INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
SHELLEY BEACH : THURSDAY JULY 19, 2001
I know of the important role that the President - in terms of our Constitution - is supposed to play in matters of the Youth Brigade and the Women's Brigade. I must, however, state to you that on account of the demands on my time, it becomes very difficult for me to adjust the dates on which I am expected to speak, when these have not been discussed with me before they are cast in stone. I have been saying this over and over again, but somehow members of the Party continue to expect me to comply once dates are fixed. This is not a complaint, but merely an appeal that because there are such obvious demands on my time from so many levels, that my plea be heeded concerning prior consultation.
It is a great pleasure for me to once again be amongst the youth of the IFP and the youth of South Africa. I have always believed that the youth has an important role to play in the making of the future of our country. I have always believed that its role is not that of merely standing by, waiting until they grow up to full maturity, at which time the baton of responsibility and leadership is only then passed into their hands by the prior generation. I have always believed that young generations work side by side with older ones in the making of history and in sharing the responsibility of present-day society. I have always held this belief which has inspired me throughout my life. However, at this juncture I feel that this belief of mine has come to maturity, more than ever before. There can be no success for any political Party unless the youth play the pivotal role which only they can play in politics. I am not trying to foist this responsibility on our youth.
Now, more than ever before, it becomes evident that each generation of South Africans, irrespective of their age, has an equally important role to play. Each one has a leadership role to play within its sphere of activities, interests and responsibilities. The youth has the particular responsibility of dealing with its own problems, wants and aspirations. Our society is becoming increasingly less paternalist and our youth is becoming increasingly more responsible, aware and demanding. In this context, the youth cannot expect a solution to its problems and the fulfilment of its aspirations, to come exclusively from what the older generations can do for them. To a significant extent it must come from what the youth can do for itself, through itself and by itself. The political, social and cultural work of our Youth Brigade must take cognisance of and reflect on this stage of historical circumstances.
As the youth become protagonists in our society, rather than mere spectators, it becomes incumbent on young political leaders to identify with clarity the role that the youth is to perform on such an important stage. This greater scope for action should be used to become aware of the contribution that the youth can provide, and not merely to break away from the constraints of society and the limits of reality. We need to draw a clear difference between freedom and licence and realise that that which characterises the essence of freedom is, indeed, personal responsibility. The key to young people becoming protagonists in the political and social world, is their capacity to become increasingly more responsible. The future belongs to responsible young people. The mission of the IFP Youth Brigade should be that of promoting personal responsibility amongst young people, isolating and rejecting those cultures, sub-cultures and role models which invite and promote irresponsibility. The youth must say no to crime, no to drugs, no to corruption and no to violence. Without that rejection of all these evils, there is no future for us as a Nation.
Being responsible means being able to appreciate the significance of one’s actions and to assess the consequences and implications of what is done, said and endeavoured. The whole of mankind is on a constant path of growth from the infancy of our ancestors to the adulthood of our posterity. The mystery of this collective process of growth through subsequent generations is encapsulated in the mystery of individual growth from childhood to maturity. Each of you is responsible for determining the success or failure of this process. As is the case for the destinies of peoples, nations and countries, the key to this success rests in the full measure of appreciation of the notion of responsibility.
A new universe of information and knowledge is opening before the young generation of today. You are confronted with horizons which were never available to those of my generation and to your parents. You have options and possibilities which were unthinkable for those of us who grew up and lived under the oppression and within the constraints of apartheid. You also have the option of becoming citizens of a global village and choosing whether your personal, intellectual frames of reference should be limited by the horizon of your immediate community, or should be reached into that which can be learned from all corners of the world. Whoever has access to the Internet can now absorb the knowledge, experience and information of the whole of mankind which, for the first time, has now become available to any fingertips capable of dancing on a computer’s keyboard.
