The African National Congress (ANC) is a political party in South Africa. It has been in power since the election of Nelson Mandela at the first free and fair elections in 1994. It has been re elected to power at every election since, though with a reduced majority every time since 2004.
Cyril Ramaphosa, the incumbent South African President has served as the president of ANC since December 2017.
As South Africa observes 110th anniversary of African National Congress on January 8, here's all you need to know about the country's most prominent political party.
The ANC was founded on 8 January 1912 by John Langalibalele Dube in Bloemfontein as the South African Native National Congress (SANNC).
Its primary objective was to bring all Africans together as one people, to stand for their rights and freedoms. This included giving full voting rights to Black South Africans and mixed-race South African and, to end the apartheid system brought by the National Party government after their rise to power in 1948.
The ANC initially attempted to use non-violent protests to end apartheid; however, the Shrpeville massacre in March 1960, where 69
black South Africans were shot and killed by police and hundereds injured during a peaceful protest led to worsening ties with the White minority government.
Governor- General Charles Robberts Swart , On 8 April 1960, declared ANC illegal and they remained outlawed for the next three decades. However, after being outlawed, the ANC formed the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) to rise against apartheid using the means of guerrilla warfare and sabotage.
After thirty years in exile, during which many ANC members had been jailed or forced to flee to foreign land, South Africa began its shift towards full non-racial democracy.
On 3 February 1990, State President F.W. de Klerk repealed the ban on the ANC and released Nelson Mandela from Victor Verster Prison.
On 17 March 1992, a referendum on the continuation of apartheid was held, but only White South Africans were allowed to vote.
The majority of the electorate voted to scrap apartheid and the ANC were allowed to contest the 1994 general election which, for the first time, allowed all South Africans the right to vote, regardless of their race.
Since 1994, the ANC has polled better than 55 per cent at all general elections, including the most recent 2019 general elections; where the party received its worst electoral result till date. Besides, the party has been embroiled in several controversies since 2011 and has been slowly losing support to smaller parties.
The ANC flag features three equal horizontal stripes – black, green and gold. Black stands for the native people of South Africa, green symbolizes the land and gold represents the mineral and other natural wealth of South Africa.
This flag was also the battle flag of uMkhonto we Sizwe.