ANC Centenary Celebrations

By Drum Digital
14 January 2012

RESIDENTS of Batho, Bloemfontein celebrated yet another milestone as their world famous neighbourhood welcomed thousands of international and local visitors including current and former heads of states, senior politicians, Kings, and dignitaries. That’s because the oldest liberation movement in Africa, the ANC is celebrating its centenary. For the next eleven months, the ANC will hold festivities throughout the country marking this historic achievement.

Its’ here in 1912 that 91 men from South Africa and beyond congregated to launch the South African Native National Congress (SANNC)which was later renamed the ANC.

Today the world is celebrating the heroism of the first executive committee elected in 1912, with Dube as President, Solomon Plaatje as Secretary, Pixley ka Isaka Seme as Treasurer, and Thomas Mapikela as Speaker. For quite a while it was thought that the ANC was established in the house of Thomas Mapikela but later it was discovered that it was actually in the tiny Wesleyan Church in Waaihoek, just a few meters from Mapikela’s red brick double-story house that the organisation was formed.


THE Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon is among world leaders who congratulated the ANC on its centenary.

“The ANC is more than a political party - it's a movement and an expression of a vision - the commitment and sacrifice of its members that led to the emancipation of a nation from racist colonial rule.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron says "The African National Congress has been a beacon for the world in the fight against discrimination and the struggle for freedom from oppression - it stood up for the rights of all South Africans.”

Former president F W de Klerk says for the first 82 years of existence the ANC was the principal voice of generations of disenfranchised South Africans who were striving for full political rights and equality. “The ANC, together with other prominent political parties, played a leading role in the negotiations that led to the establishment of our present non-racial constitutional democracy.

Rev Jesse Jackson congratulates the ANC, and encourages them to continue with the struggle of economic empowerment.

Former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda warned South Africa against repeating the same mistakes that other African countries, such as Zimbabwe, had made in trying to resolve the land issue

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni praised the ANC for doing the entire continent proud by introducing a plan to instil non-racialism through the Freedom Charter.

"The way you handled the issue of racism - the Freedom Charter - that was a master stroke when you said it does not matter who you are, whether you are black or white."


·         The three day festivities started with the centenary golf day on Friday the 6th where ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni a Rivonia trialist opened the tournament.

·         On the 7th a thanks-giving ceremony was held at the Wesleyan Church in Waaihoek.

·         The ceremony was followed by an inter-cultural event at the Mangaung Outdoor Sport Complex and a Centenary Dinner hosted by Zuma.

·         There was also a poetry reading by amongst others, Wally Serote, Baleka Mbete, Don Mattera and Willie Kgositsile, at Maphikela Square, Batho township. The AbaThembu presenting a gift of 50 cattle to the ANC.

·         On 8th January, the actual date for the birthday of the ANC, the main events started with an interdenominational church service at the Wesleyan Church in the morning, followed by the Centennial Statement by Zuma.

·         That was followed by Tshihumbudzo, a story of the ANC in song and dance.

The year-long celebrations will take place throughout the country. The centenary flame which was lit at the main event will travel across the country as part of the celebrations.

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