The African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa

African National Congress Flag

In South African politics, the iconic combination of black, green and yellow colors can only be associated with the African National Congress (ANC). These colors have become synonymous with the party and are widely recognized as its distinctive visual identity.

Since 1994, the African National Congress has been the governing social-democratic political party in South Africa. Originally founded as the South African Native National Congress in 1912, the organization aimed to advocate for the rights of black South Africans.

However, when the National Party government took power in 1948 and implemented the apartheid policy, the ANC shifted its central purpose to opposing this policy. The organization adopted mass political techniques and launched civil disobedience campaigns, which culminated in the Defiance Campaign of 1952-53.

The ANC was banned by the South African government in 1960, leading to its exile by state repression and the imprisonment of its leaders on Robben Island, including the country’s first black president, Nelson Mandela. The organization continued its campaign against apartheid through sabotage and guerrilla warfare carried out by its military wing, uMkhonto we Sizwe, in partnership with the South African Communist Party.

Despite being labeled as a terrorist organization by the governments of South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom, the ANC positioned itself as a key player in negotiations to end apartheid.

Following the repeal of the ban in 1990, the party has continued to identify as a liberation movement while also registering as a political party. It has maintained a comfortable electoral majority at the national level and in most provinces and has provided each of South Africa’s five presidents since 1994.

However, its electoral majority has consistently declined since 2004, and in the 2021 local elections, its share of the national vote dropped below 50% for the first time ever.

South Africa’s ruling party has faced numerous controversies over the last decade, with allegations of political corruption among its members being particularly prominent. It has formed a Tripartite Alliance with the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

It must be noted that South Africa is considered a dominant-party state; however, there is no doubt that the ANC is the dominant party.