South African’s National Liberation Movement

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ANC Statements


The African National Congress marks the 79th Anniversary of the African National Congress Youth League, formed on this day 10 September 1944 at the Bantu Men’s Social Centre in Johannesburg.

Towering figures of our liberation struggle such as A. P. Mda, Albertina Sisulu, Anton Lembede, David Bopape, Dan Tloome, Ellen Kuzwayo, Jordan Ngubane, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu, amongst others, formed a Youth League to introduce dynamism and radicalisation into the ANC which was at the forefront in challenging the repressive and despotic apartheid regime.

This is well articulated in the founding document of the Youth League, the 1944 Manifesto:

“South Africa has a complex problem. Stated briefly it is: The contact of the White race with the Black has resulted in the emergence of a set of conflicting living conditions and outlooks on life which seriously hamper South Africa’s progress to nationhood. . . The majority of White men regard it as the destiny of the White race to dominate the man of colour. The harshness of their domination, however, is rousing in the African feelings of hatred of everything that bars his way to full and free citizenship and these feelings can no longer be suppressed. . .

The African National Congress is the symbol and embodiment of the African’s will to present a united national front against all forms of oppression, but this has not enabled the movement to advance the national cause in the manner demanded by prevailing conditions. And this, in turn,

has drawn on it criticisms in recent times which cannot be ignored if Congress is to fulfil its mission in Africa…

The formation of the African National Congress Youth League is an answer and assurance to the critics of the national movement that African Youth will not allow the struggles and sacrifices of their fathers to have been in vain. Our fathers fought so that we, better equipped when our time came, should start and continue from where they stopped”

As we continue to extricate our nation from the morass created and entrenched in all facets of society by inherited apartheid patterns. We reassert this clarion call and refrain contained in the Youth League’s founding manifesto.

The Youth must not allow the struggles and sacrifices of our forebears to be in vain. Our forebears fought so that we are equipped to address the twin tasks of the ANC Youth League.

As the Youth League marks its 79th anniversary, the African National Congress looks forward to initiatives from the Youth League that will ensure that young people defend the gains of democracy so that the National Democratic Revolution is not undermined.

The ANC stands ready to support the Youth League to lead efforts to establish sufficient support and diversionary programmes available for youth through more community recreational, sports and educational facilities.

Furthermore, The ANC stands ready to support the Youth League in ensuring that the energies of young people lend vigour and dynamism to the process of social transformation by organising and campaigning around issues of special interest to young people in both economic and social spheres.

May the spirit of the 1944 generation continue to live on. May the current generation pick up the baton.




Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri
076 891 5420

JP Louw
066 056 0911