n Journal for Contemporary History - The 23rd African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) conference in Bloemfontein : a Polokwane political hangover?

Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



The ANCYL played a significant role in the history of the ANC, therefore the actions of its members at their 23rd conference in Bloemfontein were disturbing for the ANC. Already in the build-up it was clear that rivalries between factions were rife and before the conference started there had been disruptions. The article highlights the reasons behind the rivalry and the ANC's leadership's handling of the situation. The rivalry was not due to ideological differences but to support for personalities. The ANC leaders and ex-ANCYL leaders aired their dissatisfaction with the unruly conduct and the pursuit of political self-advancement. Many members rejected the outcome of the leadership election and the congress was adjourned. The ANC intervened and at a closed session later that month the election of the five officials and the National Executive Commission was maintained. A number of organizational, policy and leadership issues were discussed. The divisions were, however, still apparent. The conference in Bloemfontein was obviously a political hangover of the ANC's conference at Polokwane.

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