The African National Congress (ANC) was founded in 1912 based mostly on the ideas of Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, in response to the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910. He called on all Africans to forget their differences and to focus on regaining rule of their land, with had been given to the British settlers and Boers by the United Kingdom. He said, "We are one people. these divisions, these jealousies, are the cause of all our woes today."

It is currently led by Thabo Mbeki; previous leaders include Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo. Since 1912, it has been dedicated to protest against apartheid and racism, organising strikes against passes, poor treatment in mines, and opposing unjust laws. In the early nineties, Oliver Tambo and Thabo Mbeki led negotiations with the South African government over organising a timetable for talks about the breaking of apartheid. This led to Nelson Mandela's release, talks, and eventually the Government of National Unity after the ANC gained a 62% majority at the polls. The second term of ANC rule was confirmed with the second democratic elections on 2 June 1999.

The ANC is the senior partner of a tri-partite alliance consisting of the ANC, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). The ANC has a Women's League (interestingly, the ANC didn't accept women as members when it was initially formed) and a Youth League. The military wing, Umkhonto weSizwe (also known as "MK"), has been somewhat integrated into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

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