Time Line


6 April, Inauguration of PAC


21 March, The PAC leads a peaceful anti pass march and local PAC leaders first gathered at Sharpeville police station chanting slogans “Izwe lethu” (Our land), “Awaphele amapasti” (Down with passes). The police open fire on demonstrators killing 69 and injuring 180 others in what became known as the Sharpeville Massacre. Protests spread to other parts of the country.
8 December, Letlapa Mphahle leader of the PAC is born Rosenkranz in Northern Transvaal.


11 September, Poqo (pure/ alone) an armed wing of the PAC is established in South Africa to form cells and commence work towards the armed struggle. The name had the translation of the Pan Africanist Congress as ‘Umbutho wama Afrika Poqo’ (the organisation of Africanists or ‘undiluted’ or ‘pure’).


25 August, Robert Sobukwe writes a letter appointing Potlako Leballo to act as president of the PAC.
12 December, Armed Poqo members are intercepted by the police on Ntlonze Hill while they were on their way to attack Chief Kaiser Matanzima. A battle ensues and 7 Poqo operatives are killed and 3 policemen are seriously injured.


June, PAC member Jeff Kgalabi Masemola is charged together with 14 other people in the Pretoria Supreme Court with conspiracy to commit sabotage. He is subsequently sentenced to life in prison.
Patrick Duncan, a former member of the Liberal Party of South Africa becomes the only white member of the PAC after joining the party in exile.
November, The National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FLNA) temporality gives the PAC a military training camp in Kikunzu in Congo where its first group of guerrilla recruits undergo military training. The training was code named ‘Tape Recorder’ and organised by Nana Mahomo.
Johnson Phillip Mlambo is arrested and charged with sabotage and plotting to overthrow the apartheid government. He is sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and sent to Robben Island where he serves his sentence.

John Nyathi Pokela is sentenced to imprisonment on Robben Island for his role in the PAC’s armed wing Poqo for its anti apartheid political activities.
21 March, As a result of the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, the United Nations General Assembly declares this day ‘International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’.
PAC members in Mbeya, a PAC camp in Tanzania raised concerns about the party’s leadership.

July, The OAU and ALC temporarily closes the PAC office in Dar-es-Salaam Tanzania after AB Ngcobo and PN Raboroko attempt to seize control of the office despite resistance from some members of the party. This forces the PAC to convene a Unity Conference in Moshi, Tanzania with the support of the OAU and ALC.
31 October, Four members of Poqo found guilty of murder following the 1960 PAC revolt and anti pass campaign are hanged.

The Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) is formed and succeeds Poqo as the armed wing of the PAC. Poqo members form the bedrock of APLA as they were deployed in various countries for training and establishing PAC offices. Gerald Kondlo was the first APLA commander.
May, The PAC launches ‘Operation Villa Piri’ where several members of APLA attempt to enter South Africa through Mozambique. Several members of the unit are killed including its commander Gerald Kondlo.
The PAC adopts the name Azania and subsequently calls the organization the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania.

May, Founder member and former president of the PAC Robert Sobukhwe is released from prison and banished to Galeshewe in Kimberley. In addition he is served with a five year banning order that restricts him to Kimberley and keeps him under house arrest between 6pm and 6 am.

June 16, In SOWETO the Apartheid regime police shoots at unarmed marching children.

October, David Sibeko, the PAC’s representative addresses the United Nations General Assembly.
January, 18 people are brought to trial and 86 others are named as co conspirators in what became known as the Bethal trial. Among the detained were leading members of the PAC including Zephaniah Mothopeng, Mark Shinners, Michael Matsobane, John Ganya and Hamilton Keke. Some of the Bethal trialists were being jailed for the second time as they served sentences in the state’s crackdown of the PAC in the 1960s.

1 May, Leballo is ousted as leader of the PAC.
29 August, Templeton Ntantala and other expelled military members of the PAC form the Azanian People’s Revolutionary Party (APRP).

The Azanian National Youth Unity (AZANYU) the youth wing of the PAC is founded in Orlando East in Soweto with Arthur Moleko elected as its first president. AZANYU was to function as a vehicle to establish PAC underground structures and recruit the youth for military training.
February, Vusi Maake steps down as PAC Chairman and is succeeded by John Nyathi Pokela who also becomes the Commander in Chief of APLA.

20 June, PAC member Johnson Mlambo is released from Robben Island after serving 20 years in prison.


12 August, Johnson Phillip Mlambo is elected chairman of the PAC at the extra ordinary session of the party’s Central Committee.

Zephaniah Mothopeng is elected president of the PAC while still serving his sentence of Robben Island.


Zephaniah Mothopeng is elected as the PAC’s president and Clarence Makwetu is elected as Vice President.


December, Clarence Makwetu is elected as president of the PAC and succeeds Mothopeng.

February, The PAC suspends the armed struggle.
June, the integration of APLA into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) commences.
31 July, APLA holds its final parade.


15 December, Bishop Stanley Mogoba is elected as the PAC’s party president succeeding Clarence Makwetu. He resigned from his position as the presiding bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.


September, A disgruntled former member of APLA Sibusiso Madubela in the SANDF shoots and kills seven white fellow soldiers and a civilian clerk at a military base in Tempe Bloemfontein.

April, Stanley Mogoba is re-elected as president of the PAC. Magoba beat Nemadzivhanani by 161 votes to 75. Thami Plaatjie was elected as the Secretary General and Busi Nkumane was elected treasurer.

15 June, The PAC deputy president Motsoko Pheko is elected as the new PAC president at the party’s national elective congress held at Vista University. Themba Godi is elected as deputy president, Mofihli Likotsi the new Secretary General, Raymond Kgaudi Treasurer; Ntsie Mohloai was elected as National Organizer while Joe Mkhwanazi was elected National Chairperson.
26 September, Letlapa Mphahlele is elected as PAC President at the party’s National Congress in Qwaqwa.



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