South Africa History Part III

By | March 24, 2021

From resistance to the new state

Anti-apartheid struggle

In the long history of resistance to apartheid, to the women during all phases actively participated, who conducted massacres of Sharpeville on 21 March 1960 a turning point one. In Sharpeville, the police killed 69 fleeing demonstrators and at least 180 people were seriously injured. The organizations of the liberation movement were banned. This concerned the African National Congress (ANC) founded in 1912, whose program was the Charter of Freedom adopted in 1955, and the Pan-Africanist Congress PAC, which was split off from this in 1958. The ban led to the start of the armed struggle against apartheid, in particular through Umkhonto we Siswe – sometimes also uMkhonto we Siswe or spelled differently – the armed arm of the ANC. Also, women were as underground activists operate.

The government used acts of sabotage by the resistance movement as an opportunity to banish and arrest individuals. In the Rivonia treason trial in 1964, most of the accused, including ANC President Nelson Mandela, were sentenced to life imprisonment. Nelson Mandela’s defense speech in court is one of the most impressive documents on the struggle for equality and a plea for the simplest basic rights of a humane society. The spokesman Lutz Görner gave Mandela’s defense speech in German. The book by Mandela lawyer Joel Joffe “The State Against Mandela” is an exciting read.

Cover picture, drum, museum, Maboneng, Johannesburg

Cover picture, drum, museum, Maboneng, Johannesburg

School uprising in Soweto

School uprising in Soweto

UDF poster, Workers Museum

UDF poster, Workers Museum

In the 1960’s, a new political force developed in the townships with the Black Consciousness movement. Steve Biko, the founder and representative of the student organization South African Student Organization (SASO), was tortured to death by police officers in mid-September 1977. Twenty years later, his murderers confessed to the truth commission.

Steve Biko is experiencing a kind of renaissance in South Africa today, and for young activists he is a great role model for independent thinking. The Steve Biko Foundation commemorates the Black Consciousness founder and the leading head of this movement.

During the student uprising in Soweto and several subsequent demonstrations, 575 children and young people were killed by the police; 3,907 were injured, 5,980 were arrested, many of them tortured and girls raped by state security forces.

According to later research, around 250,000 people in around 160 other black settlements took part in the protests in the following months. It was a revolt among the youth in the townships. After the Soweto student revolt.

In 1976, their school / student organizations were banned. Young people were important actors in the liberation movements in South Africa, a major country in African continent according to healthvv, and in neighboring countries.

After a cosmetic constitutional amendment in 1983, which gave blacks and Indians their own chambers with limited rights, but continued to exclude blacks, new resistance forums were founded. The most important of these, the United Democratic Front UDF, was close to the “charterists” (this is how the supporters of the freedom charter of 1955 were called).

In 1985, the government imposed a nationwide state of emergency, which it suspended for a short time in March 1986 and then again proceeded with great severity against opponents of the regime. 26,000 people were arrested between June 1986 and June 1987 alone. Death squads and vigilante groups carried out excesses of violence. But the resistance could no longer be broken. In the mid-1980’s, an independent trade union movement, the umbrella organization COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) was founded, which grew rapidly and fought apartheid.

In the 1980’s, more whites also actively participated in the resistance against the regime. While individuals participated in the underground struggle, the protest against the long-term forced recruitment of white men into the South African army by the End Conscription Campaign was particularly important. She denounced the militarization of society as a whole and white masculinity norms.

The dissolution of the UDF by the ANC after the end of apartheid was criticized by political observers and researchers because ANC exiles who returned from abroad now dominated politics and there was no organizational link to the grassroots. In the course of the revival of the UDF in August 2012, another debate broke out.

Creation of the new state

Nelson Mandela's Robben Island prison cell

Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island prison cell

After a stroke by ex-President PW Botha, Frederik Willem de Klerk took over the government on August 15, 1989. He initiated the opening of the apartheid system, had the ban on the ANC, PAC and 31 other organizations lifted in 1990 and released Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners from prison. De Klerk announced the official end of apartheid. After a reform program by the government and a majority vote in favor of continuing negotiations with the ANC in a referendum carried out by the whites, the participation of the black majority in government could no longer be stopped.

After three years of negotiations, an agreement on non-racial multi-party democracy was reached. Against the strong resistance of the umbrella organization of chiefs (CONTRALESA), legal experts and activists were able to get all women to receive civil rights and no longer be subject to their husbands or fathers. CONTRALESA had demanded that black women in the former homelands, who had been married according to traditional rules, should remain underage. Free and general elections were held for the first time in April 1994, and the ANC was able to win with a clear majority. The new, democratic South Africa was born, Nelson Mandela became the first president. In his first speech to the nation on May 24, 1994 he explained the political and economic reform program of the ANC government. On May 10, 1994, on the occasion of his inauguration, he was the first democratically elected President of South Africa to give a keynote speech.