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Congress sets PAYCO's priority to unite African youth movement in Southern Africa

PAYCO members outside the Congress

DURBAN, Azania — The City of Ethekwini, also known as Durban, was graced by the presence of young people from across Azania. They came to the tourist hub of Azania in trains, buses and planes to review and evaluate progress in the struggle of the African working class. These 150 delegates represented branches with more that 5,000 members of the Pan Africanist Youth Congress (PAYCO). There were 100 members and leaders of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania who came on observer status as they could not wait for province and branch delegates to return with reports. The Congress that takes place every two years has greater responsibility than the Annual Conference that focuses on administrative and policy matters. The Congress has the responsibility of also reviewing the constitution and electing 15 of 25 leaders serving in the National Executive Committee.

Opening session

Under theme "Mobilizing Youth Power to Build Socialism and African Unity," the Congress was opened by outgoing President Sbusiso Xaba who emphasised the need to strengthen our African working class movement to wrestle power from imperialist forces by being involved in all matters affecting Africa and Africans everywhere. He launched a carving attack on the role of the World Trade Organization that perpetuates European dominance of international trade. He called for the rejection of all institutions that camouflage the colonization of Africa.

The Secretary General of Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC) Youth League, Elliot Nyawo on the Swaziland front of the African revolution was present to ensure that the Congress was not absorbed into just Azanian issues, but that it looked at challenges of Africa and her children holistically. It is in his solidarity message that he gave a picture of practical work that is being undertaken by structured young soldiers in Southern Africa to advance revolution in areas of pooling human resources in electioneering, developing a reparations movement on this part of the world as part of an international movement, political education and liberating the minds of our people through agitation and propagation. He praised the roles of PAYCO and Uhuru News.

The keynote speaker of the conference was Sombu Majola-Tshabalala, Secretary for Social Development. She highlighted the need to ensure that youth continue to be a vanguard of African people’s struggles. She pressed on the youth the need to arm themselves with revolutionary theory, take responsibility for leadership in all institutions and protect African people’s gains using whatever means necessary.


The Cape Town Branch displays its banner.

It was in closed session where organizational reports were scrutinized with delegates reviewing the development of the organization in terms of administrative machinery, organizational footprint, financial performance and political work. The Congress noted the extreme conditions under which its leadership is expected to execute revolutionary work with limited resources. The Congress was pleased with the political work accomplished beyond the artificial borders, particularly the strengthened relationships with the African People Socialist Party (APSP), the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC), the Zimbabwe Pan African Youth Agenda (ZIPAYA) and the African Socialist International (ASI).

The Congress was as abrasive on poor performance as it was appreciative of major successes in the period under review. The Congress resolved to modify the constitution to improve program execution and ensure proper political oversight in all its structure. The position was taken to increase advocacy work on the Youth Ministry in Azania to coordinate youth development.

The Congress resolved to increase the profile of the heroes of the African struggle in Azania, particularly the founding members of PAC. It is in spirit of One African Nation that a commitment was made to participate in the international movement struggle for the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal, an African political prisoner who has been held on death row in the United States for decades.

It was the work to build the African Socialist International that was made the top priority for the new leadership. The Congress mandates the new leadership work tirelessly to ensure unity among African working class organizations in Azania, Southern Africa and throughout the African world.

New leadership

The congress made it clear that new leadership will be measured by the extent of practical working relationships developed with organized labour in advancing African working class revolutionary interest. The newly elected president, Hulisani Mmbara, rounded up the mandate by telling members of PAYCO to take the struggle out of the boardroom to the street, and he committed not to tolerate poor performance on his team.

A senior member of PAC, Richard Maoka praised the political maturity of delegates and the robustness of deliberations. He called on the youth to continue to protect the revolution from infiltration and betrayal by those who become weak and chose to sacrifice the revolutionary cause for short-term personal gain.

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