ANC remembers compatriots who fell in Matola, Mozambique

The African National Congress (ANC) on Wednesday remembered victims of the Matola Raid in Mozambique 37 years ago.

ANC National Chairperson, Gwede Mantashe, said in a statement that the ANC “remembers comrades of our movement, both South African and Mozambican, who fell in the Matola Raid in 1981. On this day, 31st January in 1981, South Africa’s bloodthirsty apartheid forces raided an ANC residence in Matola, Mozambique, brutally killing 12 and abducting 3 of our compatriots in one of many relentless assaults against the people’s cause for freedom”. 

Mantashe said the ANC must “advance the struggle, to return the land to the people, that our comrades lost their lives for in Matola”. He said this was even more pressing now that the ANC is “armed by the progressive and far reaching resolutions of the 54th National Conference” that took place at the Nasrec Expo in December. 

“We must pay homage to them by continuing to unite our movement, restore its credibility and undertake a program of fundamental organizational renewal. Their blood was not spilt in vain, they are casualties of the freedoms we enjoy today and we should never fail them in a quest to build a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society,” the National Chairperson said. 

Mantashe quoted a statement that then ANC President, Oliver Tambo, released in Matola following the raid.

“The crime perpetrated against the people of Mozambique and the people of South Africa, members of the ANC in this city has a lesson for us. It was unprovoked. It was not covered by any of the normal excuses for aggression. There have never been ANC camps in Mozambique. There are residences like everywhere else in the world. If residences are liable to attack let us be told…There is no reason why this regime should be tolerated anymore. Our resolve is a calm resolve. It is a cool resolve. It acknowledges that we are dealing with a kind of Hitler here, with fascism and Nazism. It is merciless, it is strong even, it can yet put up a fight. But let us rise like one man, as one people, to overthrow that regime,” said Tambo’s statement. 

He said Tambo’s words “remain instructive”. 

“We must continue the fight, with a calm and cool resolve, to defeat the remnants of apartheid and the legacy of dispossession. Ours is a struggle against forgetting. We must, at all times, reject opportunistic calls for us to forget apartheid and the ills it leveled against our people,” Mantashe said. 

In 2015 South African President, Jacob Zuma, unveiled the Matola Monument and Interpretative Centre in Mozambique in memory of struggle heroes killed during that raid. 

“The unveiling of the memorial will enable South Africa to pay homage to the fallen soldiers and also acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions made by the Mozambicans towards a free, non-racial and democratic South Africa,” the Presidency said in a statement at the time. 

The Presidency added that South Africa and Mozambique share strong historical and fraternal ties dating back to the time of the fight against colonialism and apartheid.

The Monument and Centre form part of the Liberation Heritage Route, which is meant to preserve South Africa's liberation legacy.