The Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO) is a South African political party and a former freedom movement. The organisation’s two student wings are the Azanian Students’ Movement (AZASM) for high school learners and the other being for tertiary students called the Azanian Students’ Convention (AZASCO), its women’s wing is the Imbeleko Women’s Organisation, simply known as IMBELEKO. Its inspiration is drawn from the Black Consciousness Movement philosophies developed by Steve Biko, Onkgopotse Tiro and Vuyelwa Mashalaba.
Formed in April 1978, as a direct successor to the BPC and the founding administration of the Black Consciousness Movement, AZAPO continued and intensified the mission of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) by publicising Black Consciousness and organising black people to be a fighting power for their liberation. Following the murder of Bantu Biko in detention in 1977, AZAPO emerged from the ashes and cinders of the Black People’s Convention (B.P.C.), South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) and Black Community Programmes (B.C.P.) – some of the black consciousness organisations forming the Black Consciousness Movement – that were banned on 19th October 1977 for their role in the liberation struggle and the June 16, 1976 uprisings.
Inspired by the principles of the Black Consciousness Movement and organised by AZAPO, black people gradually regained their tenacity to struggle for their rights and formed trade unions and civic organisations. Through AZAPO, black people in South Africa regained their collective dignity and self-pride. The people of AZAPO believe that people who take pride in themselves are likely to make a significant influence to a quest for true humanity.
To intensify the struggle further, the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania (BCMA) was formed in London on 12 April 1980. The BCMA operated as a sister organisation to AZAPO in exile and grew to establish chapters and offices in Botswana, where Onkgopotse Tiro was assassinated, Zimbabwe, England, the United States of America, Canada, France, Belgium and Germany.
For more information on the Azanian People’s Organisation, visit: www.azapo.org.za