LETTER: New body for lawyers will boost black self-reliance
Pan African Bar Association of SA mirrors the formation of Steve Biko-led SA Students Organisation in 1968
The creation of the Pan African Bar Association of SA (Pabasa) is a welcome development in the pursuit of black self-reliance. It fits perfectly with Anton Lembede’s (1941) vision of “freedom”. He wrote: “When Africans are free, they will be in a position to pilot their own ship and, unhampered, work toward their own destiny and, without external hindrance or restriction, devise ways and means of saving or rescuing their perishing race.”
The association mirrors the 1968 move by black students led by Steve Biko when they moved out of the National Union of SA Students to create the SA Students Organisation (Saso), which ultimately resulted in the Broederbond realising the futility of apartheid and the National Party embarking on “reforms” from about 1978.
It is unfortunate that in all that is reported about Pabasa no precedent is quoted by these men of law who utilise precedent so much in arguing their cases. It is probable that they have sucked in too much of the reconstructed view of our past. They probably cannot infer the similarity of their action to that of black students in 1968. Of course, if they are not touched by the lessons therefrom, it is at their own peril. They must however realise that they may be trying to reinvent the wheel. Their move is an endorsement of the correctness of the creation of Saso.
Authentic history will record that the formation of Saso was “the single most important development in the internal politics of SA in the period 1967-76”, as one Sam Nolutshungu stated in 1982. Let us hope that the formation of Pabasa will itself be the single most important development in the evolution of legal practice among Africans in SA.
The foundation of a new SA was a false notion of “nonracialism”, which in reality means the majority Africans were allowed into the white space and expected to adapt and assimilate the ways of the settler whites and dance to their whims.
That Pabasa should rise 25 years into so-called democracy places Biko head and shoulders above all in terms of vision. No amount of lies, propaganda or airbrushing can remove the fundamental truth: “Black man, you are on your own.”
Dr Kenosi Mosalakae