Message from Lucien van der Walt to the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) 2015 graduate class at Wits University, Johannesburg, 11 March 2016
It is with deep regret that I am not here with you in person – please know that I am here with you in heart and soul.
In the face of this society based on injustice and inequity, on exploitation and oppression, a society with burning national and social questions, struggle is needed.
The right to life is not given, it is taken. Every right we have, every gain we have made, has been through struggle. It is through struggle and will that we remake the world. It is by courage and love that we can stand tall.
The highest gift is freedom, and we must defend it with honour, with faith.
It is the working class alone, which can provide, through its power, its numbers, its social role, and the justness of its struggle, the force to end the injustice and inequity, the exploitation and oppression, and answer the national and social questions with justice and equality and solidarity.
It is the working class alone, which can usher in a new society, based on freedom and equality, on democracy – real democracy – where we live and work, not just through voting every 5 years. A universal human community, based on meeting needs, on ending inequality and oppression, based on self-management and freedom.
So I appeal to you, to never give up, to struggle, to fight on.
To fight and win, and, in the words of a great revolutionary, to win, but not “in order to repeat the errors of the past years, the error of putting our fate into the hands of new masters; we will conquer in order to take our destinies into our own hands, to conduct our lives in accordance with our own will and our own conception of the truth.”
It has been an honour and a privilege to teach you.
I look forward to remaining in contact, and I salute your achievements.