Numerous world leaders and more former heads of state along with African kings and chieftains were among the reported 120,000 people attending the celebrations in the town of Bloemfontein, where the African National Congress or ANC was founded in 1912 as the South African Native National Congress (SANNC).
Tens of thousands of revellers streamed into a stadium in the scorching central city of Bloemfontein, singing, dancing and waving the green and gold colours of the African National Congress (ANC), as South Africa’s ruling party and Africa’s oldest liberation movement celebrated its 100th anniversary.
But at the same time, many South Africans said the party had not delivered on its promises since taking power in 1994.
By the time Britain annexed the Cape Colony in 1814, white farmers had occupied much of the present-day Western and Eastern Cape. During the 19th century white settlement spread unevenly over much of present-day South Africa and beyond.
The black people could have felt pushed more in the corner by the growing white people having to face about 20,000 in 1798 and already some 43,000 by 1820. The discovery of diamonds in 1868 and gold shortly thereafter led to further white immigration, including miners from Australia and the United States and Jews from Eastern Europe. In 1911 the white population of South Africa was 1,250,000 (to nearly 5 million blacks).
In the 1930s the Cape Colony got rid of the blacks and in the 1950s from the mixed-race Coloureds. Having been driven out their own birthplace those people felt treated unfairly, surely when the white supremacy excluded them from many rights. The exclusivist populist nationalism that took shape among the Afrikaner majority of whites made it worse when the National Party (NP) defeated the mildly reformist United Party government of Jan Smuts in 1948 and ruled South Africa until 1994.
The NP implemented the notorious system of racial apartheid, a rigid form of social engineering and repression of blacks that intensified the gap between white prosperity and black poverty. For this policy the NP gained increasing, though never unanimous, support among whites.
The hungry Africans fiercely resisted Apartheid in the 1950s and found their supporter in the African National Congress (ANC). But today a lot of people are still hungry.
In February 1990 Pres. F.W. de Klerk lifted the bans on the ANC and other organizations and released from jail ANC leader Nelson Mandela. The negotiations that followed established a constitution that for the first time in the country’s history removed power from the white minority (now 5 million in a population of nearly 42 million) and gave a vote to all the people. The new freedoms and opportunities were welcomed by nearly all South Africans-black and white alike.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner who had lots of confrontations with the crushing brutality from apartheid rulers who slapped the ANC with a ban in 1960 and jailed its top leaders four years later, was the person not present at the celebrations, but his spirit was present like it had been present when he stayed for 27 years in prison. Though while the frail 93-year-old is idealised into near-sainthood, critics bemoan the party as the shadow of a once-noble movement which has lost its moral compass.
This weekend was important for all Africans also to reflect on South Africa’s first one-person one-vote election took place April 26-29, 1994. It was characterized by millions of people waiting patiently for hours in kilometre-long lines to vote for the first time in their lives. Held under rules set by a negotiated interim constitution, the election was won by the African National Congress ANC), which gained nearly two-thirds of the vote. In a colourful and celebratory ceremony on May 10 attended by hosts of foreign dignitaries, under a new South African flag, ANC president Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as president of the republic and head of a government of national unity. “We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination,” he said in his address. ANC chairman Thabo Mbeki and former president F.W. de Klerk of the National Party (NP) became deputy presidents. U.S. Vice Pres. Al Gore remarked that “the nation that once was a pariah will now become a beacon of hope.”
The election results were: ANC 62.7%; NP 20.4%; Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 10.5%; Freedom Front 2.2%; Democratic Party 1.7%; Pan Africanist Congress 1.2%; African Christian Democratic Party 0.5%. The election installed a National Assembly of 400 members and a Senate of 90 members, which would also function jointly as the body for writing a final constitution for the country. It also installed parliaments in nine regions. The ANC took office in all regions except the Western Cape, won by the NP, and KwaZulu/Natal, won by the IFP.
But the postelection euphoria contrasted with the months leading up to the election and afterwards there were still a lot of years with a lot of troubles and traumatic nightmares for both parties. The country had even to face ultra right sabotage, and threats of civil war and secession.
17 Years ago there was been spoken off constitutional establishment of a volksstaat (people’s state) council to consider possible self-determination for Afrikaners, and constitutional recognition of the name KwaZulu/Natal. These, however, did not appease the Alliance. Today we also can wonder how the Boers look at the possibility of their own free state or OASE.
