Thousands of demonstrators have taken to South Africa’s streets demanding President Jacob Zuma step down, as his party’s membership plummets.
Has the African National Congress (ANC), once led by freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, who became South Africa’s first democratically elected president, lost its way?
“I saw firsthand the abject poverty of the people in the rural areas and what they suffer,” says Ndileka Mandela, the eldest granddaughter of Nelson Mandela. “The leadership, the leader, must go back to the basic tenets of the ANC, the basic tenets of the Freedom Charter.”
The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa’s governing social democratic political party. It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa on the national level, beginning with the election of Nelson Mandela in the 1994 election, the first after the end of apartheid. Today, the ANC remains the dominant political party in South Africa, winning every election since 1994. Its leader Jacob Zuma is the incumbent head of state.
Founded on 8 January 1912 by John Langalibalele Dube in Bloemfontein as the South African Native National Congress, its primary mission was to end apartheid and give voting rights to black and mixed race Africans. The ANC originally attempted to use nonviolent protests to end apartheid, however, the Sharpeville massacre resulted in the deaths of 69 black Africans and contributed to deteriorating relations with the South African government. On 8 April 1960, the administration of Charles Robberts Swart, banned the ANC and forced the party to leave South Africa. After the ban, the ANC formed the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) to fight against apartheid utilizing guerrilla warfare and sabotage. On 3 February 1990, State President F. W. de Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC and released Nelson Mandela on 11 February 1990. On 17 March 1992, the apartheid referendum was passed by the voters removing apartheid and allowing the ANC to run in the 1994 election. Since the 1994 election the ANC has performed better than 60% in all general elections, including the most recent 2014 election. (Wikipedia).