Durban – Charlotte Maxeke’s commemoration celebrations have been used as a platform for ANC rivals President Cyril Ramaphosa and Secretary General Ace Magashule to garner support and elevate their position in the party.
Maxeke would have turned 150 this week and with the ANC declaring 2021 as ‘the year of unity, renewal and reconstruction in the year of Charlotte Maxeke’, several activities have taken place across the country.
The celebrations around Maxeke’s life come at a time when there are deep divisions within the ANC with allegations that a dissident party called the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) faction is emerging.
The party also recently took a strong stand against corruption among its members by activating a resolution that any member facing serious charges or allegations of crime and corruption must step down or face suspension.
Ramaphosa led the celebrations at Alice de Maxeke’s birthplace in the Eastern Cape where he preached unity.
He called on the ANC Youth League to help unite the party as it faces deep divisions and serious fallout at the end of the month, when many members must step down or face a suspension.
“If we don’t unite, we will fall.
“The Youth League will work with us to make sure we unite the ANC.
“There is no other way but to unite the ANC, otherwise the ANC will continue to collapse,” Ramaphosa said.
“We must address the issue of corruption within the ANC so that our people can regain their confidence in the ANC.
“I can see that almost all of you love the ANC, but you will like the ANC more if you see the ANC taking action against corruption and those who participate in corruption,” Ramaphosa said.
While Ramaphosa led the celebrations in the Eastern Cape, Magashule was in Gauteng where he visited Maxeke’s home in Kliptown, then addressed a congregation at Nancefield Cemetery where Maxeke was buried in 1939.
In his speech, Magashule strongly defended the controversial RET rhetoric that the economy should be in the hands of Africans and that “this dream should be realized today and not tomorrow”.
He called on the ANC Women’s League and religious leaders to play a role in the RET.
“South Africa must look to the best and the women leaders in this country – the Women’s League – can play this important role in changing the lives of our people.
“Church leaders can still play this role in ensuring that our people now live in a better South Africa,” he said.
Magashule said that the dream Nelson Mandela and even Maxeke had for South Africa was to get everyone out of abject poverty.
“This dream must be realized and it cannot take many years.
“It must be a dream come true today and not tomorrow,” he said.
Maxeke was honored as a religious leader and social and political activist who was the first black woman to graduate from college in South Africa with a Bachelor of Science degree from Wilberforce University in Ohio in 1901.
She was also the first black African woman to graduate from an American university.
In a separate event where Magashule introduced ANCYL’s new national task force – deployed to resurrect the youth league – he avoided questions of whether he intended to step down or challenge a party resolution.
Celebrations around Charlotte Maxeke’s life come at a time when there are deep divisions within the ANC
SourceCelebrations around Charlotte Maxeke’s life come at a time when there are deep divisions within the ANC