OPINION | Like Mama Charlotte Maxeke, ANCYL commits to a life of selfless service to our people

08 April 2021 - 15:42 By Nonceba Mhlauli
The ANC Youth League celebrates the life of Charlotte Maxeke. File photo.
The ANC Youth League celebrates the life of Charlotte Maxeke. File photo.
Image: Phillip Nothnagel/Daily Dispatch

The ANC Youth League joins the entirety of our movement in celebrating a life worth emulating. An extraordinary life which planted the seeds for the liberation of blacks in general and Africans in particular.

An inspirational story of a young woman who broke all barriers stacked up against her and achieved what was unimaginable at the time, an education abroad. Charlotte Maxeke lived when the existence of a woman was only in relation to her gender role as defined by society at the time, and yet she redefined not only her path, but that of the liberation movement and for those of us who follow in her footsteps.

We celebrate her birth 150 years on to recommit that as long as poverty exists, the youth of her Congress will continue waging relentless war against the neocolonial economic structure that reproduces abject poverty for many and wealth for few. As long as we breathe, our energies and efforts will be channelled towards building a country free of want. We shall continue to strive for a better life for all our people.

We say through our own words that patriarchy has no place in our society. That the persistent and relentless attack on our bodies through gender-based violence and femicide shall be met with the wrath it deserves from the Congress Youth. Like Mama Charlotte, we commit ourselves to a life of selfless service to our people.

To the life of being sensitive to the needs of the disabled and the elderly. To be of assistance to them wherever they are and work with them in finding solutions to their problems. Ours must be a service of a hand-up and not a hand-out. A service dedicated to true empowerment as we continue to build a developmental state. In her memory and honour, we pledge our energies to improving our health system. To fight for provision of universal health care coverage.

We commit ourselves to deploying the energies, expertise and knowledge that young people possess to create a health system that serves all our people without fail.

We cannot honour Mama Maxeke without solving the challenges faced by students in the post-schooling sector. We call upon government to urgently find lasting solutions to the persistent funding challenges in the sector.

The right to access to quality education must be protected at all times. As we commend the ANC for giving impetus to our liberation heritage in this fashion, we must also call upon this current collective to preserve the movement of Charlotte Maxeke and renew it to a point where it is indeed the leader of society in all facets.

We must not pontificate about radical policies but radical action. Radical policies must be in the lived experience of all South Africans, especially the youth. The high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality are a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Young people in SA are becoming more impatient with the ANC as a governing party.

The Congress Youth will in her memory relegate the modern-day social media radicals who have nothing to show in action to doldrums of history.

We shall with our own brains and hands transform this country for the better.

We will fight and defeat laziness in the public service.

We will fight and defeat the apartheid logic that all resources must continue to be concentrated where they are.

We shall fight and win against the drug lords who are inflicting pain of addiction on our youth and those criminals who seek to abuse state resources to fill their elastic pockets.

We shall remove from the face of the earth the tendency to not use public resources because comrades are fighting over tenders.

It is not justifiable that resources earmarked for capital projects are returned to Treasury while our people still do not have water, electricity and live in squalid conditions. There must be consequences!

The Congress Youth will bite in defence of our people and in their interest.

Now, more than ever, we need to kill the spirit of self, as Mama Maxeke called upon comrades of her era to do. Those who do not understand that, “The work is not for oneself. Kill the spirit of 'self' and do not live above your people, but with them. If you rise above them, take somebody with you.”


  • Nonceba Mhlauli is the national convener of the ANCYL.