PAYCO was founded in 1981 as AZANYU and held its first congress in 1983. AZANYU was founded when its mother body, the PAC, was banned along with many of its leadership. AZANYU was founded to develop the PAC underground structures inside South Africa and to recruit soldiers for the people’s army, APLA (Azanian Peoples Liberation Army). The founding president of AZANYU was Arthur Moleko, who was later arrested on his way from Botswana. AZANYU was largely confined in the Witwatersrand in its early days.

The formation of AZANYU was directly directed by the PAC external mission hence its material such as cards, letterheads and T-shirts were first printed in Botswana under the direction of Pat Khohlo who was the Chief Representative then.

Key figures to the founding of AZANYU were comrades Carter Seleka, Sipho Ngcobo, Sipho Mzolo, Zodwa Mshibe, Ruth Bengu and Arthur Moleko (who later died in exile)

Amongst its many achievements AZANYU founded NACTU, AWO and PAM in the 80’s to increase the profile of PAC inside South Africa. AZANYU operated in the same office as the African Allied Workers Union which was founded by Dikgang Moseneke and Willie Seriti.

As part of its operations, AZANYU also infiltrated Unions of CUSA which ensured its nationwide presence. AZANYU contributed tremendously to the survival of PAC as it produced cadres who were ideologically advanced. During these years, Azania News was still a vibrant ideological tribune, and was used in classes with articles written by Nyathi Pokela and Edwin Makoti.

Key figures in the early days of AZANYU were Joe Tholoe, Thami Mazwai, and Phillip Dlamini. To help spread AZANYU beyond the Witwatersrand AZANYU cadres like Cunningham Ngcukana and Serame Molefi played a pivotal role. Serame Molefi was active in Bloemfontein, in Cape Town there was Fezile Mvula, Molefo Modiga was in Pimville and Cunningham Ngcukana helped s[read AZANYU across the Western and Eastern Cape. In the Eastern Cape it was comrades like Mngaza, Boniswa Ngcukana and Malusi Koli who made the mission possible. In the Western Cape it was comrades like Twelve Fudumele and Fezile Mvula who ensure that AZANYU operations where successful. Justice Lebea took ensured that AZANYU became a success in Kwazulu Natal as he worked through universities to spread AZANYU nationwide.

In 1985 AZANYU undertook a programme, which saw it become a true National Organisation, which lead to the ALL AFRICA STUDENTS ACTION COMMITTEE (AASAC) under the late Lawrence Nqandela. AASAC was to be the precursor to PASO.

AZANYU reached great heights under the leadership of Ntsie Mohloai and Mpuka Radinku.

However after the unbanning of PAC in 1990, AZANYU faced many organisational challenges and differences wirh the leaders of the unbanned mother body. AZANYU suffered lots of active suppression of the youth movement by internal forces.

Somehow AZANU managed to survive until later on in 1997 it became known as PAN AFRICANIST YOUTH CONGRESS of AZANIA (PAYCO) as resolved by the 1997 elective congress in which Wonder Masombuka was elected president.

The Beginnings Of PAYCO

Since 1997 PAYCO has been faced with a very difficult challenge, that of rebuilding not only itself but also its mother body, the PAC, with reactionary internal forces still wary of the youth movement. For PAYCO party building has always been the main theme. But it was only in the early 2000’s that PAYCO developed a formal programme of action to address party building, formally known as IOTA (Ideologise, Organise for Take-over) with focus on Organisational, Institutional and political rebuilding.

PAYCO is a founder member of South African Youth Council and has held numerous positions in its National, Provincial and Regional Executive Councils. PAYCO is also an active supporter of PASMA and its predecessor.

In May 2009 PAYCO founded an online publication called Mayihlome News which continues to attract readers all over the world in more than 40 countries, including many African countries.

In 2009 November, in an Elective congress held in Kimberly, Linda Ndebele was elected as the new president of PAYCO, succeeding Mmbara Hulisani.


PAYCO leadership chronology


1981       – Arthur Moleko

1983       – Dan Mofokeng

?              – Zangile Mkhabile

?              –  Ntsie Mohlai

1993       – Mosotho Petlane

1997       – Wonder Masombuka

1999       – Cameron Tabane

2003       – Matome Mashao

2005       – Sbusiso Xaba

2007       – Hulisani Mmbara

2009       -Linda Ndebele

2013       – Smoll Zondo



The current PEC was appointed at the Oscar Mpetha summit in June 2012 and it is as follows:

Name & Surname Portfolio Email address
Sinethemba Masande Mango Chairperson Paycowc@gmail.com
Sibonile Mphendukana Secretary  Paycowc@gmail.com
Lubabalo Mgqatsa  Paycowc@gmail.com
Vuyani Mnqayana  Paycowc@gmail.com
Sinethemba Mandyoli  Paycowc@gmail.com
Lwandile Socikwa  Paycowc@gmail.com