SAfrica: Joy, sadness as Mandela's party hits 100

January 8, 2012 - 7:21 AM

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (AP) — Tens of thousands of chanting and dancing revelers in South Africa are waving the green and gold of the African National Congress as Africa's oldest liberation movement celebrates its 100th anniversary.

A dozen African leaders and more former heads of state along with African kings and chieftains attended a midnight ceremony where President Jacob Zuma lit a flame, expected to stay alight the entire year, at the Bloemfontein church where black intellectuals and activists founded the party in 1912.

Absent Sunday because of his frailty was Nelson Mandela, the first black president who is just six years younger than his movement.

Joy at its victory in ending white minority rule in 1994 was tinged with sadness over the ANC's failure to bring a better life to most South Africans.