Tuesday, 2 February 2010

South Africa marks 20 years of unbanning of liberation movements

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the unbanning of the ruling party African National Congress (ANC) and other liberation movements from participation in politics. Former State President FW de Klerk stunned the world on February 2, 1990 when he announced in Parliament that his Government had decided to release jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela unconditionally and unban the ANC and the South African Communist Party.

The announcement led to the ANC suspending its armed struggle against the apartheid Government a few months later and the suspension of sanctions against South Africa. The party eventually took over the Government after peaceful elections in 1994, followed by Mandela's inauguration as the country's first democratically-elected President.

The day comes on the back of the party’s 98th anniversary celebrations which have been held countrywide. ANC officials have been criss-crossing the country to commemorate this milestone, at the same breath sharing messages of hope with the party’s loyalists.

Among issues engaged during the 98th anniversary celebrations have been the party’s stance to root out corruption among officials, to speed up service delivery, eradicate poverty as well some lambasting factionalism within provincial and local party structures. During these celebrations, party members chanted revolutionary songs, donned in full party regalia, reminding themselves of the long path they had travelled to liberation.