Apartheid — meaning separateness in Afrikaans (which is cognate to the English apart and -hood) — was a system of legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government in South Africa between 1948 and 1994.

Racial segregation in South Africa began in colonial times, but apartheid as an official policy was introduced following the general election of 1948. New legislation classified inhabitants people into racial groups (black, white, coloured, and Indian), and residential areas were segregated by means of forced removals. Blacks were stripped of their citizenship, legally becoming citizens of one of ten tribally based self-governing homelands or bantustans, four of which became nominally independent states. The government segregated education, medical care, and other public services, and provided black people with services greatly inferior to those of whites.

Apartheid sparked significant internal resistance. A series of popular uprisings and protests were met with the banning of opposition and imprisoning of anti-apartheid leaders. As unrest spread and became more violent, state organs responded with increasing repression and state-sponsored violence.

Reforms to apartheid in the 1980s failed to quell the mounting opposition, and in 1990 President Frederik Willem de Klerk began negotiations to end apartheid, culminating in multi-racial democratic elections in 1994, which were won by the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela. The vestiges of apartheid still shape South African politics and society.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Precursors of apartheid

The British colonial rulers introduced a system of pass laws in the Cape Colony and Natal during the 19th century. This stemmed from the regulation of blacks' movement from the tribal regions to those occupied by whites and coloureds, ruled by the British. Laws were passed not only to restrict the movement of blacks into these areas, but also to prohibit their movement from one district to another without a signed pass. Blacks were not allowed onto the streets of towns in the Cape Colony and Natal after dark and had to carry their passes at all times.

The Franchise and Ballot Act of 1892 instituted limits based on financial means and education to the black franchise, and the Natal Legislative Assembly Bill of 1894 deprived Indians of the right to vote. In 1905 the General Pass Regulations Bill denied blacks the vote altogether, limited them to fixed areas and inaugurated the infamous Pass System. Then followed the Asiatic Registration Act (1906) requiring all Indians to register and carry passes, the South Africa Act (1910) that enfranchised whites, giving them complete political control over all other race groups, the Native Land Act (1913) which prevented all blacks, except those in the Cape, from buying land outside "reserves", the Natives in Urban Areas Bill (1918) designed to force blacks into "locations", the Urban Areas Act (1923) which introduced residential segregation and provided cheap labour for white industry, the Colour Bar Act (1926), preventing blacks from practising skilled trades, the Native Administration Act (1927) that made the British Crown, rather than paramount chiefs, the supreme head over all African affairs, the Native Land and Trust Act (1936) that complemented the 1913 Native Land Act and, in the same year, the Representation of Natives Act, which removed blacks from the Cape voters' roll. The final piece of segregating legislation enacted by the British was the Asiatic Land Tenure Bill (1946), which banned any further land sales to Indians.

Jan Smuts' United Party government began to move away from the rigid enforcement of segregationist laws during World War II. Amid fears integration would eventually lead the nation to racial assimilation, the legislature established the Sauer Commission to investigate the effects of the United Party's policies. The commission concluded integration would bring about a "loss of personality" for all racial groups.

Institution of apartheid

Following the general election of 1948, the National Party set in place its programme of Apartheid, with the formalisation and expansion of existing policies and practices into a system of institutionalised racism and white domination. Apartheid legislation classified inhabitants and visitors into racial groups (black, white, coloured, and Indian or Asian).

However, Werner Eiselen, the man who led the design of apartheid, argued that the government could not sustain segregation and white supremacy. He also, in 1948, proposed apartheid as a "political partition" policy instead of segregation in public facilities. Hence, the idea behind apartheid was more one of political separation, later known as "grand apartheid," than segregation, later known as "petty apartheid." Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd is considered the most influential politician in the growth of apartheid and described it as "a policy of good neighbourliness".

Up until 1956 women were for the most part excluded from these pass requirements as attempts to introduce pass laws for women were met with fierce resistance.

