The African National Congress (ANC) has congratulated the United Democratic Front (UDF) on its 40th anniversary, which was celebrated on Sunday.
The ANC said the UDF was a colossal organisation on which the governing party stood proudly on its shoulders and values.
On August, 20 in 1983, a large and diverse range of progressive forces met in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town in what became one of the turning points of South Africa’s history. On this day, the UDF was formed.
At the time, the apartheid machinery of oppression, political killings, bannings, and abductions was grinding viciously throughout society. At the time the ANC was exiled and with political bannings the order of the day, a large majority of South Africans were left in distress without a voice.
The ANC said that the church, which provided light and hope for the oppressed people was under the apartheid radar, its leaders threatened, poisoned, and killed.
The brutality of the apartheid system, the ANC remembered, extended to organized labour, youth and women’s organisations, the civic movement, academics, the legal fraternity, and the student movement.
During this period, while the ANC challenged the apartheid system and called on communities and all organised formations to render apartheid South Africa ungovernable and apartheid unworkable, the UDF was formed.
“The formation of the UDF shook the apartheid establishment at its core.
“Undeniably, the UDF played an important role in the liberation struggle. In the course, promoting values of commitment and dedication to the revolutionary cause including ethical leadership, non-racialism, and non-sexism, commitment to women leadership as epitomised by the leadership of Comrade Albertina Sisulu as one of UDF’s presidents, Comrades Cheryl Carolus, Sophie De Bruyn, Frances Baard, Ray Alexander Simons and many women of stature who dared the apartheid system,” the party said.
In recognition of the UDF formed in South Africa’s Women’s Month, the ANC celebrated women who led the UDF at the difficult time of the struggle. It said women were subjected to the worst of dehumanisation and indignity and the party paid tribute to those heroes and heroines who were murdered at the brutal hands of the apartheid system and “we salute the people of South Africa for the birth and nurturing of this giant.”