However, this increased range of options also creates a lack of certainty and unprecedented anxiety. No-one is now imposing role models on you and it is for you to select and choose the one you prefer. In doing so you can make the right choice, or the wrong choice. You can choose role models which will help you to play an important role in society and to fulfil your own potential for growth, or you may choose a role model which leads you to dissipate your life and waste the opportunities which you have. One single act of crime can destroy a life. One single wrong turn can imprison you forever in the sub-cultures of drugs and substance dependency. Only your sense of responsibility can lead you to identify the correct role model.
These substances are today the sources of all serious crimes in our society, from theft and robbery to murder and rape. Greed makes certain adults destroy the lives of our youth through initiating them into crime with drugs. They do this only to get rich, without caring about the consequences of their actions. They do not care about destroying you as the flower of our Nation, as long as they can make a quick buck. It is in all these matters that a wrong decision, such as falling for the blandishments of drug peddlers, can decide your future.
Young people often do not realise the fundamental importance of the early decisions which each of us makes during the magic and heroic age of our puberty. It is one of life’s great mysteries and often tragedies that it is indeed the experience of the youth which shapes the future of mankind, and that our most fundamental decisions are taken at a time when we have the least capacity to assess their implications and act without knowing all the facts and mastering the required wisdom. To a great extent Wordsworth’s incisive line that "the child is the father of the man" has now greater actuality than ever before.
It is essential that each of you builds upon your personal sense of responsibility to exercise the power you have in shaping your future self into the adult which you will become. You must learn personal responsibility through study, commitment to your family and work in your communities. However, you must also learn personal responsibility through your play, friendships and personal interactions. For this reason, I hope that all of you have used the opportunity of this Winter Camp not only to discuss the fundamental issues of South African politics, but also to learn to become better individuals and better members of your communities. This aspect of your personal growth is becoming increasingly more inextricable from the commitment which young people can and must make in politics. It is so anywhere throughout South Africa, but especially so in the IFP. In fact, issues such as your contribution to the struggle of the spreading of HIV/AIDS, clearly points out how personal responsibility and political commitment go hand in hand.
We can only fight HIV/AIDS by being responsible and learning and propagating the hard facts of this epidemic. The fight against HIV/AIDS can be won if people learn more about sexuality and speak more openly about sexual matters whilst utilising the necessary precautions in your sexual life, including the use of condoms and loyalty to one’s partner. This responsibility must be shared on an equal footing by men and women alike. This is a great opportunity to begin internalising and practising the notion that women are indeed equal members of our communities, and not subordinate ones. Both men and women bear the responsibility of bringing about the liberation of women from oppressive cultural paradigms and the prejudices which see them as subordinate or inferior or in any way less capable members of our communities. We must fulfil the constitutional promise of equality between men and women, not only in the application of the law, but first and foremost in the attitude of our people.
It is the role of the youth and of each subsequent new generation to change and improve upon entrenched bad attitudes and old habits. It is your role of protagonists of the future to develop today a new attitude in terms of which you interact with one another. The new culture of the future begins here and now on how you work together, play together and respect one another. The parity amongst sexes begins here and now, depending on the measure of recognition and respect that each young man gives to each young woman and on the measure of courage and determination that each young woman exerts in putting forward the statement that women are the backbone of our communities and should be respected on the same level as men and entitled to similar responsibilities. This is also a struggle which can only be won through our commitment to the notion of personal responsibility.
Similarly, the struggle against crime can be won here and now if people reject crime of any type from our demeanour and daily life. We must dedicate ourselves to the rule of law, for the rule of law is the only way of overcoming the rule of man or the reign of violence and fear. There is just no alternative to the rule of law, even when one feels that certain laws are too harsh or too limiting. There are no exceptions to the rule of law, and we must promote the realisation that crime is crime, no matter how small, no matter how ostensibly justified or excused. Stealing is stealing, even if one steals stationery from a school or toilet paper from a public toilet. Violence is violence, even if it is verbal abuse or a simple punch. We must stop the reign of fear and terror in our communities. The youth must turn this climate around by committing itself to tolerating no crime, accepting no criminal, excusing no criminal action, harbouring no fugitive, aiding no perpetrator, and closing its eyes to no wrong doing. The youth must speak up against crime and in so doing, give rise to a new wave of national consciousness which turns around the present mind-set of our people and brings about the moral regeneration of our communities.
