Xolani Xala: chair of the ANC London branch

We spoke to Xolani Xala, 28, chair of the ANC London branch about how it was re-formed after a hiatus since 1994.

“It took time to set up the London branch – we started the plans in 2009 and the implementation in 2011.

We had two years to research the ANC in London. It’s a very huge political party with a big history. We had to find out what had been happening from 1961 to 1994 and then from 1994 to 2001. We know we won’t be able to match the footsteps of Oliver Tambo but we are 
going to walk in their footsteps – to do that we needed to do research.

“Another big challenge was to bridge the gap between the ANC veterans who were living in the UK from the 1960s and 70s and the new, emerging global South Africans who had recently arrived and came from a democratic SA. The thinking was not the same. We said let’s have a branch – before that the ANC Abroad was just a group of supporters.

A branch meant we required at least 100 registered ANC members whose cards have come back from Luthuli House.

“We want to unite South Africans…we see a big gap and we know it is going to be a challenge. There will be political 
programmes …and social events…in social clubs, business clubs – SA 
organisations, sharing the same interests. It can even be a non-South African organisation that shares our ideals.


The branch will participate in the celebrations later this year to mark 50 years of ANC activities abroad and intends sending representatives to the ANC’s Mangaung conference next year. And London will shortly be joined by branches in other UK cities and even other countries such as Canada.