Fast facts on the ANC

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Did you know when the ANC was established, a critical role was played by various kings and traditional leaders, not only from South Africa but from the whole of Southern Africa, some of whom sent representatives to the 1912 meeting because their status prevented them from attending meetings with commoners.

Did you know the song or hymn that was sung at the opening of the ANC in 1912 was ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’ (God Bless Africa) by Enoch Sontonga?

Did you know that the people who founded the ANC, in the main, received their education in the United States and Britain?

Did you know when the ANC adopted its first programmatic statement in 1925; it was called the ‘African Bill of Rights’. This statement spoke in terms of ‘the vote for all civilised men’ – not women, not people, but ‘civilised men’?

• The ANC Women’s League was established in 1943

• The ANC Youth League was established in 1944

• The ANC was banned in 1960

The ANC took up arms against the South African Government in 1961 with the creation of Umkhonto We Sizwe (Spear of the Nation)

At the historic Morogoro Conference in Tanzania in 1969, ANC membership was opened to all race groups for the first time.

On 28 November 1980, the ANC, at a ceremony at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross, declared its adherence to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Protocol I of 1977 on the humanitarian conduct of war. This is the first occasion on which such a Declaration by a liberation movement had been formally made before the ICRC.

The ANC and other political parties were unbanned in 1990.

Since its founding, there have been three splinter parties emanating from within the ranks of the ANC: the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in 1959, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) in 1997 and the Congress of the People (Cope) in 2008.

During the time of the party’s National General Council in Durban 2010, the ANC’s paid-up membership stood at 749 000 and there were 2575 ANC branches in good standing.

By July 2011, the ANC boasted 914 852 paid-up members, 85 148 short of its 2012 one million target. By the time of the party’s 100th anniversary in January 2012, the million membership mark was breached. And by September 2012, the ANC boasted just over 1.2 million members—mainly driven by a surge in KwaZulu-Natal. The ANC’s annual membership fee is R12 per member.

With the ANC’s membership now just over one million “members in good standing”, the party makes R12 328 668 annually from membership fees alone.

The ANC has won every election in post-apartheid South Africa. The ANC may have lost 15 seats between the 2009 and 2014 elections, the party however only shed a modest three seats between 1994 and 2014.

Past presidents

The ANC has had 12 presidents and 14 secretary-generals in its 100-year history.

John Langalibalele Dube : 1912-1917

Sefako Makgatho : 1917- 1924

ZR Mahabane : 1924 – 1927

Josiah Gumede : 1927 – 1930

Pixely ka Isaka Seme : 1930 – 1937

ZR Mahabane : 1937 – 1940

AB Xuma : 1940 – 1949

James Moroka : 1949 – 1952

Albert Luthuli : 1952 – 1967

Oliver Reginald Tambo : 1967 – 1991

Nelson Mandela : 1991 – 1997

Thabo Mbeki : 1997 – 2007

2007 to 2012 – Jacob Zuma

2012 to present – Jacob Zuma

• Did you know that the first ANC president, John Dube was ousted in 1917 because of his reported acceptance of segregation?

• Did you know that OR Tambo is the longest-serving president of the ANC – 24 years? He served in this position from 1967-1991, albeit most of it in exile.

• Did you know that ZR Mahabane and Thabo Mbeki were the only ANC presidents to have served two terms (OR Tambo excluded)?

• Did you know that under ANC president Sefako Makgatho, Africans won the right to use first and second class train coaches instead of being confined to goods trains? Makgatho served as ANC president from 1917 – 1924.

• Did you know that ANC president AB Xuma was ousted following the National Party’s win in 1948?

• Did you know that during the presidency of James Moroka, the ANC reportedly became a more militant organization?

• Did you know that Chief Albert Luthuli was the first African to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960 for his role in the non-violent struggle against apartheid?

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