This article is written to answer the above question and put an end to it forever!!! I'll do this by using simple logic, that's all I'm going to use. I am a lover of Reggae music. It is a music that resonates with me. So, when Dancehall began to appear commercially in the U.S. market, it was new to me. So my approach to answering this question is not as a Jamaican but as a lover of the music and a Panaf-America (a Pan Afrikanist born in America) Let's start this discussion by answering some questions and giving a little history, and studying musical structures or genres.
Is Ska R&B music? Ska is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s, and combined elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. During WWII, the U.S. military negotiated establishing military bases in the British controlled Caribbean (misnomered the West Indies) as part of Destroyers for Bases deal that assisted the United Kingdom's war efforts prior to the U.S.'s actual entry into the war. U.S. soldiers began to play the R&B music known as jump blues, which featured such artist as Fats Domino and Louis Jordan. This musical novelty gained a Jamaican audience who after the war purchased radios and demand more of this type of music. Entrepreneurs like Prince Buster, Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, and Duke Reid formed sound systems to maximize this opportunity. But as jump blues and more traditional R&B began to ebb in popularity in the U.S. and abroad, Jamaican artists began recording their own version of the genres, which lead to the creation of a new musical genre, called Ska. Ska featured a walking bass line accented with rhythms on the upbeat. The style was composed of four triplets bars characterized by a guitar chop on the off beat - known as an upstroke or skank - with horns taking the lead and often following the off beat skank and piano emphasizing the bass line and, again, playing the skank. The drums kept 4/4 time and the bass drum was accented on the 3rd beat of each 4-triplet phrase. The snare would play side stick and accent the third beat of each 4-triplet phrase. The upstroke sound can also be found in other Caribbean forms of music, such as mento and calypso. Therefore Ska which became the precursor to Rocksteady and Reggae, was not simply an American clone but a new genre that drew from its own musical past. So to answer the question, is Ska R&B music, the answer is no.
Is Rocksteady Ska? Rocksteady is a music genre that originated in Jamaica around 1966, which was preceded by Ska and was the precursor to Reggae. It relied on R&B, jazz elements like Ska, but unlike Ska added Afrikan and Latin American drumming, as well as elements from other musical genres. As the tempo slowed from Ska to Rocksteady, musical changes accompanied it. The guitar and piano players began to experiment with occasional accents around the basic offbeat pattern. Chording instruments tended to play repeated rhythmic patterns which led to simpler modal chord progressions. (It had been argued that the development of modal jazz in the late 1950s and early 1960s influenced the choice of Jamaican players to explore simpler modal chord patterns.) Also, the slowing down of the tempo allowed bass players to play more broken, syncopated lines, playing a counterpoint to the repetitive rhythm of the guitar and keyboards, which eventually replaced the walking patterns of Ska. These new patterns fit very well with the simpler modal chord progressions. Another factor that helped to establish Rocksteady as its own genre was the downsizing of bands. Smaller bands led to a much larger focus on the bass line in general, which eventually became one of the most recognizable characteristics of Jamaican music. In Rocksteady, the lead guitar often doubles the bass line. Rocksteady horns favored repeated rhythmic patterns or simply sitting out all together until the lead line, whereas in Ska horns spent much of the song playing the offbeats with the guitar and piano.
But one of the most distinguishing features of Rocksteady was the "one drop" drum beat, characterized by a heavy accent on the second and fourth beat of every bar (or the third beat if you count in double time), played by the bass drum and the snare together. The snare drum often plays a side stick "click" rather that a full snare hit; an influence from Latin music. The one drop drum was a significant break from American style drumming. So to answer the question was Rocksteady Ska, I think we have identified enough unique and distinguishing characteristics that demonstrate its merit as a new genre.
Is Reggae Rocksteady? Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. Though today the term Reggae is broadly used to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, it is actually a unique genre that developed from Ska and Rocksteady. The distinction between Reggae and Rocksteady are perhaps the slightest. The major differences being a slower tempo, lyrical content, as Reggae tends to focus more on lyrics based on black consciousness, Rastafari (though some Rocksteady songs did too), and the effects of poverty. Rocksteady still relying on its American influences tended to focus on Love themes.) Musically is where Reggae make its distinguishing contribution. It is the introduction of the "double skank" guitar strokes (sometimes played by piano) on the offbeat and the organ shuffle that establishes Reggae as a genre. I have offered four stylistic changes that establish Reggae as its own genre: slower tempo, lyrical content, the skank, and organ shuffle.
