Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870 – 1924) was born on April 22, 1870 and died on January 21, 1924
The struggle of the Socialist October Revolution of 1917, which overthrew Russian capitalism and landlordism, was led by the V.I. Lenin. Lenin was exemplary as a leader of the working class and of the oppressed masses in general and to this end demonstrated his grasp of Marxism which included revolutionary strategy and tactics as well as the building of the mass movement in the development of the struggle. His leadership was characterised by his ability to meld theory with practice. Lenin maintained that there can be no revolutionary movement without revolutionary theory, and that revolutionary theory delinked from the organized mass struggle is to no revolutionary end.
The Battle of Isandlwana, which was essentially a battle against colonial land theft, occurred on 22 January 1879. The British lost the war, despite being technologically superior in terms of weapon capability, to the indigenous KwaZulu-Natal army. About 22,000 warriors led in battle by King Cetshwayo kaMpande defeated approximately 1,350 colonial troops. This halted the first British invasion of Zululand. Isandhlwana, was a spark that started the decolonization and de-racialisation of stolen black lands. The victory at Isandlwana gave inspiration to many African resistance struggles, including: The Bhambatha Rebellion of 1906; the Maji Maji from 1905- 1907 (waged against German colonialism in East Africa); and the Algerian War of Independence of 1954 – 1962 were also influenced by the victory of Isandlwana. Regarding the Algerian experience, it must be stated that the Fanonian ideological perspective too saw abstraction from the Isandlwana legacy.The Isandlwana Rebellion also inspired the development of the art of war in Africa. In this respect the armed struggles engaged by African liberation movements drew from the legacy of this rebellion. To this end the Mau-Mau guerrilla warfare in Kenya (1952 – 1956); and the first and second Chimurenga wars of the 1890s and 1970s in Zimbabwe are noteworthy. Moreover, the resistance struggles in the Asante capital of Kumasi where the British were held captive for four months before they were rescued by reinforcements; the eight year battle against the French led by Samoure Toure in West Africa; the resistance against colonialism in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) and in Kenya; the German occupation in Namibia and the British inflicted genocidal wars against the inhabitants of the Cape Colony, are all instructive.
Onkgopotse Abram Tiro was born in 1947 and assassinated by the apartheid regime via a parcel bomb in Botswana on 1 February 1974. He was one of the main leaders instrumental in the creation of the black power movement in South Africa. His legacy served as an inspiration for the June 16, 1976 Soweto uprisings. To this end he politically groomed Tsietsi Mashinini who later became one of the great leaders of the June 16, 1976 Soweto uprisings. During his historic speech at the 1972 university graduation ceremony Tiro boldly condemned the white supremacist bantu education system as being anti black. He was consequently expelled from university. He then taught black history at a school in Soweto and thus raised the revolutionary consciousness of his students.
The Bambatha rebellion started when the indigenous people living in the Mpanza Valley in the Greytown district of Zululand, led Chief Bambatha kaMancinza and with the support of the other chiefs in the area, challenged British colonialism and the imposition of the ‘Poll Tax’ in 1906. To this end in January 1906 white farmers were legally authorized to occupy Zululand and the Bambatha Rebellion then occurred from February to August 1906. The Bambatha rebellion saw the British colonialists responding to the challenge of the people with a campaign of brutality so as to prevent them from trying to correct the unjust and criminal situation they were experiencing. The people fought bravely together with their chief against the British and in this regard used the Nkandla Forest and Mome Gorge as bases. It was at Mome Gorge where Bambatha and his soldiers were ultimately defeated
King Cetshwayo kaMpande was born in 1826 and died on 8 February 1884. He was the last king of an independent KwaZulu nation from 1872 to 1879. In 1875 he successfully led his army against Boer land theft and homestead tax south and north west of the Phongola River. Subsequently and on 22 January 1879 King Cetshwayo successfully led the Battle of Isandlwana, which was essentially a battle against colonial land theft by the British. The British lost the battle despite being technologically superior in terms of weapon capability. About 22,000 warriors led in battle by King Cetshwayo defeated approximately 1,350 colonial troops. This halted the first British invasion of Zululand. However King Cetshwayo lost the next crucial Battle of Ulundi. He was subsequently captured, imprisoned, sent into exile in the Cape and ultimately allowed to rule a portion of his former kingdom in 1883.
On March 21, 1960 the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) called for a “Positive Action Campaign” against the apartheid regime’s Pass Laws. Black people peacefully marched from their homes to surrender themselves to their nearest police stations under the slogan “NO BAIL, NO DEFENCE, NO FINE”. About 180 Africans were injured and 69 killed when South African police instructed by the apartheid regime opened fire on some 300 protesters engaged in peaceful demonstrations in the townships of Sharpeville, Vanderbijlpark and Langa. This event which has become known as the Sharpeville Massacre marks the beginning of armed resistance in South Africa.
On APRIL 18, 1980 the Independence of Zimbabwe was proclaimed. Zimbabwe’s independence resulted from a protracted liberation struggle led by the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) through the leadership of President Robert Mugabe against British rule. Since achieving independence the ability of the Zimbabwean state to respond to the needs of its people can be gauged, inter alia, from the successful land reform as well as the indigenization and economic empowerment programs.
On April 27 1898 Mbuya Nehanda, one of the architects of Zimbabwe’s First Chimurenga war, was hanged together with her four comrades (Sekuru Kaguvi, Gutsa, Hwata and Zindoga) by the settler regime for daring to challenge colonial land theft.
On 1May 1890 , following the decision of the International Workers’ Congress in 1889, the workers of Europe and America engaged in mass demonstrations and strikes . Their first demand was for an 8 hour working day. The idea was subsequently adopted by organised workers all over the world. While the demand of an 8 hour work day was eventually reached, May Day continues to indicates its significance through rallying the workers of all nations around the slogan: “Workers of the World, Unite!” In celebrating May Day annually workers around the world show their international solidarity towards the attainment of an egalitarian society free from all forms of exploitation and oppression
Karl Marx, who was born on May 5, 1818, is the inspiration for first pillar of the politics of Marxism, Leninism. Marx himself regarded his most important contribution to be his identification of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” as the agency and core mechanism to the transition to socialism. Hence Marx looked to the Paris Commune for inspiration. He referred to it as “a new point of departure of world-historic importance,” The main theoretical questions raised in “The Communist Manifesto” were answered by the Paris Commune including: What would a government of the dictatorship of the proletariat look like? and Why did previous revolutions fail? Ultimately it is the study of the Paris Commune which is key to understanding Karl Marx’s theory of revolution.