Elections of 1948 and the Group Areas Act

In the run-up to the 1948 elections, the main Afrikaner nationalist party, the Herenigde Nasionale Party (Reunited National Party) under the leadership of Protestant cleric Daniel Francois Malan, campaigned on its policy of apartheid. The NP narrowly defeated Smuts's United Party and formed a coalition government with another Afrikaner nationalist party, the Afrikaner Party. Malan became the first apartheid prime minister, and the two parties later merged to form the National Party (NP). The coalition government immediately began implementing apartheid policies, passing legislation prohibiting miscegenation and classifying individuals by race. The Group Areas Act of 1950, designed to separate racial groups geographically, became the heart of the apartheid system. The Separate Amenities Act was passed in 1953. Under this Act, municipal grounds could be reserved for a particular race. It created, among other things, separate beaches, buses, hospitals, schools and universities. Signboards such as "whites only" applied to public areas, even including park benches.

Interracial contact in sport was frowned upon, but there were no segregatory sports laws. The government was able to keep sport segregated using other legislation, such as the Group Areas Act.

The government tightened existing pass laws, compelling black South Africans to carry identity documents to prevent the migration of blacks to 'white' South Africa. For blacks, living in cities required employment. Families were excluded, thus separating wives from husbands and parents from children.

Disenfranchisement of coloured voters

J.G. Strijdom, Malan's successor as Prime Minister, moved to strip coloureds and blacks of their voting rights in the Cape Province. The previous government had first introduced the Separate Representation of Voters Bill in parliament in 1951. However, a group of four voters, G Harris, WD Franklin, WD Collins and Edgar Deane, challenged its validity in court with support from the United Party. The Cape Supreme Court upheld the act, but the Appeal Court upheld the appeal, finding the act invalid because a two-thirds majority in a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament was needed in order to change the entrenched clauses of the Constitution. The government then introduced the High Court of Parliament Bill, which gave parliament the power to overrule decisions of the court. The Cape Supreme Court and the Appeal Court declared this invalid too. In 1955 the Strijdom government increased the number of judges in the Appeal Court from five to eleven, and appointed pro-Nationalist judges to fill the new places. In the same year they introduced the Senate Act, which increased the senate from 49 seats to 89. Adjustments were made such that the NP controlled 77 of these seats. The parliament met in a joint sitting and passed the Separate Representation of Voters act in 1956, which removed coloureds from the common voters' roll in the Cape, and established a separate voters' roll for them.

Apartheid legislation

From the 1950s onwards, various laws were passed to keep the races apart and suppress resistance. The practice of apartheid retained many of the features of the segregationist policies of earlier administrations. Examples include the 1913 Land Act and the various workplace colour bars.

National Party leaders argued that South Africa did not comprise a single nation, but was made up of four distinct racial groups: white, black, coloured and Indian. These groups were split further into thirteen "nations" or racial federations. White people encompassed the English and Afrikaans language groups; the black populace was divided into ten such groups. Legislation had the result of making the white race the dominant one.

The principal "apartheid laws" were as follows:

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 prohibited marriage between persons of different races and the Immorality Act of 1950 made sexual relations with a person of a different race a criminal offence.

The Population Registration Act of 1950 formalised racial classification and introduced an identity card for all persons over the age of eighteen, specifying their racial group. Also in 1950 the Group Areas Act partitioned the country into areas allocated to different racial groups. This law was the basis upon which political and social separation was constructed. The Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 created separate government structures for blacks and was the first piece of legislation established to support the government's plan of separate development in the Bantustans. Further legislation in 1951 allowed the government to demolish black shackland slums and forced white employers to pay for the construction of housing for those black workers who were permitted to reside in "white" cities. The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953 prohibited people of different races from using the same public amenities, such as restaurants, public swimming pools, and restrooms. Further laws had the aim of suppressing resistance, especially armed resistance, to apartheid. The Suppression of Communism Act of 1950 banned the South African Communist Party and any other political party that the government chose to label as 'communist'. Disorderly gatherings were banned, as were certain organizations that were deemed threatening to the government.

