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The ANC is a national liberation movement. It was formed in 1912 to unite the African people and spearhead the struggle for fundamental political, social and economic change.
The ANC's key objective is the creation of a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society.
This means the liberation of Africans in particular and black people in general from political and economic bondage. It means uplifting the quality of life of all South Africans, especially the poor.
The ANC is in an alliance with the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Each Alliance partner is an independent organisation with its own constitution, membership and programmes. The Alliance is founded on a common commitment to the objectives of the National Democratic Revolution, and the need to unite the largest possible cross-section of South Africans behind these objectives.
Jacob Zuma was born on 12 April 1942 in Inkandla, KwaZulu-Natal Province.
His father died at the end of World War II, after which his mother took up employment as a domestic worker in Durban. He spent his childhood moving between Zululand and the suburbs of Durban, and by age 15 took on odd jobs to supplement his mother's income.
Owing to his deprived childhood, Jacob Zuma did not receive any formal schooling. Heavily influenced by a trade unionist family member, he became involved in politics at an early age and joined the African National Congress in 1959. He became an active member of Umkhonto We Sizwe in 1962, following the banning of the ANC in 1960.
While on his way out of the country in 1963, he was arrested with a group of 45 recruits near Zeerust in what was then the western Transvaal (now the Northern West Province). Convicted of conspiring to overthrow the government, he was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment, which he served on Robben Island.