JOHANNESBURG, March 22, (Reuter): Archbishop Desmond Tutu said tonight he had made a personal appeal to black guerrilla leaders to halt their armed struggle in South Africa held out little hope of a ceasefire.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner spent the weekend in Zambia for talks with Oliver Tambo and other leaders of the outlawed African National Congress (ANC). He hugged Tambo in public but said he ‘could not embrace his methods.

Back in South Africa tonight, the Anglican Archbishop, a leading antiapartheid campaigner, told reporters he had asked the guerrilla movement to consider renouncing violence.

Such a declaration would “throw the ball back into the court of the South African government”, he said.

The Archbishop implicitly acknowledged that his appeal was unsuccessful. ANC President Oliver Tambo has responded that armed struggled was forced on his Organization and that it constantly reviewed its policy, Tutu said.

Pretoria has refused to consider discussions with the ANC, the biggest guerrilla group fighting white domination in South Africa, until it renounces violence. The ANC says the government must first release its jailed leader Nelson Mandela and lift a ban on the organization.


Tambo told’ reporters in Lusaka after his talks with Tutu that the armed struggle would go on.

“Both groups (the ANC and Pretoria) are hold prisoners”, Tutu said.

The Archbishop, whose brief trip was expected to anger Pretoria, reiterated he shared the objectives of the ANC although opposing violence.

“These are not bloodthirsty vampires but people who love South Africa. It saddens me that people in this country are not given the opportunity to encounter the ANC as they really are”, he said.

Statements by the ANC leadership are banned from publication in South Africa. In the run-up to a whites only general election in May, the government has stepped up its propaganda war against the organization.

Last week, Foreign Minister Pik Botha charged ANC insurgents not only brought bombs but were also importing the killer disease Aids (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) into the country.

Tutu said that while in Lusaka he had discussed the forthcoming election. In the past, the Archbishop has dismissed white polls as irrelevant to tackling South Africa’s racial dilemma.

Softening his stand, he tonight referred to the growing rebellion by ruling National Party (NP) members who are pressing for faster reform of apartheid race discrimination.

The rebellion, backed by influential former NP figures, had “charged the nature of the ball game …. Something is happening,” Tutu added. He said President P.W. Botha must be wondering whether he had been wise to call an election.

The Archbishop, who had more than four hours of talks with Tambo and 10 members of the ANC, said they had asked the church to help curb factional fighting in South Africa’s black townships.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 27, 1987