Is Dancehall Reggae? Dancehall is a often considered a sub-genre of Reggae. It started out in the 80s, partly linked to the development of digital music. However, there's a significant difference between the two, enough so, that Dancehall constitutes its own genre. The differences are Dancehall has a faster tempo, is less musical, less melodic, and most important, it lacks the lyrical content of Reggae. Musically, it lacks the structural elements of Reggae as well. Missing in addition to the lyrical content are both the skank and organ shuffle. And how can you have Reggae without the drumming elements, especially the one drop, that Reggae inherited from Rocksteady. I would think, if anything that Dancehall can be considered more a part of Rocksteady than Reggae since it shares some of Rocksteady's affiliation with rude boys/bad boys and lyrically, it has content that can be loosely, via the "Rude boy" songs, be identified with “slackness.” But in truth, Contemporary Dancehall should be identified with Rap music. It shares more with that genre than it does with Reggae. But in the end we have to recognize that Dancehall is different from Rap and Reggae--it is its own genre. And that it is exactly what is says it is– music made for dancing in a club (hall). Like its American cousin or twin, Rap, it is a digitally produced music that is often derogatory, violent, and misogynistic. So to call Dancehall Reggae, is just as ridiculous as calling Rap music R&B. Dancehall like Reggae is Jamaican music, just as Rap like R&B is American music, but to make them one and the same is illogical, idiocy even.
Habari Gani: Umoja
Kwanzaa was created by the founder of the US organization, Maulana Karenga in 1966. (The letters “u” and “s” of the organization has erroneously been said to mean United Slaves, when it simply stands for us—Afrikan people.) Karenga created Kwanzaa as the first specifically Afrikan American holiday, giving Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and giving us an opportunity to celebrate ourselves and our history. As an expression of the Black Power Movement, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society, Kwanzaa was/is an expression of self-determination that established a means of Afrikans born in Americans to reconnect with their cultural and historical heritage. Karenga established the Nguzu Saba, or the "seven principles of African Heritage" which serve as a unifying, communitarian Afrikan philosophy.
During the early years of Kwanzaa, Karenga said that it was meant to be an alternative to Christmas. In fact most of the holiday's celebrants were members of the organization—they were cultural nationalists, many leaning towards traditional Afrikan beliefs systems. Naturally, most of these early practitioners of Kwanzaa did not celebrate Christmas. As Kwanzaa gained celebrants outside of the Us organization and its supporters, many Black who were Christians began to practice it. Consequently, Karenga stated in his 1997 book, Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture, that Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday" and that Kwanzaa was specifically created as a cultural and not a religious observation. On the holiday's official Website, it states that "one can accept and revere the religious message and meaning [of Christmas] but reject its European cultural accretions of Santa Claus, reindeer, mistletoe, frantic shopping, alienated gift-giving, etc." Is this a contradiction? I'd like to think it is a growth in the celebration of the holiday, and that as it has expanded from its cultural nationalist base and adherents to a more popular base, adaptations have occurred. And that's real. Today many Afrikan Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa do so in addition to observing Christmas. So you can celebrate Kwanzaa in conjunction with any other holiday celebrated.
The celebration of Kwanzaa is organized around the number 7. There are seven principles of Kwanzaa, each celebrated on a different day. The principles, in order, are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. There are also seven symbols: fruits/nuts/vegetables, place mats, ears of corn, candles, candle holders, communal cups and gifts. These seven symbols are arranged on a table at the beginning of Kwanzaa. On each day, members of celebrating households gather together to discuss the principles and perhaps read poems or perform music or dance.
Today is Umoja.
A debate on a holiday tradition exposes racial attitudes Nov 2nd 2013 | AMSTERDAM | From the print edition
EVERY year on December 5th and 6th, tens of thousands of Dutch people paint their faces black, don Renaissance-style jerkins and pantaloons, and assume the persona of Zwarte Piet ("Black Pete"). The comical character plays a vital part in the celebration of the feast day of St Nicholas, known as Sinterklaas, which overshadows Christmas as the most important children’s holiday. According to a custom standardised in the late 1800s, Sinterklaas arrives on a steamboat from Spain, accompanied by a team of his black-faced servants, who distribute presents and ginger biscuits to good children while threatening to scoop up naughty ones in a sack and carry them back to Spain to pick oranges.