Bloemfontein, the city of Roses, the place of celebrations is the capital of the Free State (Afrikaans: Vrystaat, Sotho: Foreistata; before 1995, the Orange Free State) province of South Africa and also South Africa’s judicial capital. The Free State with its rolling hills, wide golden plains, impressive sandstone mountains and almost 340 days of sunshine per year, is considered to be a haven for the outdoor enthusiast.
Pretoria (now called Tshwane) in the northern part of Gauteng Province, founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voortrekkers, is the executive (administrative) and de facto national capital city of South Africa. It is also often referred to as the Jacaranda city, because of the 70 000 Jacaranda trees that line the streets, is also in line to become part of a new free state in case some Afrikaners succeed to get their will. The city with the Paul Kruger statue located at Church Square could find itself in a few years time in a new country.
It would then be the question if this city with its original name Pretoria Philadelphia (“Pretoria of brotherly love”) shall be able to be really a place of brotherly love accepting a multicultural society.
Certainly when ANC keeps denying the history of the city as founded by Pretorius and having the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC), which is linked to the Directorate of Heritage in the Department of Arts and Culture, having approved changing the name of Pretoria to Tshwane, on 26 May 2005, which is already the name of the Metropolitan Municipality in which Pretoria, and a number of surrounding towns are located. Although the name change was approved by the SAGNC, it has not yet been approved by the Minister of Arts and Culture. In March 2010, the “Tshwane Royal House Committee”, claiming to be descendants of Chief Tshwane, called for the name to be changed, and for the descendents of Chief Tshwane to be recognised, and to be made part of the administration of the municipality.
After the creation of new municipal structures across South Africa in 2000, the name Tshwane was adopted for the Metropolitan Municipality that includes Pretoria and surrounding towns.
Pretoria previously had a rather sinister image as “the capital of Apartheid South Africa”. However, Pretoria’s political reputation was changed with the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as the country’s first non-apartheid President at the Union Buildings close to Pretoria CBD.
Beginning in 2005, portions of the African National Congress wished to change the name of the city to match the name of the Tshwane municipality; however this met with stiff opposition, particularly from Afrikaner civil rights groups and political parties since it denies the history of the present community.
In 1994 Peter Holmes Maluleka was elected as transitional mayor of Pretoria, until the first democratic election held later that year, making him the first black mayor of this capital of South Africa. Maluleka later became the chairman of the Greater Pretoria Metropolitan City Council (later City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality), then was elected Speaker of the Tshwane Metro Council and in 2004 was chosen to be a member of the South African Parliament for the Soshanguve constituency.
With its 100 years the ANC shall not be able to get to recognize the previous happenings in its country and shall have to face the OASE (Onafhanklike Afrikaner-selfbeskikkingsekspedisie or: Independent Afrikaner self-determination expedition) which according to them is not linked in any direct or indirect way to any political and/or cultural organization, but to my insight shall want to come to an acceptable political institution or country or federal state.
Question as well is how those Afrikaners are or are not linked with the paramilitary, ultra right Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) or followers of Gen. Constand Viljoen who is credited with preventing the outbreak of armed violence by disaffected Afrikaners prior to the 1994 elections, and also split the AVF by registering a party for the elections named the Freedom Front, and later signed an agreement with the NP and ANC on conditions for recognition of a volkstaat, which is still not be constructed.
The 100 year old ANC shall have to look with its two political partners (SA Communist Party and Cosatu Trade Union Federation) at the territory which OASE has identified, based on anthropoligical, archaeological, historical and economic research formed integral parts of the former Boer Republics and is commonly known as the Highveld region of South Africa, linked with a corridor to the Northern Natal coast to include the harbour of Richards Bay and the World Heritage coastal enclave of St Lucia Bay.
Twenty years on since the end of white racist rule, the African National Congress remains deeply held in the hearts and minds of most South Africans. But there was also recognition of the deep divisions within a party being challenged by its youth.
ANC must just continue to protect the legacy that was left behind by those who lost their lives for South Africa to be a better country. So their youth is their role to embrace that and look forward and fight for the South African country.
The party’s sacked Youth League leader Julius Malema arrived to thunderous applause, with some of his supporters mocking president Jacob Zuma and others wearing shirts demonstrating their calls for his removal.
In a lengthy speech, heavy on the ANC’s history, president Zuma vowed to stamp out divisions within the party. Zuma had it over the grown up child and that is what we only can hope that the ANC and other black members shall be able to recognize that what happened in history nor returnable is and that the next generations do have to move on and look forward to groups of people who can live with each other in peace.
