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Topic 3: Civil Resistance in South Africa 1970s to 1980s

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1 Topic 3: Civil Resistance in South Africa 1970s to 1980s
ESSAY QUESTION Topic 3: Civil Resistance in South Africa 1970s to 1980s The Crisis of Apartheid in the 1980s (Part 2)

2 Reaction to reforms from within the ruling National Party
‘Modernising’ section of Afrikaners (grouped around PW Botha) became dominant: Apartheid must ‘Adapt or Die’ Traditional core of National Party (white workers, Afrikaner middle-classes and small farmers) were marginalised In 1982, under Andries Treurnicht’s leadership, the far-right broke with NP to form the Conservative Party. “Both the ideology and class base of Afrikaner Nationalism were being transformed.” (Marais, 2011: 45)

3 National Party’s ‘Total Strategy’ to counter ‘Total Onslaught’
Reform Repression 1983: New Constitution: Tri-cameral parliament. 1985: South Africa repealed Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 and Immorality Act of 1957 1986: Influx control and pass laws abolished Some urban Africans granted 99 year leases on properties. More state resources allocated to black education, township infrastructure (for example: electrification of Soweto) As anti-apartheid resistance intensified state security departments demanded and won greater powers and access to resources. Banning, detention, imprisonment, torture, killing of political opponents throughout 1980s. Military presence in townships 1985, 1986: NP Government imposed a state of emergency

4 A cartoon by Bob Connolly in the mid-1980s commenting on the political reforms introduced by PW Botha.

5 Internal resistance to the reforms
New methods of mass mobilisation and mass protest action were used in the 1980s. Instead of reducing the levels of resistance to Apartheid as Botha had hoped, the reforms intensified the resistance to apartheid and gave confidence to the liberation movement

6 Civil Society Resistance – Trade Unions
Trade Union movement emerged as the most powerful and organised component of anti-apartheid forces Trade Unions began widespread mobilisation, organisation and education of black workers 1984: 1.5m black trade union members 1985: COSATU founded > national co-ordination of strikes and stay-aways TUs increasingly took leadership positions in community organisations. ‘workerist’ v ‘populist’ divisions among unionists, but recognised need for unity. 1989: Trade Unions (UDF, churches) took leadership role in MDM ‘A Giant has Arisen’

7 Two political posters: produced by anti-apartheid organisations
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8 Civil Society Resistance – Religious Communities
1985: leaders from 16 churches issued the ‘Kairos document’ calling on SA Christians to ‘participate in the struggle for liberation’ Jews for Justice, The Call of Islam, and Muslim leaders such as Farid Essack all played a role in liberation struggle 1988: South African Council of Churches HQ destroyed by bombs. 1989 SACC committed member churches to non-violent action to end apartheid.

9 Civil Society Resistance – Youth
1980: National School Boycott started in Cape Town : National School Boycott (co-ordinating role played by Western Cape Student Action Committee, CAL, UDF) 1987: Youth congresses were established. ‘Of all the generations, the ‘children of Soweto’ were the least inclined to accept the limits and restrictions of apartheid’ (Lodge and Nasson, 1991:38)

10 Congress of South African Students

11 Civil Society Resistance – Civics
Thousands of local organisation around the country formed in townships to organise protest around high rents, inadequate housing and infrastructure, poor services and expensive transportation (Cape Action League and UDF played a strategic role in co-ordination of community based activism in Cape)

12 Civil Society Resistance; United Democratic Front (UDF)
1983: (Aug) UDF launched in Mitchell’s Plain, to co-ordinate resistance to new black local authorities and the tri-cameral parliament UDF was a broad popular front of over 500 affiliates (of which only 18 were trade unions) UDF had an uneven support base across country UDF represented the non-racial tradition of Freedom Charter (non-racial 1985: UDF endorsed ANC’s call to make country ungovernable 1988: UDF banned (re-constructed at Mass Democratic Movement) NB: ANC was not able to direct internal resistance strategies but had a growing authority at symbolic and ideological level (Marais, 2011:52)

13 Civil Society Resistance in White Community
End Conscription Campaign From early 1980s. Mainly Supported by English- speaking SA students. Black Sash – 1982 passed A resolution calling for an end to conscription. Some white people played a role in church and community organisations, UDF and CAL.

14 SILENCES in the curriculum: The absence of alternative voices
1982: Disorderly Bill Action Committee (formed in opposition to Koornhof Bills). 1983 split: Cape Action League (CAL) – affiliation of 40 ‘tendencies’ and community groups UDF supported ANC line (multi-racial, anti-apartheid) AZAPO Inkatha yeSizwe PAC Conservative Party New Unity Movement National Forum Marxist Workers Tendency ???????????

15 Conclusion: Stalemate by 1989
State had use emergency powers to temporarily suppress popular uprisings but they were reforming as MDM. ANC/SACP lacked the means to overthrow the state militarily Capital no longer had an interest in the maintenance of white supremacy Context of end of Cold War. ANC/NP moving towards a negotiated settlement.

16 Bibliography Marais, H., South Africa Pushed to the Limit (UCT Press, 2011) Callinicos, A. South Africa between Reform and Revolution Mulaudzi, M. (et al), In Search of History Grade 12 (Oxford, 2003)

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