South Africa: The Once-Majestic January 8 Statement By the ANC Has Become a Tawdry Jamboree


The ANC's January 8 address widens the gap between Ramaphosa's two political personalities: the Cyril of the Union Buildings and the Cyril of Luthuli House.

My editor, Branko Brkic, tries to prod me into researching and covering the ANC January 8 statement and I'm intent on hot-tailing on to the vaccine beat instead.

As a political animal, the governing party's January 8 statement has historically been a pace-setter. Now, it has become a jamboree revealing the degeneration of the ANC. It breaks my heart every year, which explains my hesitation to pull up my sleeves and get ready for it.

When the party was a liberation movement, the address set the tone for the year. Broadcast from Radio Freedom in exile, its leaders would instruct cadres outside and inside South Africa. Via a crackly broadcast, they set out the year's campaigns in methods of political intellect that are still studied avidly today. These kept chins up as the National Party tightened its hold on apartheid South Africa and increased repression.

It was a vital address to listen to, with its focus on liberation - it kept hope alive and strengthened spines for struggle. Fast-forward to the present day and it...

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