Mr Malema has styled himself as the voice of South Africa’s poor, who increasingly are taking to the streets to demand jobs and better basic services, fuelling divisions within a party that wants to represent billionaires as well as paupers.
Party veteran Ahmed Kathrada, who was jailed alongside Mandela said: “No longer in South Africa will you see signs: Europeans only, non-Europeans only, non-Europeans and dogs not allowed. All of South Africa is now free. We have won our dignity as human beings.”
According President Jacob Zuma in his 90-minute speech the ANC is a disciplined force of the left with a bias toward the poor and also a broad church that is home to all. That it is not all sunshine and blessing showed at the moment when storm clouds gathered overhead and Mr Zuma’s halting lecture entered its second hour. While some of his audience listened intently and joined in enthusiastically with the odd struggle song, several thousand streamed out of the stadium.
Mr Zuma suggested that the ANC had moved away from some of the values espoused by great leaders such as Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela and acknowledged that there were “challenges” in the years ahead.
As the President and his colleagues on a stage erected in the centre of the stadium clinked champagne glasses and ate pieces of a giant birthday cake, the mood in the crowd was mixed.
Economically, the party has drawn praise for steering Africa’s biggest economy into safe waters, rolling out new electricity and water supplies, as well as houses and inspiring a new black middle class, but when I see documentaries of that beautiful country I also still see a lot of shams and misery.
Preceding article: ANC-regime wants to wipe every presence of Afrikaans from the SA map #4 Task
- Centenary of the ANC:
Message of Support from Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
From the vantage point of a seventeen year old democracy, many of us can look back on our personal contribution and the role we played as individuals in the struggle for freedom. We have a responsibility to the younger generation, to those who were born after 1994, to record our experiences as witnesses and participants, so that the complex narrative of our country’s history will not be reduced, distorted or lost. It is a story too rich in significance, too provocative and too important to leave untold.
We must not miss the opportunity offered by this centennial to adopt a shared South African dream, which – for me – remains the Bloemfontein dream.
Are we brave enough to put the Republic above all else? Have we grown enough to see each other as South Africans first? Is our patriotism stronger than our ideological leanings? Are those outside the ANC able to put our love of country before whatever differences we may have with the ANC? And can the ANC accept that South Africanism means more than holding an ANC membership card?
If not, then we have moved backwards since Bloemfontein.
I acknowledge all South Africa’s positive developments, especially since 1994. But I worry about the state of the Republic. I believe we can do significantly better. I therefore call on South Africans to consider an all-inclusive national convention on this question of a shared dream. For without a common value system and a shared dream, we will fail the vision of the 1912 Bloemfontein meeting.
- South Africa’s ANC celebrates 100 year
Youth League head Julius Malema, told a weekend rally around the celebrations that he hopes within 10 years blacks will control south Africa’s mines and farms and whites will be their domestic workers and farm labourers.
- Malema also reportedly said ANC leaders were living “the high life” while most South Africans struggle to survive on breadcrumbs. Malema himself has been criticized for building a $2m mansion, with people asking where the money comes from.
- South Africa’s ANC celebrates 100 years at mass rally
Sunday’s events began at midnight with the lighting of a centenary torch, blessed by Tutu in the Wesleyan Church where the ANC was founded on January 8, 1912. The flame will be carried to the rally, where heads of state and foreign supporters are expected.
critics say too many people have been left to make do with shoddy public hospitals and schools, a dangerously high joblessness rate of 25 per cent, violent crime and a grim life in shantytowns.
- South Africa’s ANC papers over cracks with celebrations 08 Jan 2012
- ANC at 100: ‘What have we got to celebrate?’ 07 Jan 2012
- Nelson Mandela to stay away from ANC centenary celebrations 06 Jan 2012
- ANC Fetes 100 Years With Show of Dominance in South Africa
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress celebrated its 100th anniversary today, maintaining its grip on power in Africa’s largest economy, while battling internal rifts over leadership posts.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress is battling to contain internal rifts over economic policy and leadership posts as Africa’s oldest political movement marks its centenary. >Mandela’s Party Falters as Fighting Splits ANC in South Africa
The divisions have impeded the ANC from taking a decisive stand against Malema’s call for the state to nationalize mines and banks, or overhauling labor laws that the International Monetary Fund says discourage hiring.
‘Ascent of Populism’
Eurasia Group, a New-York-based risk analysis company, identified South Africa in a Jan. 3 report as one of the top 10 geopolitical areas with potential for instability in 2012 because of the “ascent of populism” within the party and the leadership struggle.
