News & events


The Re-Establishment of the African National Congress (ANC) Inside the Country, 1990-1994

26 May 2010
12:15 - 13:30


26 May 2010 

Time :

12:15 – 13:30

Presenter :

Dr Gregory Houston


This presentation is a work in progress overview of a chapter being prepared for the forthcoming sixth Volume of the South African Democracy Education Trust (SADET’s) Road to Democracy in South Africa series. Volume 6 deals with the period 1990-1994, and the chapter focuses on the re-establishment of the ANC inside the country after its unbanning, which was publicly announced in the historic speech made by President FW de Klerk in parliament on 2 February 1990. It covers a range of topics, such as:

  • The ANC’s efforts to rebuild itself from an underground and banned organisation with an armed wing into a mass legal movement during the early 1990s
  • The establishment of headquarters and administrative structures
  • The return from exile of ANC members and issues around amnesty
  • The impact of the dissolution of the UDF
  • The relationship between exiles and internal forces of the ANC
  • The impact of the decision to become a mass movement by opening up membership to all
  • The impact of the reconstitution of the SACP in the country, various conferences of the ANC and aboveground activities
  • The armed struggle during the early 1990s

The core focus of the chapter is the various obstacles the ANC faced in re-establishing itself as a legal organisation inside the country, including the obstacles arising from indemnity for exiled members, political violence, the issues which gave rise to poor minority participation in structures of the ANC, etc.

Dr Gregory Houston is a chief research specialist in the Democracy and Governance research programme. He holds an MA in Political Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Natal. Before joining the HSRC in March 1998 he was a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Transkei, where he lectured for 12 years. Dr Houston has authored The National Liberation Struggle in South Africa: A case study of the United Democratic front, 1983-87 (Ashgate, Aldershot, 1999) and co-edited Public Participation in Democratic Governance in South Africa (HSRC, Pretoria, 2001).

His research interests include theoretical and empirical studies of the politics and history of resistance, the South African state, the process of democratic consolidation in South Africa, issues of identity and race as well as public participation in political processes. He has written several book chapters, journal articles and research reports on these topics.

Dr Houston was seconded as executive director to the South African Democracy Education Trust (SADET). SADET is a project trust set up after President Thabo Mbeki indicated concern about the paucity of historical research into South Africa’s complex and arduous road to democracy after many years of conflict. The mission of the trust is to conduct research into South Africa’s political history since 1960, concluding with the negotiation process. Two volumes of The Road to Democracy in South Africa (Zebra Press, Cape Town, 2004; UNISA Press, Pretoria, 2006) have already been published by SADET, and Dr Houston has contributed chapters to both volumes.

The audio presentation for the seminar is available for download

To reserve a seat, kindly RSVP by 20 May 2010


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