Jan. 8 - South Africa's ruling party, once led by Nelson Mandela, marks its 100th anniversary with lavish celebrations, sparking criticism from opponents. Andrew Raven reports.
South Africans celebrate the 100th anniversary of the African National Congress, the country's ruling party. Formed in this small church in the city of Bloemfontein, the ANC was outlawed for decades before Nelson Mandela led it to an electoral victory in 1994 following the end of apartheid. Leaders here reflected on the long-history of the liberation movement. (SOUNDBITE)(English) PRIEST DELIVERING SERMON, SAYING: "To come and stand where the umbilical cord is buried, at crucial moments in an African family, people will either physically, or where it is not possible mentally or spiritually take the journey to where the umbilical cord is buried." Meanwhile, thousands packed into a nearby rugby stadium for celebrations, which have cost upwards of 13 million dollars. That has drawn criticism in a country where 40 per cent of people are unemployed and struggling with extreme poverty. But supporters remain unfazed by the spending spree. "We must just continue to protect the legacy that was left behind by those who lost their lives for South Africa to be a better country. So our youth, it's their role to embrace that and look forward and fight for this country. Power!" The party has dominated politics since 1994 infighting and accusations of rampant corruption have raised questions about how long it will continue to lead South Africa. Andrew Raven, Reuters