has its own radio station, its own stamps, its own money currency.




The mighty Zulu people have shouted with silence.  By refusing to welcome the Bantu Authorities System "voluntarily", they have told Verwoerd plainly that they refuse to accept it unless forced to.

Chief Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi, diligent spokesman of his people, says:  "We have never opposed the Bantu Authorities system – but we have never accepted degrading administration, and the chiefs support the people".


Many times Bantu Commissioners have abused Chief Buthelezi, leader of the powerful Buthelezi tribe of Mahlabatini.  The Special Branch have threatened to depose him as chief, as the Government once dismissed Chief Albert Luthuli.  Since then, the Government has brought the warning even closer home.  Popular Chief Bhekifa Zungu, who opposed aspects of the Bantu Authorities System, was kicked out of his heritage in March by a Bantu Commissioner.  Despite what they say about the "traditional way of life" Verwoerd and his cronies only support chieftainship when it suits them.  And it suits them only when stooge chiefs support the Government.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to theThis resource is hosted by the site.