South Africa’s ANC Party Turns 100

Posted January 5th, 2012 at 11:50 am (UTC-5)
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South Africa's African National Congress party, which struggled to end a whites-only government and inspired people around the world, will mark its 100th anniversary on Sunday.

The ANC says events this weekend will celebrate the party's core principle of allowing people to chose their own destiny in a “united, non-racial, non-sexist nation.”

While festivities will be held throughout the year, the ANC says the main event will take place on January 8 in Mangaung, Free State Province. Dozens of heads of state and dignitaries are expected.

It is not clear if anti-apartheid icon and former President Nelson Mandela will attend. The 93-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate has retired from public life and is said to be frail.

Mr. Mandela led the struggle against the apartheid system of white-minority rule. In 1994, the ANC leader became South Africa's first black president, and the party has ruled the country ever since.

However, the ANC's popularity has eroded in recent years amid claims of corruption and failure to deliver basic services to South Africans.

In May, the ANC comfortably won municipal elections, but its share of the vote dropped. Meanwhile, the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, saw its share of the vote increase.

The DA party has ruled the southwestern city of Cape Town since 2006. It is traditionally made up of white and mixed-race voters.