South Africa: The SACP At 100 - Party With a Rich History Faces an Uncertain Future


Over the weekend, the South African Communist Party celebrated its 100th anniversary. While this is a moment of celebration for its leadership, some might believe the party has had more to celebrate in the past than it does now. It is clear that the SACP faces important challenges and might be battling to differentiate itself from the ANC and finding its distinct spot in South African politics.

Throughout its history, the SACP has shown itself able to withstand all manner of external pressure and it may be unreasonable ever to claim that the party does not have an important influence in our politics. In some ways, its most powerful weapon is its greatest weakness -- its closeness to the ANC, which to many can appear to be the party's defining point.

There can be no doubt of the great change that the century of the SACP's existence has seen. Formed as the Communist Party of South Africa it emerged in the years just after the Russian Revolution, at a time of economic boom in South Africa and as the world was recovering from World War 1 and the Spanish flu pandemic. On the surface, South Africa now is completely different...

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