An act of 1956 formalised racial discrimination in employment, while in 1958 the Promotion of Black Self-Government Act of 1958 entrenched the National Party's policy of nominally independent "homelands" for black people. So-called "self–governing Bantu units" were proposed, which would have devolved administrative powers, with the promise later of autonomy and self-government. The Bantu Investment Corporation Act of 1959 set up a mechanism to transfer capital to the homelands in order to create employment there.

In 1953, the Bantu Education Act crafted a separate system of education for African students and in 1959 separate universities were created for blacks, coloureds and Indians. Existing universities were not permitted to enroll new black students. Legislation of 1967 allowed the government to stop industrial development in "white" cites and redirect such development to the "homelands". The Black Homeland Citizenship Act of 1970 marked a new phase in the Bantustan strategy. It changed the status of the black so that they were no longer citizens of South Africa, but became citizens of one of the ten autonomous territories. The aim was to ensure whites became the demographic majority within South Africa by having all ten Bantustans choose "independence". The Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974 required the use of Afrikaans and English on an equal basis in high schools outside the homelands.

To oversee the apartheid legislation, the bureaucracy expanded, and, by 1977, there were more than half a million white state employees.

Unity among white South Africans

Before South Africa became a republic, white politics was typified by the division between the chiefly-Afrikaans pro-republicans and the largely English anti-republicans, with the legacy of the Boer War still a factor for some people. Once republican status was attained, Verwoerd called for improved relations and greater accord between those of British descent and the Afrikaners. He claimed that the only difference now was between those who supported apartheid and those in opposition to it. The ethnic divide would no longer be between Afrikaans speakers and English speakers, but rather white and black. Most Afrikaners supported the notion of white unanimity to ensure their safety. Whites of British descent were divided. Many had voted in opposition to a republic, especially in Natal, where most votes said "No". Later, however, some of them recognised the perceived need for white unity, convinced by the growing trend of decolonisation elsewhere in Africa, which left them apprehensive. Harold Macmillan's "Wind of Change" pronouncement left the British faction feeling that Britain had abandoned them. The more conservative English-speakers gave support to Verwoerd; others were troubled by the severing of ties with Britain and remained loyal to the Crown. They were acutely displeased at the choice between British and South African nationality. Although Verwoerd tried to bond these different blocs, the subsequent ballot illustrated only a minor swell of support, proving that a great many English speakers remained apathetic and that Verwoerd had not succeeded in uniting the white population.

Apartheid system

The apartheid system is often classified into "grand apartheid" and "petty apartheid". Grand apartheid involved an attempt to partition South Africa into separate states, while petty apartheid referred to the segregationist dimension. The National Party clung to grand apartheid until the 1990s, while they abandoned petty apartheid during the 1980s.

The "homeland" system

South African blacks were stripped of their citizenship, legally becoming citizens of one of ten tribally based and nominally self-governing bantustans (tribal homelands), four of which became nominally independent states. The homelands occupied relatively small and economically unproductive areas of the country. Many black South Africans, however, never resided in their identified "homelands". The homeland system disenfranchised black people residing in "white South Africa" by restricting their voting rights to their own identified black homeland. The government segregated education, medical care, and other public services, and provided black people with services greatly inferior to those of whites, and, to a lesser extent, to those of Indians and coloureds. The education system practised in 'black schools' was designed to prepare blacks for lives as a labouring class.

When the NP came into power in 1948, its primary endeavour was to attain a white supremacist Christian National State and implement racial segregation. The key building blocks to enforcement of racial segregation were

  • the arrangement of the population into African, coloured, Indian and white racial groups;
  • strict racial segregation in the urban areas;
  • restricted African urbanisation;
  • a tightly-controlled and more restricted system of migrant labour;
  • a stronger accent on tribalism and orthodoxy in African administration than in the past; and
  • a drastic strengthening of security legislation and control.

The "Homelands" system was developed on the basis of these tenets. Territorial separation was not a new institution. There were, for example, the "reserves" created under the British government in the Nineteenth Century. Under HF Verwoerd's jurisdiction, however, this land was seen as a way to control the increasing movement of black people into the city. Black people would work in the cities but live in their own areas, where they would be housed, educated, and vote for their own internal governments. The ultimate plan was to create ten independent national states out of these homelands.

