As a mass movement of mainly working-class South African youth, we wish to affirm the democratic breakthrough achieved by Mandela and his comrades. The negotiated settlement, as embodied in the Constitution, is the basis for a new generation to continue the struggle for freedom and equality.
In stating this we affirm three things. Firstly, that the efforts of many organisations which brought the apartheid state to its knees and to the negotiating table – efforts led by the ANC, the UDF, COSATU, and countless individuals – were not in vain. Secondly, that the compromise reached, although far from perfect, was necessary. And lastly that, with the benefit of democracy and the Bill of Rights, the struggle to liberate the people from poverty and to build a non-racist, non-sexist society must continue.
Mandela’s legacy is a global one. He united not only South Africa but the world. That is the meaning of the worldwide outpouring of appreciation for his life. His attention to injustice, whether in Iraq, Nigeria, Palestine or Zimbabwe, reminds us that this is one world and that freedom is indivisible.
As young people living in democratic South Africa, still one of the most unequal societies in the world, we pledge to make every effort we can to take forward Mandela’s legacy in the struggle for equality and social justice, both at home and abroad.