When the ruling party convenes in Kimberley on January 11 next year to celebrate its 108th birthday, it will be another day to remember how far the party has come.
January 8 became a key date when Oliver Tambo, a maths teacher from Bizana in the Eastern Cape succeeded Inkosi Albert Luthuli as party president and started using this day as a call for an ANC uprising. Tambo chose the date to place significance on the fact that the party was founded on January 8, 1912, in Mangaung.
Beaming the statement from radio stations either from Mozambique, Zambia or Tanzania, Tambo kept the anti-apartheid fires burning.
Thereafter, the tradition became a yearly political event and the ANC revelled in the fame it brought to the party.
It has been documented that while its members were in exile, the ANC issued its first January 8 statement in 1972. Following a hiatus, the party issued its next January 8 statement in 1979.