African National Congress (ANC)

Related articles

The African National Congress' (ANC) Centenary logo. Source:

The African National Congress (ANC) is South Africa's governing party and has been in power since the transition to democracy in April 1994. The organisation was initially founded as the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) on 8 January 1912 in Bloemfontein, with the aim of fighting for the rights of black South Africans. The organization was renamed the ANC in 1923. While the organization’s early period was characterized by political inertia due to power struggles and lack of resources, increasing repression and the entrenchment of white minority rule galvanized the party. As a result of the establishment of apartheid, its aversion to dissent by Black people and brutal crackdown of political activists, the ANC together with the SACP formed a military wing, uMkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation/ MK) in 1961.

Through MK, the ANC waged the armed struggle and obtained support from some African countries and the Soviet block for its activities. With the increasing internal dissent, international pressure and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the apartheid government was forced to enter into negotiations with the ANC. This saw the collapse of apartheid and the ushering in of democratic rule in 1994.

This feature focuses on the history of the ANC as one facet of the struggle for freedom and justice in South Africa. "Topics" outlines the chronological events in the organisations's history, written in chapters. “People” lists the ANC office bearers linked to their biographies other people connected to the ANC. The “Timeline” covers the period of the ANC from the early period to the recent past. An archive of ANC history related documents, articles, books and thesis have also been included under “Media Library”. Lastly, “Organizations” lists those organizations that are historically related or were at some point affiliated to the ANC.

Last updated : 29-Nov-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 20-Mar-2011