Don't burn books you don't agree with, ANC vets urge youth
JOHANNESBURG - The ANC Veterans League has condemned with the contempt it deserves the actions of individuals who disrupted the launch of Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s web of capture.
Protesters stormed the Johannesburg bookshop on Tuesday and ripped pages from the book which they threw around before security at Sandton Exclusive Books escorted them out, veterans league president Snuki Zikalala said in a statement on Sunday.
The ANC Veterans League is comprised of "tried and tested members of the ANC, [who] serve as the custodian of the ANC values, principles, and policies".
Zikalala said this atrocious behaviour occurred just prior to the launch of the Oliver Tambo School of Leadership.
To quote ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, the school would produce "cadres who understand the fundamental values and principles of our movement, cadres who reject all forms of intolerance and intimidation".
Ramaphosa had unambiguously distanced the ANC from the outrageous disruption of the launch, which was not what the ANC stood for, and made it crystal clear that the school would produce "cadres who, like all of us, condemn in no uncertain terms, the actions of those who disrupted a book launch in Johannesburg a few days ago and who call for books to be burned”.
"As the ANC Veterans League we call on young people to desist from burning or encouraging others to burn books that they do not agree with. We remind young people of the burning of books associated with the fascism and genocide of the 2nd World War. We urge young people to read books, critique books, write books. We urge young people to desist from thuggery and win their arguments by the strength and clarity of their ideas," Zikalala said.
It was important that young people valued education and knowledge and actively involved themselves in research, always engaging with the uncomfortable truth.
The Oliver Tambo School of Leadership would definitely inculcate the culture of research, reading, and appreciation of the immense sacrifices made by the majority of the people to usher in democracy.
All ANC cadres, starting from the elected leaders, would be compelled to spend some time at the school of leadership to acquire knowledge about the rich history of the struggle and "how we should defend our democracy", he said.
Former cabinet minister Pallo Jordan had reminded those who attended the launch that the founding members of the ANC were editors and writers “our first SG, Sol Plaatje, wrote in both English and Setswana. For decades his book Native Life in South Africa was unavailable in South Africa because publishers would not touch it”.
"We must not forget that newspapers, editors, and journalists who exposed the brutality of apartheid were banned by the racist regime. We must not forget that our people laid down their lives for the freedom of expression that is enshrined in our Constitution.
"The ANC Veterans League calls on young people to engage in the battle of ideas, to always research and to seek the truth. The future is in the hands of young people, but has to be built on a solid foundation based on research, knowledge, and of defending our constitutional values," Zikalala said.
African News Agency (ANA)