“While politics seems to be maturing in many emerging markets, politics in South Africa increasingly stands in the way of economic growth,” Anne Fruhauf, Eurasia’s Africa analyst, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Zuma’s need to maintain alliances will make it difficult to decisively deal with controversial debates, like the nationalization of mines.”
- ANC-regime wants to wipe every presence of Afrikaans from the SA map #3 Rights
- Afrikanerstaat binnen de RSA-eenheidsstaat
- ANC Wil Afrikaans wissen #6 Opdracht
- Multimediaproductie: ‘Er vloeit Afrikaner bloed in mij’ De multimediaproductie van Ilvy Njiokiktjien en Elles van Gelder over het trainingskamp van het Kommandokorps.
De extreem-rechtse beweging in Zuid-Afrika is ook een reactie op zwart nationalisme, zegt Frans Cronje, directeur van het Institute of Race Relations in Johannesburg.
‘Er is een oorlog gaande tussen zwarten en blanken. Er gaat in de toekomst nog veel bloed vloeien. Ik ga vechten voor het Afrikaner volk. Ik wil geen Zuid-Afrikaan meer zijn of mezelf met de regenboognatie associëren. Er vloeit Afrikaner bloed in mij.’
critics say too many people have been left to make do with shoddy public hospitals and schools, a dangerously high joblessness rate of 25 per cent, violent crime and a grim life in shantytowns.
- S.Africa’s ANC Celebrates 100th Anniversary – Voice of America (voanews.com)
- ANC Origins and Background | South African History Online (ojaytee.wordpress.com)
In 1909, a group of Black delegates from the four provinces met in Waaihoek, Bloemfontein to propose a means to object to the draft South Africa Act, and Union Constitution. This was the South African Native Convention (SANC). A nine man delegation was sent to England. The Convention is considered a precursor to the South African Native National Congress (SANNC). Apart from sympathetic coverage from the British media to the plight of Blacks, little else was achieved by the delegation.
The SANC continued to be active in 1910 and in 1911, objecting to further discriminatory legislation. The need for a permanent body to represent Blacks on a national level was the reason for the transformation of the body into a more representative and dynamic organisation. Pixley ka Isaka Seme, a well educated attorney, and author Solomon Plaatje, pioneered the formation of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC).
- Mandela To Miss African National Congress Anniversary (theroot.com)
- WCN TRANSMEDIA GROUP & International Goodwill Ambassador Oscar J. Webb congratulate the ANC for its’ Centennial Celebration for The African National Congress of South Africa. (wcntransmedia.wordpress.com)
- South Africa’s ANC celebrates centenary with moment in the sun (guardian.co.uk)
“Under apartheid, black people could not do anything. Now we can,” said the odd job man, 30, from a small town in the vast, arid Northern Cape. “We got democracy through the African National Congress (ANC). You must respect the ANC.”
The heroic struggle against a racist regime was remembered: those thousands who sacrificed their lives in a quest for human rights and democracy that took more than eight decades. So too Nelson Mandela‘s peerless act of forgiveness and reconciliation.To spoil a centenarian’s birthdayparty with talk of more recent corruption, cronyism and factionalism would have been churlish. To speak of the deepening cancer of unemployment and inequality would have been to revive a family pain it knows too well. More polite for now, perhaps, to put it as Mandela did in Long Walk to Freedom: “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”British prime minister David Cameron wrote in a letter to Zuma: “The African National Congress has been a beacon for the world in the fight against discrimination and the struggle for freedom from oppression.”
- African National Congress Turns 100-Years-Old (huffingtonpost.com)
“Apartheid is not over,” American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said after the church ceremony, “the agricultural apartheid, the manufacturing apartheid, the banking apartheid, the shipping apartheid, the layers beneath the skin color are now the next century’s challenge.”Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, whose country was bombed by South African warplanes attacking ANC guerrilla training camps during the struggle for liberation, issued a warning at a banquet Saturday night.”Comrade Zuma, you have more serious problems than any of us. You are faced with the land question. I want to remind the South African youth that two wrongs can never make a right,” he said.The ANC government has admitted its failure to return white-owned farmland to blacks – a key issue of the liberation struggle. In 1994 it set a goal of redistributing 30 percent of agricultural land to blacks by 2014 – targeting a total of nearly 61 million acres (24.6 million hectares). Instead, it has bought only about 6 million hectares, of which a third has been resold by aspiring black farmers who failed to get enough support.Ninety percent of farmland here remains in white hands. Hundreds of white farmers have been killed over the years, and they in turn are accused of brutality and killings of black farm laborers.
