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The Rise and Fall of the ANC Youth League – Rebone Tau

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The Rise and Fall of the ANC Youth League – Rebone Tau

Rebone Tau unpacks the book 'The Rise and Fall of the ANC Youth League' (Editing: Nicholas Boyd)

10th September 2020


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For most of its existence, the ANC Youth League has played a powerful role in the politics of the ANC, and therefore of South Africa. This book tells the history of the ANC Youth League, from its formation in 1944 to the present day.

The book explores the radicalising role played by its early leaders, such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and O.R. Tambo; the formation of the ANC Youth and Students Section in exile, first led by Thabo Mbeki; the return from exile in the 1990s and the leader­ship of Peter Mokaba; the controversies around the appointment of Julius Malema and his subsequent sacking; and the absence of Youth League leadership in the #FeesMustFall movement and current South African politics. Finally, the book considers the role that the Youth League should play in the future.


This is a fascinating glimpse into a vital and volatile institution in South African politics.



Rebone ‘Sankara’ Tau is a former member of the ANC Youth League National Task Team and the chairperson of the Subcommittee on International Relations. She is an associate of the Southern African Liaison Office (SALO), a South African–based civil society organisation that contributes to building peace and security through facilitating dialogue and consensus between national, regional and international actors. She has written opinion pieces on politics for various publications, including the Daily Maverick, News 24, the Mail & Guardian, The New Age and City Press. She was shortlisted for the City Press Tafelberg Non-Fiction Award in September 2016.

The rise and fall of the ANC Youth League is published by Penguin Random House South Africa


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