About Us


Introductory Remarks

  • The History of the African National Congress Youth League is undeniably a revolutionalising history of South Africa.
  • The young and dedicated activists who gathered at the Bantu Men’s Social Centre in 1944 became the true and dedicated revolutionaries who changed South Africa’s political atmosphere.
  • When the founding generation of the ANC YL proclaimed

The idea of the Youth League

  • In SA, there was growing militancy of the Trade Union Movement and the Communist Party of South Africa.
  • The Youth felt the need to form a militant youth league of the ANC.
  • The youth thereby chose to take a stance opposite to that of their parent organisation, which they increasingly viewed as pacifist and liberal.
  • Lionel Mxolisi Majombozi, a medical student at Wits University, was the first to moot the idea of forming the ANC Youth League arguing that it be presented to the to the ANC old guard as move to recruit young people and thus hiding its real intentions, viz. Of transforming a moribund organisation into a militant agent of political change.
  • During the ANC Annual Conference in 1942, the emergence of militancy amongst the African youth groups was noted, and the conference instructed the ANC National Executive Committee to form the Youth League of the ANC.

The formative years

  • There was no apparent progress through the remainder of 1943, and the December 1943 Conference of the ANC again called for the formation of the Congress Youth League.
  • This call was followed by the formation of the National Provisional Committee in March 1944, which consisted of the following leaders:
  1. William Nkomo (Chairperson)
  2. Lionel Mxolisi Majombozi (Secretary)
  3.  Anton Lambede
  4. Oliver Tambo
  5.  Walter Sisulu (Joint Convenor)
  6.  Congress Mbatha (Joint Convenor)
  7.  David Bopape
  8.  Wilson Z Conco
  9.  D.V. Maqanda
  10.  J. Malepe
  11. A.B. Sililo
  12.  And Thabethe



in 1944, few people had the hope that there was a possibility that ultimately, black people and women in South Africa will gain the freedom, rights and independence we currently enjoy.

  • The formation of the ANC YL radically reshaped the methods of struggle against oppression and gave new energy to the National Liberation Movement.


Official Launch of the ANC YL

  • The official launch of the ANC YL took place on September 10, 1944 at the Bantu Men’s Social Centre in Johannesburg.
  • The Manifesto was unveiled the same day.
  • Anton Lambede was elected President and Nelson Mandela/Oliver Tambo elected Secretary.
  • The National Executive Committee elected in the Congress included:
  1.  William Nkomo
  2.  Walter Sisulu
  3.  A.P. Mda
  4. Robert Resha
  5. Robert Sobukwe
  6. Oliver Tambo
  7.  Mxolisi Majombozi
  8.  Dilizintaba Mji

African Nationalism

  • The ANC YL was formed to supplement, consolidate and give new impetus to the struggle against racial oppression as championed by the ANC.
  • Yet emphasis was placed on African Nationalism, which affirmed the role of Africans as their own liberators within SA and abroad.
  • The African Nationalism espoused by the ANC YL did not imply reverse racism, but emphasised the emancipation of Africans as the primary focus of political engagements and programmes.
  • Whilst affirming African Leadership, African Nationalism did not suggest the exclusion of whites as interpreted by the PAC in 1959.