Sat Oct 22 05:33:55 CAT 2016

Mangaung, birthplace of the ANC, has become a hub of disunity and shame

By unknown | Dec 17, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Themba Molefe

Themba Molefe

Yesterday, December 16, was the Day of Reconciliation, when South Africans were again urged to forge ahead with nation-building.

And for the ANC, the road began in 1912, in Mangaung, Bloemfontein in Free State.

The journey is rooted there, at Thomas Mapikela House in Batho Location, a red brick double-storey building that looms large in the township, enhancing the city and the province's role in the ANC's history. The house towers majestically above similarly old dwellings, making them look puny, as if to stress its domination.

Mapikela was one of the founder members of the ANC. His house, where important ANC meetings were held, has been declared a national monument.

Nelson Mandela once remarked: "Bloemfontein reflects the crossroads of South Africa's history - a geographic centre and a political hub.

"The founding conference in Mangaung, Bloemfontein, on January 8 1912, brought together great patriots such as John Langalibalele Dube, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Sol Plaatje, Sam Makgatho, Walter Rubusana, Charlotte Maxeke, Thomas Mapikela and Edward Tsewu."

"Now, nearly a century later, the city is giving birth to this new party too," the BBC reported this week.

On the campus of the University of the Free State, the new Congress of the People delegates met to launch their new party.

And to counter the effect of its breakaway faction, the ANC decided to hold its Day of Reconciliation and Umkhonto we Sizwe's 47th anniversary in the same city. In one fell swoop, a city with a proud history behind Africa's oldest liberation movement became a hub of disunity and shame.

This as the crack in the ANC finally became a crevice, a hole on the Day of Reconciliation decreed by the ruling party.


Login OR Join up TO COMMENT