With his fantastical role and antique costume, Zwarte Piet seems disconnected from modern racial stereotypes. He made it through the Netherlands’ politically correct 1990s without raising many eyebrows. Yet in recent years Dutch citizens of Caribbean ancestry have begun protesting the portrayal of St Nicholas’s sidekick as a racist caricature. In the increasingly polarised political climate in the Netherlands, the custom was a tinderbox waiting for a match. In October the debate exploded, polarising cultural life and dragging in celebrities, politicians, and even the UN.
In this sectionThe man who lit the tinderbox is Quinsy Gario, a Curaçao-born Dutch performance artist, who began protesting in 2011 when he attended a Sinterklaas parade wearing a T-shirt reading “Zwarte Piet is racism” and was arrested. In early October Mr Gario appeared on the Netherlands’ most popular television talk-show to make his case again. The following week, the mayor of Amsterdam met with dozens of residents who had submitted a complaint asking that Zwarte Piet be removed from the city’s Sinterklaas parade.
Most white Dutch reacted angrily to accusations that the tradition is racist. On social media, many repeated a long-standing claim that Zwarte Piet just appears black because of soot from the chimneys he climbs down to deliver presents. The right-leaning Telegraaf, the country’s largest newspaper, ran articles claiming anti-Piet voices were troublemakers who did not represent black people in the Netherlands. A “Pietition” page on Facebook backing Zwarte Piet gathered over 2m likes within days, a staggering response in a country of 17m.
Many Dutch who have come out against Zwarte Piet have been hounded by the traditionalists. One group in the country’s north who had planned to paint themselves as multicoloured “rainbow-Piets” had to give up after receiving death threats. Anouk, the Dutch representative at this year’s Eurovision contest, was attacked with racial epithets for her opposition to the custom. When a Jamaican researcher for a UN cultural panel said she thought Zwarte Piet was racist, she was overwhelmed with racially offensive e-mails. Geert Wilders, the anti-immigrant populist whose Party for Freedom is currently on top of the Dutch polls, tweeted that he would rather eliminate the UN than Zwarte Piet. A pro-Piet protest in The Hague turned sour when a dark-skinned woman was surrounded by an angry mob and had to be rescued by police.
Mark Rutte, the prime minister from the centre-right Liberal Party, commented simply that “Black Pete is black”. The head of his centre-left coalition partners, Diederik Samsom, belittled the argument as an affair for people with too much time on their hands. But while the symbolism of a children’s holiday may be of limited consequence, the contemptible racial attitudes it has exposed are not. This month’s conflict has changed Zwarte Piet. For many, even if a year ago he was not a symbol of Dutch racism, he is now.
Alcohol in the Western World: A Brief History
[The following article appeared in the June 1998 issue of Scientific American. Written by Bert L. Vallee, M.D., a Distinguished Senior Professor at M.I.T., it is a fascinating historical look at the role alcohol has played. It contains many surprises and puts current thinking about alcohol into an historical perspective. I have taken the liberty of editing this article slightly.]
Throughout most of Western civilization’s history, alcoholic beverages may have been the most popular and common daily drink, an indispensable source of fluids and calories. It and not water was the “water of life.” Even Greek writings make few references to water drinking, with the exception of positive statements regarding the quality of water from mountain springs. The ancient Europeans clearly understood that most of their water supply was unfit for human consumption. and in this context of contaminated water supply, ethyl alcohol may indeed have been mother’s milk to a nascent Western civilization. And people of all ages consumed beer and wine, not water, as their major daily thirst quenchers. Yes, even children.
The beverages of ancient societies may have been far lower in alcohol than their current versions, but people of the time were aware of the potentially deleterious behavioral effects of drinking. The call for temperance began quite early in Hebrew, Greek and Roman cultures and was reiterated throughout history. The Old Testament frequently disapproves of drunkenness, and the prophet Ezra and his successors integrated wine into everyday Hebrew ritual, perhaps partly to moderate undisciplined drinking, thus creating a religiously inspired and controlled form of prohibition.
In the New Testament, Jesus obviously sanctioned alcohol consumption, resorting to miracle in the transformation of water to wine, an act that may acknowledge the goodness of alcohol versus the polluted nature of water. His followers extended measures to balance the use and abuse of wine, but never supported total prohibition. Saint Paul and other fathers of early Christianity carried on such moderating attitudes. Rather than castigating wine for its effects on sobriety, they considered it a gift from God, both for its medicinal qualities and the tranquilizing characteristics that offered relief from pain and the anxiety of daily life.
