ISBN 9780798304368
Pages 328
Dimensions 244 x 170 mm
Published 2014
Publisher Africa Institute of South Africa, South Africa
Format Paperback

The Future We Chose

Emerging Perspectives on the Centenary of the ANC

edited by Busani Ngcaweni

This book foregrounds emerging and different perspectives on the centenary of the ANC which was celebrated in February 2012. Differing in tenor, methodology and style, we present nineteen chapters that tackle various epochs and events in the making of the centenary of the oldest political organisation in Africa. The book offers new angles to our understanding of what sustained the ANC over one hundred years in spite of all the internal and external contradictions.

There is arguably a view that part of what distinguishes the ANC from other revolutionary movements in the continent is that from the turn of the twentieth century its founders prioritised national unity across tribal, ethnic, linguistic, religious, gender and racial identities. This ideal of national unity informed their responses to the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 and the declaration of the South African Republic in 1961. In principle, the leadership was opposed not to these manifestations of concrete nation state formation but to the practice of excluding the majority of South African citizens according to racial markers.

As a contribution to the historiography of the ANC and that of South Africa which it was established to liberate, the book tackles the following critical questions: what traits in the ANC's genetic code have kept it alive for one hundred years? Is the ANC on course to meeting its historical mission of building an equitable, nonracial, non-sexist and socially-democratic society as articulated in the Africans' Claims, the Freedom Charter and the Strategy and Tactics documents? Finally, would the ANC continue to retain relevance for a bicentenary especially as it now contends with new internal and external contradictions in an increasingly unequally society and unipolar world order? This new hypothetical architecture, hopefully, will be employed by many others engaged in the study of the rise and fall of political organisations.

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"The earliest ‘Native Congress’ in South Africa emanated from a meeting in the library in King Williams Town in 1890, and rooted African intellectuals guided and led the ANC for generations through various formulations and phases of struggle until it achieved its task of bringing dignified democracy to South Africa. In recent years, many have felt that the ANC – gone flabby in government - has departed from core values and lost the ability to be healthily self-critical. That it has become even anti-intellectual. This volume shows that there are still critical minds within the organisation. Editor Busani Ngcaweni and leading thinkers in the ANC here pose questions to their own movement. In the process of grappling to develop understandings of the present and a vision for the future in an unequal and resource-scarce world still shaped by imperialist agendas – though now from a position more acquainted with the the dynamics of power – the contributors to The Future We Chose: Emerging Perspectives on the Centenary of the ANC are continuing the long-standing intellectual traditions which enabled the ANC of Tambo, Mandela and Sisulu to become liberators in a real sense."

Prof Andre Odendaal, Author of The Founders: The origins of the ANC and the struggle for democracy in South Africa

About the Editor

Busani Ngcaweni

Busani Ngcaweni is Deputy Director-General in The Presidency and Chief of Staff to the Deputy President. He holds an MSc from Natal University and is pursuing doctoral studies in the Development Studies Department with the University of Johannesburg where he is also a fellow at the Institute for Pan African Thought and Conversations. At the time of completing this book, he was Visiting Scholar at Ryerson University in Toronto. His previous books include The Future we Chose: Emerging Perspectives on the Centenary of the ANC (AISA, 2013), Liberation Diaries: Reflections on 20 Years of Democracy in South Africa (Jacana Media, 2014), and Nelson R. Mandela: Decolonial Ethics of Liberation and Servant Leadership (Africa World Press, 2016) with Professor Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni. 

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