Events include a golf tournament - fair enough , a ritual cleansing ceremony and animal sacrifice at the church where the party was founded in 1912.
A religious row has erupted on the eve of the ANC’s centenary celebrations over the party’s plans to slaughter a cow and commune with the ancestors this weekend.
African Christian Democratic Party leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe has turned down his invitation as an opposition party leader to attend the festivities in the belief that invoking the spirits of dead leaders will have “devastating consequences for the country”.
Instead he planned to join other Christian groups outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria today for a 5pm prayer and worship ceremony to “dedicate South Africa to the living God, Jesus Christ”.
ANC chaplain-general Vukile Mehana said he was asking Meshoe to “pray deeply and reflect correctly so that he may reconsider his decision and be part of this historic event of the celebration of the liberation of our people”.
“If the good reverend is not going to honour the invitation simply because of his fundamentalist Christian beliefs, that will show that he is practising religious intolerance – a behaviour which is totally unacceptable and a direct contravention of our constitution as well as the fundamental values and principles of Christianity,” Mehana said.
The centenary celebrations were not about “worshipping ancestors”. and it was “mischievous and misleading” to suggest the ANC favoured one particular faith over others.
“What Reverend Meshoe must learn and understand is that the centenary celebrations are not about worshipping ancestors.
“However, through the ceremonies and services which form part of the centenary programme, the ANC will venerate the spirit of those who were part of its history… there is nothing wrong with the inclusion of African religious beliefs and practices.”
But Meshoe was not persuaded. “Because I love my country I cannot associate with dedicating it to dead people.”
He urged all Christians and other South Africans “who love the country” to join in prayer “to do what is right, because what the ANC is doing is wrong”.
He noted that ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete had said they would invoke the spirits of the ancestors to come help the country. “My only concern is that it will have devastating consequences for South Africa.”
Meshoe claimed the quake in Haiti showed the dangers of invoking spirits and that Nigeria was suffering economically because the country was “dedicated to the ancestors”.