Traditionally, beer has been the drink of the common folk, whereas wine was reserved for the more affluent. Grape wine, however, became available to the average Roman after a century of vineyard expansion that ended in a about 30 B.C., a boom driven by greater profits for wine grapes compared with grain. Ultimately, the increased supply drove prices down, and the common Roman could partake in wine that was virtually free. Roman viniculture declined with the empire and was inherited by the Catholic Church and its monasteries, the only institutions with sufficient resources to maintain production.
For nearly 1300 years the Church operated the biggest and best vineyards, to considerable profit. Throughout the Middle Ages, grain remained the basic food of peasants and beer their normal beverage, along with mead and home made wines or ciders. The few critics of alcohol consumption were stymied by the continuing simple fact of the lack of safe alternatives. Hence, despite transitions in political systems, religions and ways of life, the West’s use of and opinion toward beer and wine remained remarkably unchanged. But a technological development would alter the relationship between alcohol and humanity.
After perhaps 9000 years of experience drinking relatively low alcohol mead, beer and wine, the west was faced with alcohol in a highly concentrated form, thanks to distillation. Developed in about A.D. 700-750 by Arab alchemists (for whom "al kohl" signified any material’s basic essence), distillation brought about the first significant change in the mode and magnitude of human alcohol consumption since the beginning of Western civilization. Although yeasts produce alcohol, they can tolerate concentrations of only about 16 percent. Fermented beverages therefore had a natural maximum proof. Distillation circumvents nature’s limit by taking advantage of alcohol’s 78 degree Celsius (172 degrees Fahrenheit) boiling point, compared with 100 degrees C for water (212 degrees F). Boiling a water-alcohol mixture puts more of the mix’s volatile alcohol than its water in the vapor. Condensing the vapor yields liquid with a much higher alcohol level than that of the starting liquid.
The Arab method - the custom of abstinence had not yet been adopted by Islam - spread to Europe, and distillation of wine to produce spirits commenced on the Continent in about A.D. 1100. The venue was the medical school at Salerno, Italy, an important center for the transfer of medical and chemical theory and methods from Asia Minor to the West. Joining the traditional alcoholic drinks of beer and wine, which had low alcohol concentration and positive nutritional benefit, were beverages with sufficient alcohol levels to cause the widespread problems still with us today. The era of distilled spirits had begun.
Knowledge of distillation gradually spread from Arabia to Italy to northern Europe. Alsatian physician Hieronymus Brunschwig described the process in 1500 in Liber de arte distillandi, the first printed book on distillation. Distilled alcohol had already earned its split personality as nourishing food, beneficent medicine, and harmful drug. The widespread drinking of spirits followed closely on the heels of the 14th century’s bouts with plague, notably the Black Death of 1347-1351. Though completely ineffective as a cure for plague, alcohol did make the victim who drank it at least feel more robust. No other known agent could accomplish even that much. The medieval physician’s optimism related to spirits may be attributed to this ability to alleviate pain and enhance mood, effects that must have seemed quite remarkable during a medical crisis that saw perhaps two thirds of Europe’s population culled in a single generation.
Economic recovery following the subsidence of the plague throughout Europe led to new standards of luxury and increased urbanization. This age witnessed unprecedented ostentation, gluttony, self-indulgence and inebriation. Europe, relieved to have survived the pestilence of the 14th century, went on what might be described as a continent- wide bender. Despite the negative effects of drunkenness and attempts by authorities to curtail drinking, the practice continued until the 17th century, when beverages made with boiled water became popular. Coffee, tea, and cocoa thus began to break alcohol’s monopoly on safe beverages.
In the 18th century, a growing religious antagonism toward alcohol, fueled largely by Quakers and Methodists and mostly in Great Britain, still lacked real effect or popular support. After all, the Thames River of the time was as dangerous a source of drinking water as the polluted streams of ancient times. Dysentery, cholera and typhoid, all using filthy water as a vehicle, were major killers until the end of the 19th century, rivaling plague in mass destruction.
Only the realization that microorganisms caused disease and the institution of filtered and treated water supplies finally made water a safe beverage in the West. Religious anti-alcohol sentiment and potable water would combine with one other factor to make it finally possible for a significant percentage of the public to turn away from alcohol. That other factor was the recognition of alcohol dependence as an illness.
Reprinted from AFRICANGLOBE | August 20, 2013 | Filed under: Business,Featured | Posted by: Editorial Staff
Viewers of CNN on the weekend of July 27-28, 2013, might have been stunned at the gigantic amount of wealth Africa possesses. Not only that; but also how much of the gadgets of everyday life depend on resources from Africa.The CNN broadcast was titled “How Africa’s minerals fuel your world” and it sourced its data from British Geological Survey, America’s CIA, and the World Bank among others.
