The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) is a political party whose presence in the South African political landscape spans just over half a century. The PAC’s origins came about as result of the lack of consensus on the Africanist debate within the African National Congress (ANC). When the Freedom Charter was adopted at Kilptown in 1955, those who championed the Africanist ideological stance felt that this was a betrayal of the struggle.

The deepening of political differences broke out into the open in November 1958. At the Transvaal provincial congress of the ANC, ‘Africanist’ members were excluded from the hall. This group of people resolved to break away from the ANC and form a political party. On 6 April 1959 the PAC was formed at Orlando Community Hall in Soweto. Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, an ardent Africanist, who was key to the breakaway, was elected as its founding president and Potlako Leballo as secretary.

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe

Teacher, lecturer, lawyer, Fort Hare University SRC President, secretary of the ANC branch in Standerton, founding member and first president of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and Robben Island prisoner. Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe was born to Hubert and Angelina Sobukwe on 5 December 1924 at Graaff-Reinet, Cape Province. He was the youngest of five boys and one girl. His father worked as a municipal labourer and a part-time woodcutter,

Dr. Motsoko Pheko

15 June, The PAC deputy president Motsoko Pheko is elected as the new PAC president at the party’s national elective congress held at Vista University. Pheko received 616 votes while his opponent Maxwell Nemadzivhanani received 209 votes. Themba Godi is elected as deputy president, Mofihli Likotsi the new Secretary General, Raymond Kgaudi Treasurer; Ntsie Mohloai was elected as National Organizer while Joe Mkhwanazi was elected National Chairperson.

Potlako Leballo

Leader in the Africanist movement and National Secretary in the Pan Africanist Congress, serving as its secretary general from its founding in April 1959, and later as its acting president in exile.He was born in 1924 near Mafeteng, Basutoland (now Lesotho), the son of an Anglican minister. In 1940, while a student at Lovedale, he concealed his age and enlisted in a non-European transport unit of the South African Army.

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