According to its January, 1958 constitution, the African National Congress (ANC) stands for the “creation of a united democratic South Africa on the principles outlined in the Freedom Charter”. The new body, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), according to its April, 1959 constitution, stands for the “establishment and maintenance of an Africanist socialist democracy, recognizing the primacy of the material and spiritual interest of the individual”.

  • To rally and unite the African Youth into one national front on the basis of African nationalism.
    To give force, direction and vigor to the struggle of the African people for freedom.
  • The basic policy also gives the following resume of the historic tasks of the liberation movement:
  • The creation of a united tribe out of the heterogeneous tribes.
  • The freeing of Africa from foreign domination and foreign leadership.
  • The creation of conditions which would enable Africa to make her own contribution to human progress and happiness.


With their abandonment of African nationalism and its historic tasks, and following their active identification with the ideas and programme of the ruling class, the Charterists leadership has deflected both ideologically and politically from the true course of the liberatory movement which this Programme provided.

A comparison of these principles with those of PAC shows strikingly how consistent and continuous the evolution of the ideas of the Africanists has been. The aims and objects of PAC, indeed, are founded on a coalescence of the aims of the ANC Youth League and of the historic tasks of African nationalism: and they are, inter alia:


  • To unite and to rally the African people into one national front on the basis of African nationalism.
  • To fight for the overthrow of white domination and for the implementation and maintenance of the right to self-determination for the African people.
  • To work and strive for the establishment and the maintenance of an Africanist socialist democracy, recognizing the primacy of the material and spiritual interests of the individual.
  • To advance the concept of the Federation of Southern Africa and of Pan Africanism.


The Africanists are the former members of the original ANC Youth League, the hard core who remained unswervingly loyal to the ideas and principles of the liberatory movement when the disintegration set into it and gravitation began towards the ideas of such movements of the ruling class as Moral Rearmament, the Congress of Democrats and the Liberal Party. Most of the foundation members of PAC are the former members of the League, and these were all ex officio members of the ANC. The top leaders of PAC are, without exception, former members of the Youth League.

The Africanists gave the famous Programme of Action to the ANC; and it was from this programme that the historic Defiance Campaign flowed. It was as Youth Leaguers that they mainly planned, organized and executed that campaign. Many of the present top leaders of PAC, including the writer himself, served prison sentences for leading ‘defiance’ batches into action. Africanists have shouldered the burden of many an ANC campaign, such as the various bus boycotts. Some Africanists were cited as treason co-conspirators, some have been treason suspects and some are treason trialists today. Even in the abortive and mishandled campaign against passes for women, Africanists womanhood has played its part.

As the mouthpiece of the African people, and not of the “people of South Africa”, the Africanists consider themselves as the direct heirs and legitimate successors of both the Native and African Congress; the custodians of the policy and programme of the original Congresses. Within the ANC itself they have resisted and repudiated all overt signs and symbols of ideological deflection and susceptibility to external control. Africanist leaders are tried and tested men and women, who have both ideologically and politically, remained “sea green incorruptibles”.

Both Kliptown Charterism and multi-racial liberalism are different facets of the same ideological block, and both have already been shown to constitute open sabotage of the liberatory movement of the African people. It remains to demonstrate Charterists tactics to be a chip of the dame block.

In March 1958, a National Workers Conference decided to call a three day strike as a protest against the travesty of a general election which debarred the majority from any participation. In taking this political decision, this ad hoc body was openly sabotaging the ANC by deliberately by-passing it and openly usurping its function. In that campaign the ANC was to be relegated to the role of supporting the workers.

The campaign had a threefold object: to cut down to size the prestige and reputation of the ANC; to give a working class character to the liberatory struggle; and to oust the Nationalist Party in favour of the United Party.

The fact that the national stoppage of work day, June 26th, had been a resounding success the previous year had enhanced the prestige and the reputation of the ANC as representative of the African people. As that stoppage of work flowed from the nation-building programme of 1949, the appeal had obviously been to the Africans as a nation. The fact struck terror into the hearts of the white pseudo-leftist directorate of the ANC.

Accordingly the South African Congress of Trade Unions, a multi-racial body representing a handful of trade unions which exist largely on paper, convened the Workers’ Conference to launch this political strike and to stampede the majority of trade unions which were non-SACTU and the National Working Committee of the ANC into supporting the workers. In this way the struggle would assume a working class character.

The exhortation of ‘End Nationalist Rule’ on the posters showed the desire of the directorate to use the African and Indian masses as a touting machine fir the United Party. The strike was a damp squib. The ANC which had merely announced support for it, called it off on the first day. And the majority of voters re-elected the Nationalists and demonstrated the solidarity of the white working class.