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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

The Pan-African Congress

The decision made by the Africanists in November 1958 to found a new movement, and the reasons for this, are described above.

They met in Johannesburg during April 1959, and decided to establish a body to be called the Pan-African Congress (referred to below as the P.A.C.). Although Mr. Josias Madzunya had led the break-away movement, he was not elected to office. Mr. Robert Sobukwe, lecturer in Zulu at the University of the Wit-watersrand, was elected President, Mr. Pollako K. Lcballo National Secretary, Mr. E. A. Mfaxa National Organiser, and Mr. A. B. Ngcobo Treasurer.

Mr. Sobukwe said that the P.A.C. rejected apartheid, but it also rejected multi-racialism. It aimed "at government of the Africans by the Africans, and for the Africans, with everybody who owes his only loyalty to Africa and is prepared to accept the democratic rule of an African majority being regarded as an African", It guaranteed no minority rights because it thought in . terms of individuals, not groups. It aimed at a universal adult franchise.

Mr. J. D. Nyaosc of the P.A.C. is reported'"' to have said at a subsequent conference in Durban that it was of the greatest importance that the African's bargaining power should be built up as a first objective. He would then be in a position where the dignity of his person would be respected and from where he could proceed to meet members of the at present more privileged groups as an equal.

It will be noted that this is somewhat reminiscent of General Hcrt/.og's "two-stream" policy which was developed during the first years after Union and was adopted by the Nationalist Parly when this was originally founded.

The main difference between the A.N.C. and the P.A.C. is that the former accepts the concept of a multi-racial society in which all citizens will have equal political rights, and is prepared to co-operate with all groups who share this ideal. The P.A.C. rejects multi-racialism because it wishes to focus attention on individuals rather than groups, and considers that the Africans should build up their bargaining power before they negotiate with others. So strongly do some members feel on the latter point that Mr. Miadzunya, for one, is reported24 to have withdrawn his allegiance to Mr. Sobukwe (although not to the P.A.C.) because certain office-bearers held discussions with members of the Liberal Party.

The P.A.C. has adopted a green flag with a black map of Africa and a gold star tin it. (The A.N.C.'s flag has green, black and gold stripes.) The National Secretary is reported25 to have said on 2 August that by then the P.A.C. 'had nearly 25,000 members in 101 branches.

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.