Pan Africanist Youth Congress of Azania

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Pan Africanist Youth Congress of Azania
Chairperson Thabani "Small" Zondo
Founded 1981 (1981)
Headquarters Johannesburg
Mother party Pan Africanist Congress of Azania
Magazine Mayihlome News

Pan Africanist Youth Congress(PAYCO) is the youth wing of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in South Africa. This youth movement used to be named AZANYU (Azanian Youth Unity) until it was later renamed PAYCO in 1997. PAYCO was founded in 1981. It held its first congress in 1986. Notable former presidents of PAYCO are Linda Ndebele 2009, Hulisani Mbara 2007, Sibusiso Xaba 2005, Matome Mashao 2003, Cameron Tabane 1999, Wonder Masombuka 1997, Mosotho Petlane 1993, Ntsie Mohlai, Zingile Mkhabile, Dan Mofokeng 1983, Arthur Moleko 1981.


PAYCO was founded in 1981 as AZANYU and held its first congress in 1983. AZANYU was founded when its mother body, the PAC, was banned along with many of its leadership. AZANYU was founded to develop the PAC underground structures inside South Africa and to recruit soldiers for the people's army, APLA (Azanian Peoples Liberation Army). The founding president of AZANYU was Arthur Moleko, who was later arrested on his way from Botswana. AZANYU was largely confined in the Witwatersrand in its early days.

The formation of AZANYU was directly directed by the PAC external mission hence its material such as cards, letterheads and T-shirts were first printed in Botswana under the direction of Pat Khohlo who was the Chief Representative then.

Key figures to the founding of AZANYU were comrades Carter Seleka, Sipho Ngcobo, Sipho Mzolo, Zodwa Mshibe, Ruth Bengu and Arthur Moleko (who later died in exile)

Amongst its many achievements AZANYU founded NACTU, AWO and PAM in the 80's to increase the profile of PAC inside South Africa. AZANYU operated in the same office as the African Allied Workers Union which was founded by Dikgang Moseneke and Willie Seriti.

As part of its operations, AZANYU also infiltrated Unions of CUSA which ensured its nationwide presence. AZANYU contributed tremendously to the survival of PAC as it produced cadres who were ideologically advanced. During these years, Azania News was still a vibrant ideological tribune, and was used in classes with articles written by Nyathi Pokela and Edwin Makoti.

Key figures in the early days of AZANYU were Joe Tholoe, Thami Mazwai, and Phillip Dlamini. To help spread AZANYU beyond the Witwatersrand AZANYU cadres like Cunningham Ngcukana and Serame Molefi played a pivotal role. Serame Molefi was active in Bloemfontein, in Cape Town there was Fezile Mvula, Molefo Modiga was in Pimville and Cunningham Ngcukana helped s[read AZANYU across the Western and Eastern Cape. In the Eastern Cape it was comrades like Mngaza, Boniswa Ngcukana and Malusi Koli who made the mission possible. In the Western Cape it was comrades like Twelve Fudumele and Fezile Mvula who ensure that AZANYU operations where successful. Justice Lebea took ensured that AZANYU became a success in Kwazulu Natal as he worked through universities to spread AZANYU nationwide.

In 1985 AZANYU undertook a programme, which saw it become a true National Organisation, which lead to the ALL AFRICA STUDENTS ACTION COMMITTEE (AASAC) under the late Lawrence Nqandela. AASAC was to be the precursor to PASO.

AZANYU reached great heights under the leadership of Ntsie Mohloai and Mpuka Radinku.

However, after the unbanning of PAC in 1990, AZANYU faced many organisational challenges and differences wirh the leaders of the unbanned mother body. AZANYU suffered lots of active suppression of the youth movement by internal forces.

Somehow AZANU managed to survive until later on in 1997 it became known as PAN AFRICANIST YOUTH CONGRESS of AZANIA (PAYCO) as resolved by the 1997 elective congress in which Wonder Masombuka was elected president.

The Beginnings Of PAYCO

Since 1997 PAYCO has been faced with a very difficult challenge, that of rebuilding not only itself but also its mother body, the PAC, with reactionary internal forces still wary of the youth movement. For PAYCO party building has always been the main theme. But it was only in the early 2000s that PAYCO developed a formal programme of action to address party building, formally known as IOTA (Ideologise, Organise for Take-over) with focus on Organisational, Institutional and political rebuilding.

PAYCO is a founder member of South African Youth Council and has held numerous positions in its National, Provincial and Regional Executive Councils. PAYCO is also an active supporter of PASMA and its predecessor.

In May 2009 PAYCO founded an online publication called Mayihlome News which continues to attract readers all over the world in more than 40 countries, including many African countries.

In 2009 November, in an Elective congress held in Kimberly, Linda Ndebele was elected as the new president of PAYCO, succeeding Mmbara Hulisani. The Kimberley congress was followed by a Durban congress where Small Zondo was elected president in 2013.

Its achievements include the formation of National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU), formation of Pan Africanist Student Organisation (PASO) and Pan-Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA). PAYCO organization was critical in recruiting soldiers for the Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA) and for the PAC to reestablish itself as a major political party in Azania.

Eastern Cape Provincial leadership: Nomnga Phumzile, Tshona Sinovuyo, Nokoyo Zukisa