Item 005 - We Defy : 10,000 volunteers protest against 'unjust laws'

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We Defy : 10,000 volunteers protest against 'unjust laws'


  • Aug-52 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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ANC website.

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Occasion -Statement of the Campaign's aims
Summary - This statement focuses on the support by masses of volunteers from all races for the first stages of the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign. It also reiterates the main aims of the Campaign: to oppose an unjust system and struggle for freedom for non-Europeans.

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  • English

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Published in Drum August 1952

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Our Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign began on 26 June. It is going smoothly and according to plan; though there have been minor setbacks, like the arrest of Y. Cachalia, SAIC General Secretary, and myself, which was not according to plan.

The support we have received from the masses has been most encouraging. At the moment, for security reasons, I cannot disclose how they are helping the Joint Planning Organisation and its sub-committees to care for the dependants of those volunteers already arrested.

I would like to emphasise the aims of our Campaign over again. We are not in opposition to any government or class of people. We are opposing a system which has for years kept a vast section of the non-European people in bondage. Though it takes Us years, we are prepared to continue the Campaign until the six unjust laws we have chosen for the present phase are done away with. Even then we shall not stop. The struggle for the freedom and national independence of the non-European peoples shall continue as the National Planning Council sees fit.

As I say, we are not opposing a certain class or classes of the inhabitants of South Africa. We welcome true-hearted volunteers from all walks of life without consideration of colour, race or creed. Europeans can also join our ranks to defy these unjust laws - some of which are as unjust to them as they are to us. At the moment the Campaign is still in its first stage: defiance in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. Soon - perhaps even before you read this - it will move onto the next stage, which will be defiance of the laws in all the big centres of the Union. ANC then lastly it will assume a mass character with defiance spread all over the country; in towns as well as on the platteland.

We have sufficient volunteers for the present stage. Ever since the arrest of Kotane, Dadoo and the others who defied the Suppression of Communism Act, there has been a sudden upsurge in the rush to volunteer. It reached its peak the week following the beginning of the Campaign on 26 June.

This training has already shown its necessity, and the spirit of the volunteers is very high. This was clearly illustrated at Boksburg location when the location authorities slammed the gates closed and prevented the volunteer from entering. The volunteers waited outside the gates for a period of almost two hours until the African volunteers were arrested for pass violations. Soon thereafter, when the gates were opened, the Indian volunteers entered the location peacefully and defied the permit regulations. They were also arrested. The unity between the Africans Indians and coloured people has now become a living reality. Volunteers are not committed to actions that will lead them behind bars. Many of them are being trained for behind -the-scenes work that is necessary for the smooth running of our plans. Theirs is as important a task as that of their comrades now behind bars.



Paragraph beginning: "We have sufficient volunteers..."
Sentence in web text: "We have sufficient volunteers for the present stage Ever since the arrest of Kotane, Dadoo and the others who have defied the Suppression of Communism Act, there hw been a sudden upsurge in the rush to volunteer"
Changes made: "stage Ever since" changed to "stage. Ever since" and "hw" changed to " has"

Paragraph beginning: "This training has already shown..."
Sentence in web text: "Theirs is as important a task as that o their comrades now behind bars"
Changes made: "o" changed to "of"


Occasion: Statement of the Campaign's aims
Date: August 1952
Presentation notes:
Published in Drum August 1952

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 2 Nov 2006 by Helen Joannides




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