The Presidential Years

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We have over the past months outlined in our discussion documents the initial assessment of the election results and their implications for nation-building and reconstruction. Suffice it to emphasise that our characterisation of ourselves as an organisation representing the oppressed people and other democrats was vindicated by the results.

At the same time, serious weaknesses in a number of areas were exposed. One of them, whose significance transcends narrow interests of the ANC, is the extent to which particularly poorer sections of the Coloured and Indian communities found solace in the racist mobilisation of the National Party, and voted in a manner that demonstrated fear of their counter- parts among Africans.

For a start, this demonstrated weaknesses in our message and organisation. It also brought out in sharp relief a reality that we barely wished to admit. In class terms, it is a tragedy that working people from these communities should respond with fear to the prospect of their brothers and sisters attaining equality.

Like a predator at the smell of blood, the National Party latched onto this, and it continues to do so today, an exercise which can only widen the racial chasm. It is also a challenge to us that, while many whites recognised the legitimacy of the ANC and correctness of its positions, they chose to vote on the basis of racial sentiment.

This therefore makes the challenge of deracialising South African society one of the most important campaigns we have to undertake. Our nation shall never truly come of its own, if the racial compartments apartheid has imposed on us, both in our way of thinking and physical areas of abode, are not eradicated.

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