The state passed two laws which paved the way for "grand apartheid", which was centred on separating races on a large scale, through spatial divisions; that is, compelling people to live in separate places defined by race. The first grand apartheid law was the Population Registration Act 30 of 1950, which necessitated all citizens' being categorised according to race and this being recorded in their identity passes. Official team or Boards were established to come to an ultimate conclusion on those people whose race was unclear. This caused much difficulty, especially for coloured people, separating their families as members were allocated different races.

The second pillar of grand apartheid was the Group Areas Act 21 of 1950. Until then, most settlements had people of different races living side by side. This Act put an end to diverse areas and determined where one lived according to race. Each race was allotted its own area, which was used in later years as a basis of forced removal.

The racial groups or national units that were intended to become "homelands" were North-Sotho, South-Sotho, Tswana, Zulu, Swazi, Xhosa, Tsonga and Venda. In later years, the Xhosa national unit was broken further down into the Transkei and Ciskei. The Ndebele national unit was also added later after its "discovery" by the apartheid government. The government justified its plans on the basis that South Africa was made up of different "nations", asserting that "(the) government's policy is, therefore, not a policy of discrimination on the grounds of race or colour, but a policy of differentiation on the ground of nationhood, of different nations, granting to each self-determination within the borders of their homelands - hence this policy of separate development". The policy of separate development came into being with the accession to power of Dr HF Verwoerd in 1958. He began implementing the homeland structure as a cornerstone of separate development. Verwoerd came to believe in the granting of "independence" to these homelands. Border industries and the Bantu Investment Corporation, were established to promote economic development and the provision of employment in the homelands (to draw black people away from "white" South Africa)[citation needed].

The Tomlinson Commission of 1954 decided that apartheid was justifiable, but stated additional land ought to be given to the homelands, favouring the development of border industries. In 1958 the Promotion of Black Self-Government Act was passed, and proponents of apartheid began to argue that, once apartheid had been implemented, blacks would no longer be citizens of South Africa; they would instead become citizens of the independent "homelands". In terms of this model, blacks became (foreign) "guest labourers" who merely worked in South Africa as the holders of temporary work permits.

The South African government attempted to divide South Africa into a number of separate states. Some thirteen per cent of the land was reserved for black homelands - representing fifty per cent of South Africa's arable land. That thirteen per cent was divided into ten black "homelands" amongst eight ethnic units. Four of these were given independence, although this was never recognised by any other country. Each homeland was supposed to develop into a separate-nation state within which the eight black ethnic groups were to find and grow their separate national identity, culture and language; Transkei - Xhosa (given "independence"), Ciskei - Xhosa (given "independence" in 1981), Bophuthatswana - Tswana (given "independence"), Venda - Venda (given "independence"); KwaZulu - Zulu, Lebowa - Pedi, Kangwane - Swazi, QwaQwa - Sotho, Gazankulu - Tsonga, and KwaNdebele - Ndebele. Each homeland controlled its own education and health system.

Not all the homelands chose to become self-governing. Those who did choose autonomy were the Transkei (1976), Bophuthatswana (1977), Venda (1979) and the Ciskei (1981). Once a homeland was granted its "independence," its designated citizens had their South African citizenship revoked, replaced with citizenship in their homeland. These people were then issued passports instead of passbooks. Citizens of the supposedly "autonomous" homelands also had their South African citizenship circumscribed, meaning they were no longer legally considered South African. The South African government attempted to draw an equivalence between their view of black "citizens" of the "homelands" and the problems which other countries faced through entry of illegal immigrants.

While other countries were dismantling their discriminatory legislation and becoming more liberal on racial issues, South Africa continued to construct a structure of legislation promoting racial and ethnic separation.

