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Message from the Secretary General

Comrades and friends, countrymen and countrywomen

We live in auspicious times.

History bestowed on us this momentous and memorable occasion, to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Africa`s oldest and remarkable liberation movement - the African National Congress (ANC). This is made even most significant by the centennial celebrations taking place within the African Century.

Our centennial celebrations are launched in 2011, the United Nation`s International Year for People of African Descent, which is "The Year (that) aims at strengthening national actions and regional and international cooperation for the benefit of people of African descent in relation to their full enjoyment of economic, cultural, social, civil and political rights, their participation and integration in all political, economic, social and cultural aspects of society, and the promotion of a greater knowledge of and respect for their diverse heritage and culture." (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO)

As we mark the hundred years we must remember. We remember so that we do not forget the path our forebears travelled to this present moment. Their memory, the memory of their struggles, pain, resilience, and heroic words and deeds must remain indelible in us and in those who shall follow. It has often been said that every nation is the sum total of its memory through which its present is shaped and its future envisioned. Memory is our weapon.

As we mark the hundred years we must celebrate. The centennial of the ANC is a hallmark achievement worth celebrating. That our movement has traversed the length and breadth of our country, continent and global village, and has stayed united through turbulent times, consistent to its mission to serve and liberate our people, is a celebration. By celebrating we reaffirm each victory and success we gained and, thereby, negate the atrocities that sought to deny us our human dignity. We are today an elevated people with equal standing as any other peoples in the world.

As we mark the hundred years we must renew. The centenary reminds us of the values, traditions and principles that shaped and held our movement throughout history and calls us to recommit ourselves moving forward. Renewal also means infusing contemporary, innovative and good practice that would enable the movement to adapt to today and tomorrow`s challenges as it seeks to realise its mission. Renewal is about ensuring the memory, legacy and heritage of the movement is passed on to the younger generation who will ensure its future posterity.

Let us celebrate our centenary in the most memorable and dignified manner befitting of our movement. Let us ensure that all South Africans, from all walks of life, celebrate this centenary. Let this centenary leave an indelible imprint of the liberation heritage in the memory of our people and our country.

Best centennial celebrations.

Comrade Gwede Mantashe
Secretary General of the ANC