As members of the Inkatha Freedom Party, you are also to join hands in our Party’s most important struggle, which is the struggle for development, development and development. Within the sphere of your own protagonism, there is plenty of space for each of you to provide your contribution to this struggle. During our Annual General Conference two weeks ago we stressed that development has many facets and can take place at all levels. One of the most important facets of development is that of individual growth, training and maturity. We must improve on the quality of human resources of our communities if we wish South Africa to succeed and if we are to promote development from the ground up. Each of you can become an engine of development if you choose to grow through learning, learning and learning. In order to learn, you must study, study and study. Only through study will you be able to improve your individual social and economic conditions and help the country to grow and prosper. You must study at school, but not only at school. You must learn wherever the opportunity is offered to you, seeking what you can learn from other people, from books and through the Internet.
One of the most important aspects of your learning is your being open to learning what your parents and grandparents are able to teach you. I plead with you not to make the most dramatic mistake made by many generations before you who believed that because operating in a different historical context than the one of their fathers and grandfathers, they had nothing to learn from their prior generations. I plead with you not to make such a mistake. It is true that the world is changing at a rate never experienced before, but it is equally true that the fundamental knowledge about the meaning and nature of life and human nature, is not liable to change. Fundamental values do not change. The fundamental knowledge of life and man does not change. The tragedy of life, the wonder of life, the ethos and pathos of life, do not change.
These are the most important tools for you to acquire to support your psychological, emotional and intellectual growth. You can acquire them through intense emotional, psychological and intellectual dialogue with your elders. Your striving towards finding your own role in a rapidly changing world must never break down the intense channel of dialogue which must unite all of you with your elders and each generation with its predecessors. A most essential aspect in ensuring that such dialogue subsists in a rich form, is that of maintaining, not only within your demeanour, but first and foremost in your hearts and minds, a sincere respect for those who have already walked the difficult and uphill path on which you are just embarking on your life’s journey. Do not ever disregard the knowledge of your elders which is that body of true knowledge that allows you to pursue other subjects that are foundational to your pursuing any other subject. The degeneration in the moral fibre of our people is the foundation of all the crime and the lawlessness that prevail everywhere in our country. During the time of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government, we instituted citizenship lessons which were called Ubuntu-Botho classes.
The struggle for development begins in your families, schools and communities. The Youth Brigade has a special responsibility to bring this struggle forward. In each community there are projects which promote development, which the Youth Brigade can undertake or promote in its own name. In each community there are existing projects for development to which the Youth Brigade may contribute. Do not think that any project is too small to make a difference. Any project is important, no matter how small. Every project, no matter how small, gives an example and has the capacity to promote our revolution of goodwill by enticing others to follow the example.
Even projects aimed at keeping roads clean, assisting the elderly or volunteering for other forms of community services under the banner of the IFP, are extremely importing in promoting our revolution of goodwill. They are essential to project the image of our Party with the right connotations and denotations. By participating in development projects, our youth can show through deeds and not words, our leadership of integrity and what the IFP stands for. Always remember that we as a Party believe in self-help and self-reliance as the foundation of everything that we do. Even at the height of apartheid, our Party never promised our members that our political freedom would mean that this country of ours would flow with milk and honey. I in fact stressed that the real struggle for our full freedom would follow our political emancipation. We had no illusions about this fact. I described the period after our political emancipation as the beginning of our more difficult struggle against our people's poverty.