Many white South Africans supported apartheid because of demographics; that is, separation and partition were seen as a means of avoiding a one-person-one-vote democracy within a single unified South African state, which would render whites a politically-powerless minority. In addition, leaders of the above homelands became important defenders of apartheid, such as Kaiser Matanzima, Bantu Holomisa, Oupa Gqozo, Lucas Mangope and Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Apartheid placed great emphasis on "self-determination" and "cultural autonomy" for different ethnic groups. For this reason, "mother-tongue" education was strongly emphasized. Thus, in addition to pouring resources into developing Afrikaans educational material, resources were also poured into developing school textbooks in black languages like Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Tswana, and Pedi. As a result, one of the consequences of apartheid was a South African population literate in black-African languages (a rare thing in Africa where schooling is normally carried out in colonial languages like English and French).

Forced removals

During the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, the government implemented a policy of 'resettlement', to force people to move to their designated "group areas". Some argue that over three and a half million people were forced to resettle during this period. These removals included people re-located due to slum clearance programmes, labour tenants on white-owned farms, the inhabitants of the so-called 'black spots', areas of black-owned land surrounded by white farms, the families of workers living in townships close to the homelands, and 'surplus people' from urban areas, including thousands of people from the Western Cape (which was declared a 'Coloured Labour Preference Area') who were moved to the Transkei and Ciskei homelands. The best-publicised forced removals of the 1950s occurred in Johannesburg, when 60,000 people were moved to the new township of Soweto, an acronym for South Western Townships.

Until 1955 Sophiatown had been one of the few urban areas where blacks were allowed to own land, and was slowly developing into a multiracial slum. As industry in Johannesburg grew, Sophiatown became the home of a rapidly expanding black workforce, as it was convenient and close to town. It could also boast the only swimming pool for black children in Johannesburg. As one of the oldest black settlements in Johannesburg, Sophiatown held an almost symbolic importance for the 50,000 blacks it contained, both in terms of its sheer vibrancy and its unique culture. Despite a vigorous ANC protest campaign and worldwide publicity, the removal of Sophiatown began on 9 February 1955 under the Western Areas Removal Scheme. In the early hours, heavily armed police entered Sophiatown to force residents out of their homes and load their belongings onto government trucks. The residents were taken to a large tract of land, thirteen miles (19 km) from the city centre, known as Meadowlands (that the government had purchased in 1953). Meadowlands became part of a new planned black city called Soweto. The Sophiatown slum was destroyed by bulldozers, and a new white suburb named Triomf (Triumph) was built in its place. This pattern of forced removal and destruction was to repeat itself over the next few years, and was not limited to people of African descent. Forced removals from areas like Cato Manor (Mkhumbane) in Durban, and District Six in Cape Town, where 55,000 coloured and Indian people were forced to move to new townships on the Cape Flats, were carried out under the Group Areas Act of 1950. Ultimately, nearly 600,000 coloured, Indian and Chinese people were moved in terms of the Group Areas Act. Some 40,000 white people were also forced to move when land was transferred from "white South Africa" into the black homelands.

Petty apartheid

The National Party passed a string of legislation which became known as petty apartheid. The first of these was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act 55 of 1949, prohibiting marriage between white people and people of other races. The Immorality Amendment Act 21 of 1950 (as amended in 1957 by Act 23) forbade "unlawful racial intercourse" and "any immoral or indecent act" between a white person and an African, Indian or coloured person.

Blacks were not allowed to run businesses or professional practices in those areas designated as "white South Africa" without a permit. They were supposed to move to the black "homelands" and set up businesses and practices there. Transport and civil facilities were segregated. Black buses stopped at black bus stops and white buses at white ones. Trains, hospitals and ambulances were segregated. Because of the smaller numbers of white patients and the fact that white doctors preferred to work in "white" hospitals, conditions in white hospitals were much better than those in often overcrowded black hospitals. Blacks were excluded from living or working in white areas, unless they had a pass — nicknamed the dompas ("dumb pass" in Afrikaans). Only blacks with "Section 10" rights (those who had migrated to the cities before World War II) were excluded from this provision. A pass was issued only to a black person with approved work. Spouses and children had to be left behind in black homelands. A pass was issued for one magisterial district (usually one town) confining the holder to that area only. Being without a valid pass made a person subject to arrest and trial for being an illegal migrant. This was often followed by deportation to the person's homeland and prosecution of the employer (for employing an illegal migrant). Police vans patrolled the "white" areas to round up "illegal" blacks found there without passes. Black people were not allowed to employ white people in "white South Africa".

