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The ANC is formed – 1912

The wars of resistance ended with the defeat of Bambata’s rebellion. Africans had to find new ways to fight for their land and their freedom. In 1911, Pixley ka Isaka Seme called on Africans to forget the differences of the past and unite together in one national organisation. He said: “We are one people. these divisions, these jealousies, are the cause of all our woes today.”

On January 8th 1912, chiefs, representatives of people’s and church organisations, and other prominent individuals gathered in Bloemfontein and formed the African National Congress. The ANC declared its aim to bring all Africans together as one people to defend their rights and freedoms.

The ANC was formed at a time when South Africa was changing very fast. Diamonds had been discovered in 1867 and gold in 1886. Mine bosses wanted large numbers of people to work for them in the mines. Laws and taxes were designed to force people to leave their land. The most severe law was the 1913 land Act, which prevented africans from buying, renting or using land, except in the reserves.

Many communities or families immediately lost their land because of the Land Act. for millions of other black people it became very difficult to live off the land. The Land Act caused overcrowding, land hunger, poverty and starvation.

Chris Hani Institute Frontier Theme