The African National Congress (ANC) was the main political party for black South Africans under Apartheid rule, and is currently the governing party.

The history of the ANC is one of struggle and conflict. In 1960, following the Sharpeville Massacre, the white-led government declared a state of emergency and banned all black political organizations. From 1960 to 1990, the ANC operated as an underground organization, basing its leadership in the neighboring country of Mozambique.

Although originally founded on the principles of non-violence, the ANC developed a military wing during this time, called Umkhonto we Sizwe (known by its acronym MK). With the intent of compelling the government to end Apartheid rule, the MK carried out numerous bombings and guerilla attacks against military and civilian sites.

After decades of tumultuous and armed confrontation, the MK suspended its operations in 1990 in preparation for the end of Apartheid. In 1994, the year of South Africa’s first democratic elections – allowing people from all races to vote – the ANC won by a landslide, capturing 62% of the vote. Nelson Mandela, the famous ANC leader, was elected President of South Africa.