Although trade unions for black and "coloured" (mixed race) workers had existed since the early 20th century, it was not until the 1980s reforms that a mass black trade union movement developed.

In the 1970s each black child's education within the Bantu Education system (the education system practiced in 'black schools' within "white South Africa") cost the state only a tenth of each white child's. Higher education was provided in separate universities and colleges after 1959. Eight black universities were created in the homelands. Fort Hare University in the Ciskei (now Eastern Cape) was to register only Xhosa-speaking students. Sotho, Tswana, Pedi and Venda speakers were placed at the newly-founded University College of the North at Turfloop, while the University College of Zululand was launched to serve Zulu scholars. Coloureds and Indians were to have their own establishments in the Cape and Natal respectively.

In addition, each black homeland controlled its own separate education, health and police system. Blacks were not allowed to buy hard liquor. They were able only to buy state-produced poor quality beer (although this was relaxed later). Public beaches were racially segregated. Public swimming pools, some pedestrian bridges, drive-in cinema parking spaces, graveyards, parks, and public toilets were segregated. Cinemas and theatres in "white areas" were not allowed to admit blacks. There were practically no cinemas in black areas. Most restaurants and hotels in white areas were not allowed to admit blacks except as staff. Black Africans were prohibited from attending "white" churches under the Churches Native Laws Amendment Act of 1957. This was, however, never rigidly enforced, and churches were one of the few places races could mix without the interference of the law. Blacks earning 360 rand a year, 30 rand a month, or more had to pay taxes while the white threshold was more than twice as high, at 750 rand a year, 62.5 rand per month. On the other hand, the taxation rate for whites was considerably higher than that for blacks.

Blacks could never acquire land in white areas. In the homelands, much of the land belonged to a 'tribe', where the local chieftain would decide how the land had to be utilized. This resulted in white people owning almost all the industrial and agricultural lands and much of the prized residential land. Most blacks were stripped of their South African citizenship when the "homelands" became "independent". Thus, they were no longer able to apply for South African passports. Eligibility requirements for a passport had been difficult for blacks to meet, the government contending that a passport was a privilege, not a right. As such, the government did not grant many passports to blacks. Apartheid pervaded South African culture, as well as the law. This was reinforced by much of the media, and the lack of opportunities for the races to mix in a social setting entrenched social distance between people.

Coloured classification

The population was classified into four groups: Black, White, Indian, and Coloured. (These terms are capitalized to denote their legal definitions in South African law). The Coloured group included people of mixed Bantu, Khoisan, and European descent (with some Malay ancestry, especially in the Western Cape). The Apartheid bureaucracy devised complex (and often arbitrary) criteria at the time that the Population Registration Act was implemented to determine who was Coloured. Minor officials would administer tests to determine if someone should be categorised either Coloured or Black, or if another person should be categorised either Coloured or White. Different members of the same family found themselves in different race groups. Further tests determined membership of the various sub-racial groups of the Coloureds. Many of those who formerly belonged to this racial group are opposed to the continuing use of the term "coloured" in the post-apartheid era, though the term no longer signifies any legal meaning. The expressions 'so-called Coloured' (Afrikaans sogenaamde Kleurlinge) and 'brown people' (bruin mense) acquired a wide usage in the 1980s.

Discriminated against by apartheid, Coloureds were as a matter of state policy forced to live in separate townships — in some cases leaving homes their families had occupied for generations — and received an inferior education, though better than that provided to Black South Africans. They played an important role in the struggle against apartheid: for example the African Political Organization established in 1902 had an exclusively coloured membership.

