Founded in1912, the African National Congress worked tirelessly to promote democracy and protect the rights of South Africa's black population. Using a combination of armed struggle and conciliation, the ANC formed broad political alliances that ensured its victory in the 1994 general election and established Nelson Mandela as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. When he cast his own vote in this historic election, Mandela is said to have paid his respects at the memorial to John Dube (the first president of the ANC), proclaiming, "Mission accomplished, Mr. President." Eighty years after the ANC's founding, its dreams had finally been realized.
In The Founders: The Origins of the ANC and the Struggle for Democracy in South Africa, author André Odendaal examines the creators of South Africa's early civil rights movement. This unique book chronicles the astonishing achievements of the pioneering intellectuals and activists who, from the 1860s onwards, led the struggle for black political rights in southern Africa's new colonial societies. Using a variety of sources, Odendaal demonstrates how the founders combined African humanism -- or Ubuntu -- with Western democratic constitutionalism and Christian beliefs to shape a new political vision that countered colonial and apartheid ideas. The Founders brings to life the remarkable generation of Africans who first developed the framework, form, and content of the freedom struggle in South Africa and is essential reading for those who wish to understand the context that produced Nelson Mandela and his famous African National Congress.
"This is a unique work of high scholarship unlikely to find any rivals. Odendaal clarifies and explains in detail the much-neglected early history of the African political organizations and personalities as well as the complex culture of the emergent black press that eventually coalesced in 1912 with the formation of the African National Congress." -- Peter Limb, Michigan State University
""This is a stunning work. The Founders promised to be the kind of reference work that scholars will rely on for generations to come."--Robert Russell Edgar, Howard University" --
"André Odendaal's... The Founders, is a lavishly detailed history and tribute to the men and women who laid the foundations for African democratic political participation in South Africa." -- International Journal of African Historical Studies
"Odendaal's study is a testament to black South Africans' dogged struggle for democratic participation and representation..." -- American Historical Review
"In his lavishly detailed work, Andre' Odendaal provides an in-depth account of and tribute to the men and women who laid the foundations for African democratic political participants in South Africa.
[...] The Founders is as comprehensive as it is passionate. Odendaal's writing enriches the understanding of the ideals and efforts of a wide range of pioneering Africans who sought to make for themselves a level playing field for democracy despite the vicissitudes of whites." -- Historian