This article, about London Recruit Bob Newland, appeared in the "First Person" feature in the FT Weekend Magazine, 10 Jan 2015.
This is a photo, received in January 2015, of the yacht Aventura that was used by Liverpool seamen in an abortive attempt to land a detachment of ANC fighters on the South African coast from Somalia in 1972. The yacht, once owned by US President F D Roosevelt, and used by the Beatles, has recently been restored and does cruises down the coast of California under the name Potomac. The story of this bold project is told in our book. Much additional (and intriguing) information is to be found in ANC - A View From Moscow by Vladimir Shubin, Jacana, South Africa, 2008.
Ken Keable's initial thoughts on hearing the news of the death of Nelson Mandela.
I am watching the BBC News Channel, which is devoting all its time to the subject.
Alex and Marie-José are two of the London Recruits. Their heroic story is told in the book.
Nelson Mandela is gone.A period of struggle was accomplished, it has ended, the curtain has fallen and the role of Madiba passed into History.
During the period of struggle where his name dominated and personified it, his name became an emblem that inspired his comrades in arms, as well as those who discerned through him a better horizon for South Africa.
Among the founders of Umkhonto we Sizwe – The Spear of the Nation, the armed wing of the liberation movement – he appeared as the Commander-in-chief, despite the fact that for many years he had been imprisoned on Robben Island, not far from Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope.
In that whirlwind, we were caught by the struggle against apartheid. Our vision of the fight was different. For us it was a class struggle on an international level – where the oppressed class was characterized by the colour of the skin – and also as a form of anti-colonial struggle, or said otherwise, a national liberation struggle.
In this framework, we as communists had been invited to fight alongside South African communists and others who were not. The victory over apartheid was the culmination of a stage where we fought side by side. Our object was to eliminate the exploitation of man by man, but for that we first had to go achieve the elimination of apartheid and nameless racism. That stage, “our stage”, was completed in 1994 when the ANC took power and Nelson Mandela took his place as father and unifier of the South African nation.
Now that the guide will only be present in memory, the people of South Africa, the South African workers of all colours and of all cultures will be alone responsible for their destiny.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to the great family of Nelson Mandela and the South African people who have just lost a great statesman.
Alexander and Marie -José MOUMBARIS
Umkhonto we Sizwe veterans