About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1912

After the Anglo-Boer, the South African Act of Union is passed in 1910. The Act denies political rights to the black population, other than those rights already granted to a small number of blacks in the former Cape Colony. A welter of legislative measures are promulgated, designed to control freedom of movement (pass laws), and to force black people to work as labourers (poll taxes) in the white-owned economy, particularly in the burgeoning gold and diamond mines.

In response African intellectual leaders come together on January 8 in Bloemfontein and elect John Langalibalele Dube President of the South African Native National Congress. The two men most involved in bringing this to fruition, Solomon Plaatje and Pixley ka Isaka Seme are elected Secretary-General and Treasurer-General respectively. (The organisation changed its name in 1923 to the African National Congress.)

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.