ANC marks a 100 years with R100m party

2012-01-06 14:25
Johannesburg - The ANC is to mark its centenary with an elaborate and expensive celebration in Bloemfontein, the city where it was founded.

The ANC, which was formed in 1912 to channel the opposition of blacks to white minority rule, has been South Africa's ruling party since the fall of apartheid in 1994.

According to ANC chairperson Baleka Mbeti, the main centenary celebration at the weekend will draw no fewer than 100 000 people and cost no less than R100m.

Forty-six heads of state will be among the 6 000 invited guests from neighbouring Zimbabwe and as far afield as Germany and India to converge on Bloemfontein, she said.

"All South Africans and people of the continent and the world are again invited to grace this auspicious occasion," the party said in a recent statement.

ANC veteran and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela will be absent. The 94-year-old former president is reportedly too frail to travel.

Inner circle

But the event will bring together the party inner circle and those who have been either ousted or shunned in recent years, such as Mandela's successor Thabo Mbeki.

Desmond Tutu, the moral force at the height of the ANC's campaign to bring about an end to black oppression but now increasingly critical of the ruling party, will also be among the guests.

President Jacob Zuma is to deliver a speech.

Some opposition parties have used the occasion to accuse the ANC of revising history to amplify its own role in the anti-apartheid struggle and minimise that of rival movements.

The celebrations will include a ceremony at the Wesleyan Church, the place where the ANC was founded as the South African Native National Congress.

Accolades have been pouring in from other African liberation movements, most of them with strong ties to the ANC that date back to the 1960s and, like it, also now in government.

Liberation movements

"We have learned a lot from the ANC as a liberation movement from the times of colonialism in Zimbabwe and apartheid in South Africa," said Dydmus Mutasa, a spokesperson for Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF party.

"We cherish every moment we have been together. We hope that the relationship is maintained," Mutasa told dpa.

President Michael Sata of Zambia, a country that once gave refuge to a host of liberation movements from across southern Africa, thanked the ANC for its solidarity.

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and members of his ruling FRELIMO party will also be among the guests at Bloemfontein.

Throughout its existence, the ANC has experienced highs and lows, as a liberation movement with periods where it was unable to muster resistance to white minority rule and as a government unable to adequately meet the demands of its people.

But ultimately, on April 27 1994, as a liberation movement the ANC achieved its goal after millions of people from all racial groups queued to cast their ballots in the first democratic elections.

With four general elections behind it, the party has never won less than 60% of the vote.

But the criticism of the party, initially coming from the white population fearful of communism and terrorism and from those who feared or refused to accept black rule, is now increasingly coming from those whose rights it fought tooth and nail for under apartheid.

The ANC government's efforts to alleviate poverty and bring about economic reform is regularly questioned.
Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  anc centenary

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.