Naturally, the documentary generated many comments: with the general theme being if Africa is so rich in resources, why are millions of its people living in poverty?
Others delved into how Africa can better harness its wealth to benefit its own people. Michael Ian Wright was stunned: “Wow, with all those fantastic resources, one would expect that folks living there would have outrun Europe in progress a thousand years ago at least. They should have colonised Mars by the time we had the Renaissance.”
Timothy44 remarked, “Indeed, Africa is full of resources and should not be a destitute continent. The problem is, Africa’s resources are in the hands of foreign companies and corrupt African leaders. The benefit of these resources never go to Africa’s people.
Furthermore, the root cause of most of the continent’s problems — wars and corrupt governments — is arbitrarily drawn colonial boundaries that divide a people in some areas, and group together competing ethnic groups in other countries.
“In such instances, all you get is constant ethnic competition, nepotism, corruption, hatred and war. The underlying problems of Africa cannot be addressed without resolving its politics. Africa has enough resources and can grow enough food to feed everybody.” Michael Blackmoon:
“Everything the West used was stolen . . . ask China, India, Africa, South America, among others . . . lucky the black plague didn’t finish us off. Remember the dark ages?”
Fungal Spawl weighed in: “West/East stealing from Africa. End of Story,” while Mr Robert said, “Africa: the richest and poorest continent. Rich in terms of natural resources, poor in terms of life standards.
But from laptops to cellular phones, cars to airplanes, all kinds of everyday items are made using minerals that come from Africa.” It is no exaggeration to say that the world depends on Africa.
How Africa Fuels the World Catalytic converters are fitted to cars to reduce pollution, and platinum and rhodium are key components. Africa produces most of the world’s platinum and rhodium for this purpose.
In 2012, South Africa produced 128 tonnes of platinum, 170 tonnes of gold, 8.2 million carats of diamonds (2011), and 255 million tonnes of coal (2011).
As well as platinum and rhodium, South Africa is a major producer of gold, diamonds, coal and iron ore.
Over the past 10 years, the mining industry has contributed around US$200 billion to the country’s GDP and export earnings, in real terms.
In all, 513 000 people were employed in extractive industries in 2011 and the sector contributed US$408 billion to South Africa’s total national GDP that year.
Cellular phones, laptops and other small electronic devices use parts made from tantalum. It is a key export of several African countries — but has been implicated in funding conflict in the DRC.
Mozambique produces 24 percent of the world’s tantalum, followed by Rwanda (20 percent), the DRC (11 percent) and Ethiopia (nine percent). Other African countries account for seven percent of global production combined. The market price for tantalite ore in July 2013 was US$262/kg.
Mozambique produced as much as 260 tonnes of tantalum in 2011, in addition to 500kg of gold. Despite increases in tantalum output, agriculture is currently far more important than mining for Mozambique.
The country also has huge coal reserves and a large field was discovered off its northern coast in 2011. They have brought significant foreign investment that could have a huge effect on Mozambique’s economy.
It is estimated that 60,000 artisanal miners were employed in gold mining in Mozambique in 2011, and that mining contributed US$12,8b to GDP.
Bling Bling In 2011, Africa produced more than half of the world’s diamonds, nearly three-quarters of its platinum and a fifth of its gold. The major producers of gemstones and precious metals were Botswana, Zimbabwe, the DRC, South Africa and Angola.
Away from the glam of gem production, Africa is also vital to production of the mundane but extremely necessary item called a battery.
Rechargeable batteries often use cobalt in their electrodes and demand for portable electronic devices has created a huge market for the mineral.
Africa accounts for 58 percent of the world’s cobalt; with the DRC shipping off 48 percent of global requirements in 2011, followed by Zimbabwe (five percent), Botswana (two percent), South Africa (two percent) and other African countries accounting one percent.
As at July 2013, cobalt was selling for US$13.50 per pound. The mining and minerals processing sector accounted for 15 percent of the DRC’s GDP in 2010, with mining exports valued at an estimated US$8.48b – nearly half of that coming from cobalt.
And while Africa complains about the poor state of its air transport industry, it is providing the resources used by other countries to make airplanes.
Jet engines use super alloys that often contain cobalt and chromium. Any aircrafts parts are made from aluminium alloys, which can account for up to 80 percent of a passenger jet’s weight.
Of the global production of chromite, South Africa accounted for 47 percent.
