Monday, January 10, 2011

ANC is 99 Years Old

The African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa celebrated its 99th birthday on January 8, 2011. Founded in 1912 as the South African Native National Congress, it changed its name to ANC in 1923. ANC became a platform for the struggle of the South African people against racial segregation and later apartheid. Its political significance may not have been realized by even its founding fathers.

The ANC was reformist and law-abiding in its earlier decades. Therefore, the majority of African people regarded as an organization for the educated class. This changed in early 1950s with the defiance campaign. Later, the ANC formed a military wing, Umkhontho we Sizwe, which waged a military struggle against the Apartheid regime.

Many ANC members lost their lives in the struggle and many others spent long terms in prison, including Nelson Mandela, perhaps the most famous political prisoner ever.

The ANC has been dominating South African politics since the first free election in 1994. It can be said that the ANC dominated South Africa in an indirect manner even a few years before that, when the Apartheid regime was crumbling.

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