It’s an honour to be right here this night to have fun with you the birthday of a real and dedicated stalwart of our battle.
A large amongst giants, a frontrunner of our battle, who embodied the very core of what our battle represented and stood for.
Comrade Andrew’s selfless service to the trigger is a mirror by means of which our battle might be summed up: an individual whose solely concern was to safe the liberty of his folks from the cruel and brutal oppression of apartheid.
His sense of justice and his need for equality had been imbued in him by his mother and father — mother and father who instilled in him a way of obligation and accountability.
Earlier than I say extra about Comrade Andrew and his vital contribution — to not solely our battle for freedom but additionally to the constructing of our democracy, which was equally vital — it’s vital to say just a few phrases about his childhood and youth, which had been formative in moulding Comrade Andrew into who he grew to become.
Comrade Andrew got here from a big household. He had 11 brothers and sisters. His father was devoted and dedicated to his youngsters and hoped one of the best for them, regardless of the restricted alternatives out there to black folks on the time.
Though alternatives had been restricted, Comrade Andrew, from an early age ,displayed an inquiring and inquisitive thoughts and wouldn’t accept his so-called prescribed station or lot in life.
In 1934 the household moved from the farm, the place that they had been tenants, to Bethlehem, the place they lived with one in every of his brothers. It was whereas dwelling in Bethlehem that Comrade Andrew displayed his tenacious willpower and precociousness to study and develop.
One of many buddies he made whereas in Bethlehem was a boy by the title of Solomon, who would usually disappear within the mornings.
His pal’s obvious disappearance tweaked Comrade Andrew’s curiosity. He was decided to seek out out the place Solomon would disappear to.
One morning he adopted Solomon to a constructing within the township, which he entered. Comrade Andrew adopted him in and got here throughout a bunch of kids who, on seeing Comrade Andrew, burst out laughing. The woman standing on the entrance, in a commanding and robust voice, instructed the youngsters to cease laughing, which, to Comrade Andrew’s shock, they obeyed.
Not like many different youngsters of his age, his inquisitive thoughts uncovered him to the idea and concept of education, one thing he had been unfamiliar with till the second he entered the constructing. The encounter within the constructing opened an entire new vista and horizon for this keen and precocious boy.
Though he didn’t perceive what faculty meant, he wished to return as a result of he intuitively knew it was vital and meant one thing. The younger Andrew recognised that, by means of faculty, he would be capable of progress and advance. Comrade Andrew’s zest and willingness to study was vividly highlighted by his fortitude to pay his means by means of faculty and to help his mom. His dedication to help his mom confirmed his sense of obligation, accountability and dedication to others at a younger age.
On the age of 12 he grew to become a golf caddie to earn the cash to pay his means by means of faculty. His publicity to golf by means of being a caddie clearly cemented his lifelong love and fervour for the sport. He’s actually a golf fanatic.
Comrade Andrew, although, was not comfy dwelling in Bethlehem and moved to Johannesburg, the Metropolis of Gold, within the early 1940s.
At first of 1944, he enrolled at St Peter’s Faculty, Rosettenville, which was a mission faculty.
It was, nonetheless, no unusual mission faculty: it was a fountain head of political consciousness, consciousness and activism. St Peter’s was established in 1911 and it grew to become the primary secondary faculty for Africans within the Transvaal. Father Trevor Huddleston, who later served as its principal, was the very embodiment of this fountain head of political consciousness, consciousness and activism.
A dedicated social activist for justice and equality, Father Trevor Huddleston, on the Congress of the Individuals in 1955, was one of many first three leaders to be embellished with the ANC’s highest order, [the] Isitwalandwe Seaparankwe Medal, an order that Comrade Andrew grew to become a recipient of in 1992.
The faculty was run by the Anglican Order of the Neighborhood of the Resurrection, and Trevor Huddleston was one of many clergymen of the group who was based mostly at St Peter’s.
In reality, it was Trevor Huddleston who gave Hugh Masekela his first trumpet when the latter was a pupil at St Peter’s.
St Peter’s Faculty quickly grew to become often called the “Black Eton”, at which tutorial achievements had been realised.
Though Comrade Andrew obtained his junior certificates in 1946 he was unable to additional his highschool schooling due to monetary constraints. Although he was not in a position to full his schooling, his political consciousness and consciousness had been opened and activated throughout his time on the faculty.
He got here to recognise that he couldn’t stand idly by and watch his fellow African folks being brutalised by an inhumane political system. He wished to play his half and contribute to the liberation of his folks and in 1951 he joined the ANC Youth League.