Mandela at his best!
On 31 January 1985 the State President of South Africa, PW Botha, speaking in parliament, offered Mandela his freedom on condition that he 'unconditionally rejected violence as a political weapon'.
This was the sixth offer of release reported to have been made to Mandela. Previous offers were conditional on his going to live in the Transkei bantustan. He rejected them all on the grounds that he rejected the bantustans and all who collaborated in their establishment and maintenance.
Mandela's response to the latest offer was read on his behalf by his daughter Zinzi to a mass meeting in Jabulani Stadium, Soweto, on 10 February, 1985.
This text was published by the ANC in London.
On Friday my mother and our attorney saw my father at Pollsmoor Prison to obtain his answer to Botha's offer of conditional release. The prison authorities attempted to stop this statement being made but he would have none of this and made it clear that he would make the statement to you, the people.
Strangers like Bethell from England and Professor Dash from the United States have in recent weeks been authorised by Pretoria to see my father without restriction, yet Pretoria cannot allow you, the people, to hear what he has to say directly. He should be here himself to tell you what he thinks of this statement by Botha. He is not allowed to do so. My mother, who also heard his words, is also not allowed to speak to you today.
My father and his comrades at Pollsmoor Prison send their greetings to you, the freedom-loving people of this our tragic land, in the full confidence that you will carry on the struggle for freedom. He and his comrades at Pollsmoor Prison send their very warmest greetings to Bishop Desmond Tutu. Bishop Tutu has made it clear to the world that the Nobel Peace Prize belongs to you who are the people. We salute him.
My father and his comrades at Pollsmoor Prison are grateful to the United Democratic Front who without hesitation made this venue available to them so that they could speak to you today. my father and his comrades wish to make this statement to you, the people, first. They are clear that they are accountable to you and to you alone. And that you should hear their views directly and not through others. My father speaks not only for himself and for his comrades at Pollsmoor Prison, but he hopes he also speaks for all those in jail for their opposition to apartheid, for all those who are banished, for all those who are in exile, for all those who suffer under apartheid, for all those who are opponents of apartheid and for all those who are oppressed and exploited.
Throughout our struggle there have been puppets who have claimed to speak for you. They have made this claim, both here and abroad. They are of no consequence. My father and his colleagues will not be like them. My father says:
I am a member of the African National Congress. I have always been a member of the African National Congress and I will remain a member of the African National Congress until the day I die. Oliver Tambo is much more than a brother to me. He is my greatest friend and comrade for nearly fifty years. If there is any one amongst you who cherishes my freedom, Oliver Tambo cherishes it more, and I know that he would give his life to see me free. There is no difference between his views and mine.
I am surprised at the conditions that the government wants to impose on me. I am not a violent man. My colleagues and I wrote in 1952 to Malan asking for a round table conference to find a solution to the problems of our country, but that was ignored. When Strijdom was in power, we made the same offer. Again it was ignored. When Verwoerd was in power we asked for a national convention for all the people in South Africa to decide on their future. This, too, was in vain.
It was only then, when all other forms of resistance were no longer open to us, that we turned to armed struggle. Let Botha show that he is different to Malan, Strijdom and Verwoerd. Let him renounce violence. Let him say that he will dismantle apartheid. Let him unban the people's organisation, the African National Congress. Let him free all who have been imprisoned, banished or exiled for their opposition to apartheid. Let him guarantee free political activity so that people may decide who will govern them.
I cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care even more for your freedom. Too many have died since I went to prison. Too many have suffered for the love of freedom. I owe it to their widows, to their orphans, to their mothers and to their fathers who have grieved and wept for them. Not only I have suffered during these long, lonely, wasted years. I am not less life-loving than you are. But I cannot sell my birthright, nor am I prepared to sell the birthright of the people to be free. I am in prison as the representative of the people and of your organisation, the African National Congress, which was banned.
What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of the people remains banned? What freedom am I being offered when I may be arrested on a pass offence? What freedom am I being offered to live my life as a family with my dear wife who remains in banishment in Brandfort? What freedom am I being offered when I must ask for permission to live in an urban area? What freedom am I being offered when I need a stamp in my pass to seek work? What freedom am I being offered when my very South African citizenship is not respected?
Only free men can negotiate. Prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Herman Toivo ja Toivo, when freed, never gave any undertaking, nor was he called upon to do so.
I cannot and will not give any undertaking at a time when I and you, the people, are not free.
Your freedom and mine cannot be separated. I will return.