After Mandela [part 2]

Editorial: What Japan Can Do

By Brian Covert

In its “vision” plan for 1991, the African National Congress lists a number of specific, concrete measures that anti-apartheid activists in Japan can take to help bring down the final curtain on apartheid and help build the foundation for a non-racialistic, non-sexist South Africa.

Toward that end, here’s a summarized version of what Japan can do in 1991:

(1) Continue to pressure future changes through various kinds of sanctions;

(2) Focus mass action around the demands for an “interim government,” the creation of a constituent assembly via a one-person/one-vote election, and the devising of a new apartheid-free constitution;

(3) Campaign for the unconditional release of all political prisoners, the return of exiles to South Africa, and a halt to police and vigilante violence;

RAISE BADLY NEED FUNDS! A critical part of the transformation to a new South Africa will be rebuilding the Black communities and infrastructures destroyed by decades upon decades of apartheid rule;

(5) Distribute those funds — in other words, put them to good use via such projects as:

—Education for African children through money and books, in support of the ANC’s “Mass Education Now” program

—Health-care facilities, especially in the rural areas

—Practical manpower job-training in all fields

—Practical skills for women, including “food production, sewing and literacy campaigns”

—Food production and other self-help projects now underway in the countryside of South Africa

—Sustainable self-help projects for released political prisoners and returning exiles

(6) And continue to support — financially and morally — the Tokyo office of the African National Congress under the direction of Comrade Jerry Matsila.

So there they are — the concrete steps we can take: Let us all begin
now to assist the ANC, and by extension the African majority, in its final push to freedom and democracy.

Perhaps the ANC put it best in a sobering conclusion to its vision plan for the year: “If the people of South Africa are to realize their proclamation of 1991 as the ‘Year of Mass Action for the Transfer of Power to the People’, the support of the overwhelming majority of the Japanese is vital. The tasks ahead are enormous, but with [such] support the people of South Africa will end 1991 with more optimism for the future.”