I would like to acknowledge the presence of
• H.E. Ambassador Chen Xiaodong
• Hon. Comrade Jessie Duarte, Deputy-Secretary General of the African National Congress
• Hon. Comrade Blade Nzimande, General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, Minister of Higher Education, Science & Innovation
• Hon. Comrade Zingiswa Losi, President of the Congress of South Africa Trade Union
• Hon. Comrade Bathabile Dlamini, President of the African National Congress Women’s League
• Hon. Comrade Lindiwe Zulu, Chairperson of the African National Congress International Relations Subcommittee, Minister of Social Development
• Hon. Ms. Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation
• Hon. Mr. Nkosinathi Emmanuel Mthethwa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture
• Hon. Ms. Candith Mashego-Dlamini, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
• H.E. Ambassador Bene M’Poko, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa & Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
Celebrating the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), offers South Africa and the world an opportunity to not only salute the Chinese people for their great achievement in actualising the goals of the revolution guided by revolutionary theory, but also a chance to reflect on the journey of the CPC from inception to reaching ripe age of 100 years.
Accomplishing a moderately prosperous society in all respects, is a landmark in China’s revolution and development, from which lessons and inspiration can be drawn. This exciting chapter in human history is not a final destination but a milestone in China’s long journey to what H.E. President XI Jinping in his keynote address this morning, attributes to realizing the first centenary goal and, “now marching in confident strides towards the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects.”
These achievements and positive outlook, signify a renewed internationalism for posterity and is indeed a bold stride in the struggle of the people of China for social justice. The 100 years of the CPC is an anniversary that duly celebrates the nation’s and the Party’s confidence in its political system to journey beyond and manifest a noble and people-centred vision.
H.E. President XI Jinping reiterated that the CPC’s founding spirit its source of strength, developed by the pioneers of communism in China, and consisting of the following principles: upholding truth and ideals, staying true to the original aspiration and founding mission, fighting bravely without fear of sacrifice, and remaining loyal to the Party and faithful to the people.
Within this reflection lies a fundamental approach to the success of the CPC: building the Party and structuring its perspective such that it manifests constant motion, evolving, adapting, and emerging from one era to the next as a stronger and more relevant organisation.
H.E. highlighted the CPC’s ability to adapt Marxism to the Chinese context and observed that China will:
“use Marxism to observe, understand and steer the trends of our times and continue to develop the Marxism of contemporary China and in the 21st century. We must uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. We must follow our own path. This is the bedrock that underpins all the theories and practices of our Party. More than that, it is the historical conclusion our party has drawn from the struggles over the past century.”
From H.E. President XI Jinping’s germane measurements of theory and practice, we are firmly reminded that society is not static, it is forever marching forward and this march of society is propelled and greatly influenced by the continuous modernisation of the forces of production.
As witnesses to China’s advances into the future, we take our cue from virtuous leaders of the past who were armed with the correct tools of analysis to envision a future free of homelessness, disease, ignorance, poverty, and hunger.
Through the darkest days of apartheid and the complex forging of the African National Congress (ANC) over time, the struggle for freedom was articulated by the wise mind-set of Comrade Govan Mbeki, who in his time echoed the sentiments and approach of the CPC to focus on the importance of an organisation’s framework and structure and its nature as an ever-changing, living organism.
At this point allow me to refer to the teachings of Govan Mbeki in Robben Island Prison where he explained the importance of creating structures which are agile and flexible enough to adapt to new conditions.
“We must examine briefly the importance of the structure of the Organisation in seeking to attain its ends.”
“Depending on conditions, the ANC structure has had to change, and will continue to do so if it is to survive under changing conditions. It is very important that the membership appreciate this point. Otherwise insistence on getting it to do things as they were done before under a completely different set of conditions, or to do things for which it is not designed, may create difficulties that may not only retard progress but may also expose it to otherwise preventable enemy attacks.”
We understand that the importance of the structure and the adaptation aspect of the CPC in theory and practice, has proved that this method is the only way to continue equalling the challenges of the moment and resolving them in a manner that lays down a solid foundation for future progress.
Taking in to account the concrete conditions of every nation and understanding that no two countries are exactly the same, it is important to apply the lessons of history to the theory of development, in an adaptive manner that takes the unique characteristics of each country into account.
President Xi Jinping stated that:
“By learning from history, we can understand why powers rise and fall. Through the mirror of history, we can find where we currently stand and gain full sides into the future. Looking back on the Party’s one-hundred-year history, we can see why we were successful in the past and how we can continue to succeed in the future.”
Education is the great equaliser, however we need to consider the correct kinds of education in the interest of collective growth, and how human history shapes the power dynamics of knowledge.
Apartheid and colonial knowledge systems held a power that in many respects is still present today. The success of apartheid is still apparent in the legacy it has left behind in the sharing of knowledge in contemporary South Africa: who has access to education and who does not.
In an article published in 1942 titled, “Defects in Party Education”, Moses Kotane the then General Secretary of the Communist Party of South African (CPSA) motivates an approach to an inclusive education system and guides our understanding of the historical context of the power and politics of knowledge in South Africa.
The Aims of Education
“Proper education is a mirror in which man sees the world around him and learns to understand it – the right kind of education enables man to see what the world has been, what it is, and how it can be changed to suit him or his way of living.
Education can be and has been used to befuddle the minds of the common people. But education can also be used as an important instrument in the struggle for freedom and human progress. It is this kind of education which we need.
We must learn history to know and understand the story of man’s development through the ages – the various forms of his social organisation and the causes of the rise and fall of those forms of human relationships.
We should know that at some time in the course of their history, peoples of other countries also suffered political, economic and social injustices just as we Non-Europeans do in South Africa. We should also know what they did in order to free themselves – their setbacks and the secret of their eventful successes.”
In His Excellency’s address, President Xi Jinping recollected that China, in its more than 5000 years of existence, has pursued the ideas of peace, concord and harmony and must continue working to promote the building of a human community with a shared future, and must continue to advance the great new project of party building.
The CPC is an exemplar of how revolutionary theory can be used to solve society’s problems.
Once again we take this opportunity to congratulate the Communist Party of China (CPC) on this auspicious occasion of its centennial anniversary and we recognise its monumental achievements.
I thank you.