In 1954 he joined the mom physique and have become a department secretary, and in 1958, till its banning in 1960, he was regional secretary of the South Western Space of Johannesburg.
After the Sharpeville Bloodbath in 1960, in addition to the banning of the PAC [Pan Africanist Congress] and the ANC, the latter determined in 1961 to maneuver away from passive resistance to armed battle. Comrade Andrew was one of many first six MK (uMkhonto weSizwe) recruits to bear navy coaching in China.
After the raid at Liliesleaf on the July 11 1963, the apartheid state determined to deliver Comrade Andrew and Elias Motsoaledi, each of whom had been arrested in June, to the Rivonia Trial.
Ten leaders stood trial for sabotage … The trial was utilized by the accused to not defend their actions, however to place the apartheid regime on trial. Comrade Nelson Mandela, when he took to the stand, offered a compelling case to justify their actions.
Throughout his assertion from the dock on April 20 1964, Comrade Nelson stated, and I quote: “Throughout my lifetime I’ve devoted myself to this battle of the African folks. I’ve fought towards white domination, and I’ve fought towards black domination. I’ve cherished the best of a democratic and free society during which all individuals reside collectively in concord and with equal alternatives. It is a perfect which I hope to reside for and to realize. But when wants be, it is a perfect for which I’m ready to die.”
This poignant and indicative assertion summed up the desire and willpower of the accused. It demonstrated the lengths they had been keen to go to realize their beliefs of a free, non-racial, democratic South Africa.
A letter from Bram Fischer, their defence lawyer, to a younger comrade who was in exile, dated 24th June 1964, poignantly remembers the next: “I have to let you know of 1 vital occasion. Some days earlier than the top of the argument in court docket, Govan [Mbeki], Walter [Sisulu] and Nelson got here to an early morning session to inform us of a choice that they had taken with regard to the sentence if it turned out to be capital punishment. They’d made up their minds that in that occasion there was no enchantment. Their line was that, ought to a demise sentence be handed upon them, the political marketing campaign round such a sentence shouldn’t be hampered by any enchantment for mercy … or by elevating any useless hopes … We attorneys had been staggered at first, however quickly realised the choice was politically unassailable. However I let you know the story not due to its political knowledge. I would like you to know what extremely courageous males you and others should be successors to.”
Bram’s letter encapsulated the whole lot that Comrade Andrew and his fellow accused articulated, represented and personified. A better calling that went past the petty notion of “I”. Andrew and his fellow accused had been the embodiment of true service and dedication to the folks and the beliefs of a “higher life” for all as enshrined within the Freedom Constitution.
To additional spotlight this, I wish to recall the next story. In the course of the trial, Patrick Mthembu, who got here from Dube village, and belonged to the identical department as Comrade Andrew had turned state witness. Throughout his testimony, he in any respect prices prevented implicating Comrade Andrew and directed his proof at Comrade Elias Motsoaledi, making him out to be the first wrongdoer.
Typical of Comrade Andrew, he raised this with the attorneys and queried as to why Comrade Elias Motsoaledi ought to bear all of the burden alone. This concern and empathy for his fellow accused tells of the solidarity, braveness and selflessness of Comrade Andrew and his era. Comrade Andrew was not keen to permit a fellow accused to develop into a sacrificial lamb at his expense.
On June 26 1964, Comrade Andrew and 7 others had been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Following the sentencing, Chief Albert Luthuli, then president normal of the ANC, said: “Within the face of the uncompromising white refusals to desert a coverage which denies the African and different oppressed South Africans their rightful heritage — freedom — nobody can blame courageous, simply males for in search of justice by way of violent strategies; nor might they be blamed in the event that they tried to create an organised pressure in an effort to in the end set up peace and racial concord. For this they’re sentenced to be shut away for lengthy years within the brutal and degrading prisons. They represented the very best in morality and ethics within the South African political battle; this morality and ethics has been sentenced to an imprisonment it might by no means survive.”
Happily for South Africa, the apartheid state’s imprisonment of Comrade Andrew and the seven others did not quell the spirit of the liberation battle. They did survive and, though they had been shut away, their indomitable spirit grew to become the irresistible pressure for change.
On October 15 1989, Comrade Andrew, along with 4 of the eight Rivonia political prisoners, had been launched after 26 years of incarceration at Pollsmoor Jail and Robben Island. Amongst these launched with Comrade Andrew had been Ahmed Kathrada, Walter Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba and Elias Motsoaledi.
As I conclude, we’re blessed that now we have in our midst this nice revolutionary of our instances and we should always all the time do not forget that his and his fellow comrades’ battle was not for posterity however to enhance the situations and lives of our folks. This we should always always remember.