Whites are not the only ones tied up in land disputes. Mandela’s grandson, Mandla, who attended the celebration, faces allegations of land-grabbing by families in Mvezo, the village where Mandela was born. A court will hear the case later this month. Villagers charge Mandla Mandela, a traditional chief, of illegally expropriating their land and removing grave sites to build a multimillion-dollar hotel and stadium.
- South Africa adrift (telegraph.co.uk)
- Nelson Mandela’s life story to be turned into TV drama(guardian.co.uk)The life of Nelson Mandela is to be the subject of a $20m (£13m) TV mini-series spanning six decades and the momentous events leading to his election as South Africa‘s first black president after 27 years in jail.Mandela, now 93, has given his approval for the six-hour drama, which is due to go into production later this year, shooting primarily on location in South Africa.
- Thousands gather for ANC celebration rally (independent.co.uk)
- South Africa:African leaders heap praise on ANC’s liberation role (laaska.wordpress.com)
African drums and the ritual slaughter of a bull featured in the second day of celebrations commemorating a hundred years of the African National Congress before a gala dinner attended by more than a dozen African leaders and former leaders.“When we talk about ANC, it is part of Africa, in particular southern Africa,”said Mozambican President Armando Guebuza at the dinner which ran into the early hours of Sunday.“What you did made us proud of being Africans,” he added.
- African National Congress celebrates 100 years – ABC Online (abc.net.au)
But while the ANC’s greatest triumph was to bring an end to the country’s apartheid regime, its transformation from a liberation movement to a political party leading a majority government is proving possibly an even greater challenge.”Its main challenge is that it has moved from an organisation which was fighting against apartheid, which was therefore filled with people who were making sacrifices to fight the system,” Professor Friedman said.”It’s now a governing party in a market economy which means that there are lots of goodies to be gained from holding office.”Under apartheid, the backbone for an unequal society was entrenched, but 20 years on, and despite carving out possibly the world’s most liberal constitution, the disparity remains.Every South African now has the right to go to the beach, to an education, to housing, but for most black South Africans, that right remains a paper reality rather than something real.
- TNA, GTF join ANC centenary celebration, Sri Lanka boycotts (tamilnet.com)
Sri Lanka has refused the ANC’s invitation because inviting the GTF thus giving the diaspora organisation official status and placing it on par with a government delegation was not acceptable, an External Affairs Ministry source told the Sri Lankan Sunday Times.
Throughout decades of struggle against Apartheid, the ANC’s leaders were also deemed international terrorists – the United States only removed Mandela from its terrorist watch list in 2008 – but were undaunted.”We never saw ourselves as terrorists, we were satisfied in our minds that we were freedom fighters,” said Mac Maharaj, the current presidential spokesman and former head of the ANC’s armed wing, told AFP.But once in power, the party chose economic liberalism, creating a new generation of “black economic power” that has changed the face of the Africa’s biggest economy – South Africa’s black middle class counts between two and three million people.”We are the oldest organisation in the continent,” President Zuma told a cheering crowd after a walk-about Friday in Botshabelo around 25 miles from Bloemfontein.”Many organisations have been created, born, established along the way and many have perished, have died, have collapsed. Not the ANC.”
- Unhappy birthday ANC (blogs.ft.com)
It is hard not to be struck by how uniformly negative the foreign coverage of the centenary celebrations of the African National Congress has been. Until recently, the ANC was regularly lauded as one of the world’s most successful and honourable liberation movements. But this piece by the FT’s own Andrew England, rightly highlights some of the ANC’s recent lows, including the terrible new media law. Meanwhile Richard Dowden, a veteran Africa-watcher who covered the ANC in exile with great sympathy, is unsparing in his critique. Dowden highlights the policy of “Black Economic Empowerment” as a potent source of corruption.
- African National Congress observance celebrates ‘a hundred-year struggle for the universal values of human dignity and equality’, says UN Secretary-General (appablog.wordpress.com)
Madiba’s words capture the essence of what we are celebrating this year: a hundred-year struggle for the universal values of human dignity and equality. The African National Congress (ANC) is more than a political party. It is a movement — a tangible expression of a vision. The commitment and sacrifice of its members led to the emancipation of a nation. The justness of its cause attracted support from around the world, from all races and religions. Overwhelmingly, people around the world, not just in South Africa, want this non-racial democracy to succeed.
- Glance at history of African National Congress (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- In pictures: ANC celebrates 100 years (bbc.co.uk)