African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) Timeline 1944-2011

The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) was established on 2 April 1944, four years before the National Party came to power, by Anton Lambede (who became the League’s first President), Nelson Mandela, Ashby Mda, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo. They were joined by, Duma Nokwe, B Masekela, Ida Mtwa, Lillian Ngoyi, James Njongweni, William Nkomo and Dan Tloome. The aim of the Youth League was to galvanise African youth to follow an active programme focused on the mobilisation of the masses to step up the fight against increasing segregation. The Youth League drew up a Programme of Action calling for strikes, boycotts and defiance which was accepted the larger body of the ANC.

March, The ANC Youth League’s manifesto is launched at the Bantu Social Centre in Johannesburg,here it is resolved that Africanism should be endorsed.
02 April,ANCYL is established, Anton Lambede becomes the first president and Nelson Mandela Secretary General.
30 July, Anton Lembede dies suddenly three years after the formation of the Youth   League at the age of 33.
The National Party (NP) comes into power and it introduces the apartheid system.
A small branch of the ANCYL is established at The South African Native College.
17 December,Through the initiatives of the ANCYL, the ANC adopts the Youth League's Programme of Action as its policy document. The Programme adopts a more militant stance and calls for an end to compliance with the government's racist policies.
 Three Youth leaders address students at a Completer's Social in the presence of the principal and the staff. The social gathering turns into an attack on the political and social conditions prevailing in the land. The slogan for the evening is 'Africa for the Africans'. Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, who later becomes leader of the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), is present.
Walter Sisulu becomes ANCYL Secretary.
Nelson Mandela succeeds Peter Mda as the new president of ANCYL.
The South African Native College is renamed the University of Fort Hare.
The ANCYL leadership becomes involved in mainstream campaigns like the Defiance Campaign (1952), the Bantu Education Campaign (1953 to 1957), The anti removals campaign in Sophiatown (1953 to 1955) and numerous other popular unrests.
7 January, Peter Mokaba future president of the ANCYL is born in Mankweng near Pietersburg (now Polokwane)
The ANC and other liberation movements are banned under the Unlawful Organisation Act. Consequently, the ANCYL dies a natural death as some of its leaders were already absorbed into the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC).  Later in the decade other Youth organisations, such as the South African Student Organisation (SASO), led by Steve Biko, emerged.
5 February, Mlungisi (Lulu) Johnson future president of the ANCYL is born.
30 August, Malusi Gigaba future president of the ANCYL is born at Eshowe, KwaZulu Natal.
3 March, Julius Sello Malema future president of the ANCYL is born in Seshego.
South African Youth Congress (SAYCO) is established, under the leadership of Peter Mokaba who later becomes the ANCYL’s first president after the unbanning of the ANC.
The Provisional National Youth Committee prompts the re-establishment of the ANCYL.
24 February, The provisional ANCYL branch of Diepkloof is launched. 
The ANCYL is re-launched with the aim of supporting negotiations during the transition to democracy, with Peter Mokaba as president.
Mlungisi “Lulu” Johnson takes over from Peter Mokaba as president of the ANCYL.
Malusi Gigaba succeeds Lulu Johnson as president of the ANCYL at the age of 25 years probably the first person to lead the League at that age.
19-20 March, The ANCYL holds its 20th National Congress at the World Trade Centre in Johannesburg.
5 - 8 April, The ANCYL holds its 21st National Congress in Mangaung in the Free State Province.
Fikile Mbalula succeeds Malusi Gigaba as president of the ANCYL.
18-22 August, The ANCYL holds its 22nd National Congress at at NASREC.
December, The ANCYL’s National Executive Committee disbands the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Committee (PEC).

The outgoing ANC President Thabo Mbeki and incoming President Jacob Zuma at the Polokwane Conference. Source:

March, The ANC endorses a decision by the ANCYL’s National Executive Committee to disband the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Committee.
It was resolved that a new Provincial Task Team (PTT) will be established in place of the disbanded PEC and Regional Tasks teams would also be set up in the Cacadu, Ukhahlamba, Chris Hani and Amathole regions.
18 December, ANCYL under Fikile Mbalula plays an instrumental role in the succession of Thabo Mbeki at the ANC 52 Conference at Polokwane, where he lost to Jacob Zuma.
2-6 April,At a rather chaotic ANCYL conference in Mangaung, Bloemfontein, Julius Malema succeeds the outgoing ANCYL President, Fikile Mbalula.
June, In his bid for Jacob Zuma to become President of South Africa, Julius Malema vows to take up arms and kill for him.

President Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema. Source:

27-30 June, The 23rd National Congress of the ANCYL initially held from 2 - 6 April 2008, Mangaung, Free State, is reconvened on 27-30 June 2008 at the Johannesburg Expo Centre.
May, Jacob Zuma is elected president of South Africa during the fourth national election.
March, Julius Malema is charged with hate speech by the Equality Court over comments he made about a woman who accused Jacob Zuma of rape, saying she “had a nice time”.
Julius Malema urges ANC Youth League members to join the South African National Defence Force, and states that there were plans for the Youth League leadership to join the reservist programme. The military training was confirmed in May 2010, with the naval training due to commence in September 2010.
Julius Malema sings struggle song Ayesaba Amagwala with lyrics “Dubul’ ibhunu” (“Shoot the Boer”) at a rally. Later in March, the Southern Gauteng High Court ruled that its singing was “unconstitutional and unlawful”.
3 April,Julius Malema visits Zimbabwe where he praises Robert Mugabe and the violent seizure of land from white farmers. 
8 April, Julius Malema responds to a remark in a media briefing by BBC journalist Jonah Fisher about his lifestyle by denouncing him as a “bloody agent” and a “bastard” and ordered security to throw him out.
10 April, Jacob Zuma, speaking at a Durban news conference, characterises Julius Malema’s conduct as “alien to the ANC”.
18 April, Julius Malema is charged with bringing the ANC and government into disrepute over his Zimbabwe comments, his treatment of Mr Fisher and his comparison of President Jacob Zuma to the former President Thabo Mbeki.
11 May, Julius Malema enters into a plea bargain over the charges. He is fined R10 000, made to publicly apologise and attend anger management classes. He was also warned of suspension from the ANC if he re-offended within two years.
6 August, The ANCYL announces the closure of Lembede Investments Holdings which operated as its investment wing. This was after allegations that the company had violated the Companies Act.
July, Lehlogonolo Masoga, a former chairperson of the ANCYL in Limpopo province is expelled by the national body of the ANCYL.
24-27 August, The ANCYL holds its first National General Council in Gallagher Estate, Johannesburg. At the end of the meeting, the league claims in a declaration that it had 560 additional audited branches.

ANC YL Leader Julius Malema in Zimbabwe April 2010. Source:

13 -21 December, The National Youth Development Agency hosts the 17 Youth World Youth Festival. The event is criticised as an ANCYL jamboree in which tax- payers’ money was wasted.
05 June,Julius Malema praises the former president Thabo Mbeki, at the town where Mbeki was defeated by Zuma, Polokwane, Limpopo.
June, Julius Malema reiterates his criticism of whites “stealing land” and advocates Zimbabwe-style redistribution.
16-20 June, ANCYL holds its 24th National Congress at Gallager estate in Midrand, Gauteng. Julius Malema is re-elected as the League’s President for the second term after his contender Lebogang Meile declines to stand against him.
July,  South African newspaper City Press accuses Julius Malema of running a secret trust fund for businessmen to deposit cash in return for his influence over the awarding of tenders.  
3 August, Amid the accusations of a secret trust fund, Julius Malema calls for regime change in Botswana and claims the country’s president Ian Khama is a “puppet” of the United States.
18 August, Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela says she will investigate the company On-Point Engineering, run by a close associate of Malema and in which he owns shares, over the awarding of tenders.
19 August, The ANC confirms that Julius Malema has been charged with “sowing divisions” in the party and bringing the party “into disrepute”.

Malema and President Zuma at the ANCYL Conference June 2011. Source:

September, Julius Malema appears before the ANC Disciplinary Committee headed by Derek Hanekom. The first day of the hearing is disrupted by a major unrest in downtown Johannesburg, leading to a postponement and a change of venue.
27 October, Julius Malema leads ANCYL’s “Economic Freedom March”, where he strongly maintains the Leagues call for nationalisation of mines.
October, Tokyo Sexwale, Human Settlements Minister testifies in the hearing of ANCYL President, Julius Malema. He calls for the ANC to consider accepting Julius Malema’s apology.
2 October, The ANCYL’s National Executive Committee disbands the KwaZulu Natal Provincial Executive Committee (PEC).
6 October, The uMkonto weSizwe Veterans Association (MKVA) in the KwaZulu Natal province criticises the disbanding of the ANCYL PEC and vows to stand behind the suspended PEC.
6 November, ANC’s NDC closes its case against Julius Malema and his co-accused.
10 November, Julius Malema and his co-accused are found guilty by the NDC and he (Julius Malema) suspended for five years, the League spokesman Floyd Shivambu is suspended for three years.
November, Julius Malema who vows to appeal for the NDC ruling.
25 November, The ANCYL announces the suspension of Johan Mkhatshwa the secretary of the youth league in the Mpumalanga province and three other provincial executive committee members.
December, The ANCYL Conference at the University of the Western Cape fails to materialise owing to the poor attendance of delegates and the ANCYL president fails to arrive to address the delegates.