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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

The History of the SACP 1912 - 1990

Years

Important events in the party's history

Other important South Africa events

Important International events

1912

 

Launch of the ANC

 

1914

 

 

First World War

A war between imperialists

1915

The ISL

Launch of the International Socialist League

 

 

1917

 

 

The Bolshevik Revolution

The world's first socialist state is born

1919

 

ICU Launched

In a few years, it sweeps through the country

Communist International (CI) launched

Years

Important events in the party's history

Other important South Africa events

Important International events

1921

Launch of the CPSA

The first Marxist Leninist party in Africa is formed, emerging from revolutionary socialist active among white workers

 

 

1922

 

Rand Revolt

The most militant white workers' strike is antiboss and antiblack workers!

 

1924

Africanisation of the Party

Stalwarts such as JB Marks and Johannes Nkosi join the party

 

 

1926

 

ICU expels communists

The ICU's star begins to fade

 

1927

 

JT Gumede elected ANC President

A new progressive leadership emerges

 

1928

Emergence of African Leadership

1600 of the CPSA's 1750 members are black

 

CI 6th Congress

the task of the South african communist is to transform the ANC 'into a fighting nationalist revolutionary organisation'

1929

Black Republic thesis

The CPSA developes a strategic line, with the assistance of the Communist International:'The most direct line of advance to soccialism runs through the mass struggle for majority rule'

 

 

Years

Important events in the party's history

Other important South Africa events

Important International events

Early 30s

Factionalism

The CI also has negative effects:Factionalism leads to the expulsion of veterans like SP Bunting

 

 

1935

 

All African Convection

Forerunner of today's broad front politics

CI 7th congress

Dimitrov urges 'united fronts, not leftsectarianism, in the face of the fascist onslaught

Late 30s

Nonsectarianism

A nonsectarian leadership emerges around Moses Kotane

 

 

1939

 

 

Second World War

Years

Important events in the party's history

Other important South Africa events

Important International events

19415

Stonger Structures

Strong CPSA branches are built in the townships.Communists also play leading roles in building theCongress movement

 

 

1941

 

CNETU Formed

Congress of NonEuropean Trade Unions launched as South Africa's manufacturing industry booms

Soviet Union invaded

Hilter's froces slaughter 20million Soviet citizens...but are finally crushed

1945

 

 

Cold War

The antifascist war ends,but imperialism leads a renewed anticommunistpropaganda war

1946

 

Black miner's strike

100 000 miners strike, led by JB Marksa long standing Party member

 

1948

 

National Party elected whitesonly parliament

 

1949

 

ANC Programme of Action

The ANC moves towards a more militant, mass line

 

Years

Important events in the party's history

Other important South Africa events

Important International events

1950

CPSA Banned

 

 

1950s

 

Years of ANC led mass action

Defiance Campaign, Congress of the People, boycotts and national strikes

 

1953

SACP Launched

A new underground Party is launched

 

 

Late 50s

 

 

African decolonisation

African countries begin to win political independence

1959

 

PAC split

On a rightwing,anti socialist platform, Sobukwe splits from the ANC

 

Years

Important events in the party's history

Other important South Africa events

Important International events

1960s

 

 

Southern African guerilla wars

Liberation movements in Angola,Mozambique, and then Namibia and Zimbabwe launch armed struggles

1960

 

ANC banned

 

1961

 

Armed Struggle

On December 16, Umkhonto we Sizwe is launched

 

1962

Road to Freedom

At an underground conference,theSACP adopts a new programme

 

 

Mid 60s

Repression

Hundreds of communists are jailed. Some, like Vuyisile Mini, are sent to the gallows

 

 

1967

 

Wankie and Sipolilo campaigns

With ZIPRA comrades, MK combatants fight Zimbabwe

 

1969

 

ANC Morogoro Conference

 

Years

Important events in the party's history

Other important South Africa events

Important International events

1970

Augmented Central Committee

The SACP reviews 9 years of armed struggle and concludeds:' Armed struggle without mass mobilisation and organisation will lead nowwhere'

 

These struggles result in ......

1971

Internal reconstruction

The Party rebuilds its clandestine structures.Inkululeko appears a voice from ther underground

 

 

1973

 

Durban strikes

A new era of trade unionism begins

 

Mid 70s

 

 

Independence for Mozambique for Mozambique and Angola

and......

1976/7

 

Uprisings

The start of 15 years of semi insurrectionary struggles

 

Years

Important events in the party's history

Other important South Africa events

Important International events

1980

 

 

Independence for Zimbabwe

1896

65th Anniversary

Inspired by the growth of a powerful union movement, the SACP reasserts a more independent profile

 

Perestroika/glasnost

Faced with an economic crisis, the Soviet Union begins a struggle to reconnect socialism with its democratic roots

1989

7th Party Congress

A new Party programme is adopted

 

 

1990

Relaunch

The SACP is unbanned, and relaunched at a mass rally in Soweto

1989 COSATU Launched

 

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.