Bongani Ngqulunga's book reveals untold history of the man who founded the ANC

Very little is written about Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, the founder of the African National Congress (ANC), who was born outside Inanda, Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.

Author Dr. Bongani Ngqulunga has penned a book - The Man Who Founded the ANC- A Biography of Pixley Ka Isaka Seme - telling the remarkable story of the man's life.

Seme founded the ANC in 1912 when he was 30 years old, but many believe that his story and contribution is not celebrated enough.

Generally when you talk to people, and you ask them who founded the ANC and they'll tell you about John Langalibalele Dube, or Mandela, Luthuli and Tambo. But Seme's name doesn't crop up.

Bongani Ngqulunga, author and Presidential spokesperson

Ngqulunga says he wrote the biography in order to raise awareness about Seme's life

In addition to founding the ANC, Seme was an an advocate and a newspaperman, who advocated strongly for an African identity.

He was a very intelligent child and grew up in a mission.

Bongani Ngqulunga, author and Presidential spokesperson

At the age of 14 he sailed to the United States to go to school.

Bongani Ngqulunga, author and Presidential spokesperson

He changed his name when he got Columbia University in New York, he was an extraordinary young man.

Bongani Ngqulunga, author and Presidential spokesperson

A few months before he graduated in 1906, he gave the speech - The Regeneration of Africa - that would propel him to fame.

In the first sentence of his speech he says 'I am an African'. It made him to be known as one of the pioneers of Pan-Africanism.

Bongani Ngqulunga, author and Presidential spokesperson

He went to Oxford, and after that, he came back to South Africa and within months he was at the forefront of forming a national organisation that came to be known as the ANC.

Bongani Ngqulunga, author and Presidential spokesperson

He not only founded the ANC, but started a national newspaper in the same year. It was the first black national newspaper.

Bongani Ngqulunga, author and Presidential spokesperson

He started a company to buy land from white people for settlement by black people.

Bongani Ngqulunga, author and Presidential spokesperson

He was the second person in South Africa to be admitted as a lawyer in December 1910.

Bongani Ngqulunga, author and Presidential spokesperson

He didn't leave any papers behind. He did not write an autobiography. It's been hard to find information about him, yet he was involved in everything.

Bongani Ngqulunga, author and Presidential spokesperson

History has been quite silent about him and the major contributions that he made.

Bongani Ngqulunga, author and Presidential spokesperson

Ngqulunga described Seme's education, activist career, controversial leadership in the ANC, his marriage(s), family and little known personal life.

Take a listen his insights and an engaging discussion with callers:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Bongani Ngqulunga's book reveals untold history of the man who founded the ANC


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