African National Congress (ANC)

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African National Congress Timeline 1866-1909

In this period early African political organisations were formed; these organisations precipitated the formation of the African National Congress.

1866
The first attempt to enfranchise Africans on large scale is embarked on when Mfengu chiefs unsuccessfully attempt to register 600 of their followers.
1886
African voters in the Eastern Cape increase from 1150 to 6045 in the period between 1882 and 1886.
1879
The Native Educational Association (NEA) is formed. Its aim was to “improve and elevate native races.” In addition the NEA sought to promote “social morality and general welfare of the natives.” The association made resolutions, sent deputations and petitions to authorities. Amongst its membership were some of the founders of the SANNC such as John Tengo Jabavu, Rev Walter Benson Rubusana.   (Odendaal, p.7)
1882
Imbumba yama Nyama, (solid unity) a political organization that sought to unite Africans on political issues and fight for their political rights is formed in Port Elizabeth.
1887
The Imbumba Eliliso Lomzi Ontsundu (Union of Native Vigilance Association) is formed in response to the increasing attacks on African rights and privileges. Imbumba also aimed at oversee the registration of African voters and to challenge the in the Supreme Court unfairly disqualified voters.  
1888
Funamalungelo (“Demand Civil Rights”) is formed in Natal and lasts until 1908. The society is headed by John Khumalo and attracts leaders such as Martin Luthuli, Isaiah Mgadi and Josiah Gumede amongst others.
1896
April, Clements Kadalie the founder and future leader of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) is born in Malawi.
1898
The South African Native Congress (SANC) is formed by African political leaders in the Cape. SANC leaders “spoke out on labour issues, stimulated by growing racial discrimination and deteriorating economic conditions.” (Limb, 2010: 82) People such as Thomas Mqanda, Jonathan Tunyiswa, Walter Rubusana and Chambers Nyombolo among others were its membership.
Izwi Labantu (Voice of the People), a newspaper of the SANC based in East London is launched to carry the views and aspirations of the organisation.
1900
June 8, Natal Native Congress (NNC) is officially inaugurated. “The main aims of the Congress were to cultivate a political awareness amongst Africans by educating them about their rights under the prevailing system of government and laws, and, most importantly, to act as a forum for airing grievances” (van Diemel, 2001.) Martin Luthuli serves as president for the first three years and Josiah Gumede as its secretary. 
1902
SANC begins convening annual conferences.
Charlotte Manye Maxeke is a Transvaal delegate to a SANC conference. The conference praised her contribution but “concluded that the time was not right for women to participate in politics” (Limb, 2010: 78).
As the Labour Committees tour the country, Walter Rubusana, Jonathan Tunyiswa and Thomas Mqanda, leaders of the South African Native Congress (SANC), send a resolution asking the Crown to protect the interests of all African and Coloured people in South African colonies.
1903
Lord Milner convenes the South African Customs Conference in Bloemfontein which resolves to come up with a common understanding of native policy. This results in the establishment of the South African Native Affairs Commission (SANAC). The SANC strongly opposed the SANAC 
Charlotte Maxeke and her husband, Marshall Maxeke, form the AME Wilberforce Institute at Evaton.
May 16, Members of the SANC form the Transvaal Native Congress which remained affiliated to the SANC. By 1903, the SANC claimed to have braches in 25 districts.
1904
May 28, Martin Luthuli gives evidence to the South African Native Affairs Commission (SANAC). Click here to see his testimony.
Moses Mauane Kotane future leader of the ANC and South African Communists Party is born at Tamposstad near Zeerust in the District of Rustenberg the second son of 11 children, to Samuel Segogwane and Siporah Mmadira Kotane, both prominent members of the local community.
1906
The SANC sends a telegram to the Prime Minister asking for a repeal of legislation on communal tenure law and stating that ‘labour clauses’ should be ‘totally repealed’
The SANC complains about the deterioration of standards in the treatment of Africans by the British.
The Bhambhata Rebellion, lead by Chief Bambatha kaMancinza, takes place in Natal. The armed rebellion is fought in response to the hut tax which was imposed on the Zulu by British Colonial rule. The SANC and the Transvaal Native Congress condemn the Natal government’s handling of the rebellion.
The African National Political Union (ANPU) is formed in Transvaal and led by Sefaka Mapogo Makgatho who later became president of the ANC from 1917-1924.
April 10, The SANC passes a resolution with regards to the changing views of the British to the treatment of Africans.
1909
February, A Native Congress is held in the Orange River Colony with 48 delegates to discuss a draft of the South Africa Act.
March, A Native Congress is held in the Cape with 80 delegates, in Natal with 150 delegates and the Transvaal with 30 delegates.
March 24 - 25, From these conferences 60 delegates are elected for a South African Convention which met at Bloemfontein. 
April, A Cape Native Convention is organised by J.T. Jabavu, editor of the Black newspaper, Imvo Zabantsundu. The convention declares that the introduction of the colour bar provisions in the draft South African Act is “unjust --- unprecedented in the annals of the British Empire”

ANC Timeline 1910 -1919 >>

Last updated : 01-Feb-2016

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