The struggle for development is also an important tool for the political mobilisation of the youth. It enables the youth of the IFP to become leaders amongst the youth and to organise other young people who may be less politically aware or politically motivated. Do not go to others merely asking them to support the IFP. Go to them asking them to join hands with you to improve on problems around them. We need to mobilise young people, not on the basis of abstract political notions or philosophical concepts, but by showing that through the IFP young people can work to bring about meritorious projects in matters of their own concern and of their own choosing. This is particularly important in schools and in our teaching institutions, for the type of politics that the IFP brings about should be characterised by a constructive approach which assists the youth in coping with the challenges of education. IFP youth must take responsibility for the shortcomings of the education system and the insufficiency in the logistical, administrative and financial capacities of our schools, by ensuring that at any given time our youth is part of the solution and not part of the problem. By doing so, the Youth Brigade will show in practice what we have always meant when we preached our culture of self-help and self-reliance.
Our recent Annual General Conference has adopted an amended Constitution for our Party which has given much greater operational autonomy to the Youth Brigade where it counts the most, which is at branch level and in respect of concrete political activities. This is a credit note that our Party is giving to the Youth Brigade, in the hope that the Youth Brigade will prove its creditworthiness and will produce tangible political benefits for our Party. You are given the licence to go ahead with projects of political mobilisation for as long as you act in close co-ordination and harmony with the relevant structures of the Party, especially branches. In doing so, you are given the opportunity of becoming a true political avant-garde. You will rise to this difficult challenge only if all your actions are inspired by a profound sense of personal and collegial responsibility and discipline.
I wish to make it very clear that our Constitution has also strengthened the disciplinary aspects of our Party. While you are given greater latitude, we will expect you to exercise it with greater discipline and responsibility. I wish to unleash the political forces of the Youth Brigade, but I will not tolerate irresponsible behaviour. I have always believed in the youth and will continue to do so, no matter how old I become, as I feel I have never outgrown my young radical and enthusiastic self of half a century ago. I want the youth to become the fast legs on which our Party will swiftly march towards its electoral victory of 2004. The demographics of our country are such that it is clear that those who are today between the ages of 16 and 35 will have the numbers and the power to elect a new government and a new President in 2004 and determine their action of government.
I want you to go to the youth of South Africa to bring to it the message that South Africa needs the IFP. I want you to spread the gospel and tell the youth of South Africa that unless we turn the country around, you will not have the type of future which South Africa can promise for you and your children. This is the time in which you can be real protagonists in turning the country around and creating in 2004 a watershed event which will tell future generations that we reached an impasse but we turned the country around and finally provided it with a leadership of integrity which it so desperately needs.
I want you to familiarise yourselves with the documentation of our last Annual General Conference, including my address to it. I want you to arm yourselves with the policies of the IFP and the enthusiasm of the revolution of goodwill and spread the word amongst all the youth of South Africa that the time has come to give the country a new beginning. We shall free the country from the seizure of crime. We shall free the country from the enslavement of poverty and unemployment. We shall free the country from the cancer of social unrest. We shall free the country to finally enable it to fulfil its God-given potential and firmly embark on the hard and uphill path towards economic prosperity and social stability. All this we can and will do if we have the courage of our beliefs and if we blindly trust that with the help of God, we shall be able to turn the country around in 2004. If we believe it, we can make others believe it. If enough people of goodwill believe it, it can become a reality, for politics is the only field of life where our common beliefs in a better future can indeed forge a better reality. I urge the youth to become true believers in our Party and to teach some of our older members, who are now becoming complacent and tired, that the struggle is indeed not finished.
The struggle is still ahead and belongs to those who have the courage to believe and wish to believe. I rely on the youth. I shall walk with the youth. I will count on the youth to make South Africa a better place, not for me or for those of my generation but, indeed, for each of you. I want your courage and determination to walk together towards the rendezvous of history in three years so that when in the decades to come, some of you stand on this podium speaking to your children’s generation, you will be able to recall to them that it was in the year 2001 that you stood firmly behind Mangosuthu Buthelezi to embark on an historical march to change the country around. Let us believe it and together let us do it. I trust the youth because I feel that the IFP youth is the heir of a long legacy of responsibility. Merge your enthusiasm with your sense of responsibility and together we will bring integrity and development to South Africa.
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