100 years of the ANC

On January 8th, South Africans celebrated the African National Congress's 100 years of political activism. President Zuma, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a host of other dignitaries joined 100,000 people in a stadium in  Bloemfontein to laud the achievements of the ANC, Africa's oldest political organization. 

The ANC was created in 1912 to unify South Africans in the fight against a repressive colonial regime led by the British and the Boer. Although the ANC was made up of chiefs and influential figures in South Africa, it was often criticized for its adherence to a non-violent path to independence.  It was not until the early 1940s when the organization was infused with the youthful energy of people like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo that a militant arm of the ANC was created to fiercely resist the brutalities of the Afrikaner government. The Youth League of the ANC began to fight apartheid by organizing mass protests, strategic boycotts and flagrant defiance of segregation laws. This bold strategy galvanized the people to rally behind the ANC and fight for their rights. From impoverished townships  to jail houses in Robben Island, their indomitable spirits  feared neither death, torture or life imprisonment . Their painful struggle caught the attention of the international community and the ANC's fight became a personal fight for Africans, North Americans, Europeans and Asians. In 1994, 82 years after its formation, the ANC abolished apartheid and ushered in a new era for South Africans.

Since independence was attained in April 1994, the ANC has been the main ruling of South Africa. The democratically elected government has been led by ANC presidents, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma.  Under their leadership, South Africa  has become the gateway to Africa. It is a fertile ground for foreign investments, equal rights and affirmative action policies have been implemented to empower previously disenfranchised groups. In 2010, South Africa's  significance as an emerging economy was recognized when it was admitted into BRICS (Brazil, India, China, South Africa) a global organization of newly industrialized countries that are positioned to wield economic and political influence in key global regions. Inspite of these achievements, unemployment and crime in black townships continue to rise and the ANC has been beset with scandals, and accusations of elitism. 


These glaring challenges notwithstanding, the ANC merits all the fanfare and ululations that have been vibrating in cities and rural areas in South Africa.  Congratulations ANC for doing work that counts. But now that the fireworks have fizzled and the birthday candles has have been blown, lets get back to the drawing board - there is still work to be done. 

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  1. There is much work to be done! I am hoping that this new crop of leaders does not undo 100 years of blood and toil. How the ANC finishes its work for the nation will be just as critical as how it began said work. Great article!

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