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.
People like to identify Thabo Mbeki as an independent and original thinker, but one who remains close to the more visible leadership. His profile as a policy shaper and mediator in the movement has been built up over a lifetime of involvement. "I was born into the struggle," he says. His birth took place in Idutywa, Transkei, on the 18th of June, 1942.
Both his parents were teachers and activists. His father is a university graduate and there were many books in his home which Thabo read at an early age. Govan Mbeki was a leading figure in ANC activities in the Eastern Cape. Believing that sooner or later they would be arrested, Mbeki's parents decided that family and friends would also be responsible for bringing up the children. Mbeki therefore spent long periods away from home.
He joined the Youth League at 14 and quickly became active in student politics. After his schooling at Lovedale was interrupted by a strike in 1959, he completed his studies at home. The...