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Victory Is on Our Side. Bullets Can’t Stop Us.
SAHA T-shirt archive, photographed for Common, curated by Khanya Mashabela for Common, 6 May–26 July 2023. Image courtesy of A4 Arts Foundation.
Title Victory Is on Our Side. Bullets Can’t Stop Us. Date Circa 1983 Type Archival garment
Associated organisations East London Youth Congress (E.L.Y.CO.)
Dimensions 71 x 70 cm


South African History Online features Mtutuzeli Tom, the former vice-chair of COSATU's Eastern Cape region, stating:

"Things changed in 1981. COSAS [Congress of South African Students] was crushed by the Ciskeian police. The police were very brutal. They used sjamboks, making sure when they hit you that they get your eye out. There was even talk around the township that the police are 'uprooting our eyes'. So students felt too threatened to be involved in action. I left school in 1982 after matric and started working at Mercedes Benz in 1983. Immediately after I was employed, we talked about establishing a youth congress in our area. We said that with a youth congress, we in the township could belong to an organisation. We had support for this idea from the students, from the drop-outs from school, and even from the gangsters of our area. The youth congress received a blessing because one of the most popular and respected comrades in the area, comrade Steve Tshwete was at the launch to speak to us. He really made an encouraging speech. It was the first time in our lives that we saw a strong veteran of the ANC who spent so many years in Robben Island. He encouraged us and said he felt in his blood that the country was going to be free, because we were starting to build these organisations. He said we must not forget that, when we build them, we must spread the voice of the ANC because that is what the ANC wants us to do. The East London Youth Congress (ELYCO) started that day with thousands joining."