Today is the 8th of January, an important date in South African history. On this very date in 1912 ANC was founded by, among others, Pixley ka Seme. The party began as something of a Xhosa interests organisation, but under the legendary leadership of Chief Albert Luthuli grew to become a real nuisance for the apartheid government. Other prominent leaders of the party were of course Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela. The latter is now over 90 years old, and is beginning to show signs of disapproval with the current leaders of the ANC.
Reports from South African media suggest that Madiba (Mandela’s “nickname”) is not going to participate in the ANC’s 97th anniversary. Reports also say that neither will the former president Thabo Mbeki join in the celebration, but that comes as no surprise as he has practically been kicked out of the party. However, the fact that Madiba may choose to stay home today has to be seen as a way for the founding father of the modern South Africa to show his disliking with what is going on within the ANC.
There is of course always the chance that Madibas old age prevents him from participating in the event, but if we don’t see any video greeting or hear any phone call at the venue we know what is about to happen. The old leader is about to abandon ANC.
This “dumping” of the party could possible have great consequences for the ANC in the election in April this year. Parties like DA (Democratic Alliance), ID (Independent Demarcates), and the newly founded Cope (Congress of the People) may try to capitalize on the fact that ANC has distance itself so much from reality that not even Madiba wants to be associated with them.
Hopefully, Madiba’s action will work as an alarm clock for the South African people. They will see that supporting ANC is not a must anymore, and that perhaps other parties are better fitted to be running the country. The fact that DA is making good progress in Cape Town (where they are the ruling party) and that ANC doesn’t have any substantial support in the urban areas clearly prospects a sigh of change. Lets only hope that this change will not end up in political violence.
Ps. Other important events that occurred at this date includes the birthday of the co-founder of evolutionary theory Alfred Wallace, and music legends Elvis Presley and David Bowie. (Hope I haven't forgotten anyone's birthday now...)
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