Voting rights were denied to Coloureds in the same way that they were denied to blacks from 1950 to 1983. However, in 1977 the NP caucus approved proposals to bring coloured and Indians into central government. In 1982, final constitutional proposals produced a referendum among white voters, and the Tricameral Parliament was approved. The Constitution was reformed the following year to allow the Coloured and Asian minorities participation in separate Houses in a Tricameral Parliament, and Botha became the first Executive State President. The theory was that the Coloured minority could be granted voting rights, but the Black majority were to become citizens of independent homelands. These separate arrangements continued until the abolition of apartheid. The Tricameral reforms led to the formation of the (anti-apartheid) UDF as a vehicle to try and prevent the co-option of coloureds and Indians into an alliance with white South Africans. The subsequent battles between the UDF and the NP government from 1983 to 1989 were to become the most intense period of struggle between left-wing and right-wing South Africans.

Women under apartheid

Colonialism and apartheid had a major impact on women since they suffered both racial and gender discrimination. Oppression against African women was different from discrimination against men. Indeed, they had very few or no legal rights, no access to education and no right to own property. Jobs were often hard to find but many African women worked as agricultural or domestic workers though wages were extremely low if not non-existent. Children suffered from diseases caused by malnutrition and sanitary problems, and mortality rates were therefore high. The controlled movement of African workers within the country through the Natives Urban Areas Act of 1923 and the pass-laws, separated family members from one another as men usually worked in urban centers, while women were forced to stay in rural areas. Marriage law and births were also controlled by the government and the pro-apartheid Dutch Reformed Church, who tried to restrict African birth rates.

Other minorities

Defining its East Asian population, which is a minority in South Africa but who do not physically appear to belong any of the four designated groups, was a constant dilemma for the apartheid government. Chinese South Africans who were descendants of migrant workers who came to work in the gold mines around Johannesburg in the late 19th century, were classified as "Other Asian" and hence "non-white", whereas immigrants from Republic of China (Taiwan), South Korea and Japan, with which South Africa maintained diplomatic relations, were considered "honorary whites", thus granted the same privileges as normal whites.


The National Party government implemented, alongside apartheid, a programme of social conservatism. Pornography, gambling and other such vices were banned. Cinemas, shops selling alcohol and most other businesses were forbidden from operating on Sundays. Abortion and sex education were also restricted; abortion was legal only in cases of rape or if the mother's life was threatened.

Television was not introduced until 1975 because the government viewed it as dangerous. Television was also run on apartheid lines - TV1 broadcast in Afrikaans and English (geared to a white audience), TV2 in Zulu and Xhosa and TV3 in Sotho, Tswana and Pedi (both geared to a black audience), and TV4 mostly showed programmes for an urban-black audience.

Internal resistance

The system of apartheid sparked significant internal resistance. The government responded to a series of popular uprisings and protests with police brutality, which in turn increased local support for the armed resistance struggle. Internal resistance to the apartheid system in South Africa came from several sectors of society and saw the creation of organizations dedicated variously to peaceful protests, passive resistance and armed insurrection.

In 1949 the youth wing of the African National Congress (ANC) took control of the organization and started advocating a radical black nationalist programme. The new young leaders proposed that white authority could only be overthrown through mass campaigns. In 1950 that philosophy saw the launch of the Programme of Action, a series of strikes, boycotts and civil disobedience actions that led to occasionally violent clashes with the authorities.

In 1959 a group of disenchanted ANC members formed the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), which organised a demonstration against pass books on 21 March 1960. One of those protests was held in the township of Sharpeville, where 69 people were killed by police in the Sharpeville massacre.

In the wake of the Sharpeville incident the government declared a state of emergency, More than 18 000 people were arrested, including leaders of the ANC and PAC, and both organisations were banned. The resistance went underground, with some leaders in exile abroad and others engaged in campaigns of domestic sabotage and terrorism.

In May 1961, prior to the declaration of South Africa as a Republic, an assembly representing the banned ANC called for negotiations between the members of the different ethnic groupings, threatening demonstrations and strikes during the inauguration of the Republic if their calls were ignored.

When the government overlooked them, the strikers (among the main organizers was a 42-year old, Thembu-origin man called Nelson Mandela) carried out their threats. The government countered swiftly by giving police the authority to arrest people for up to twelve days and detaining many strike leaders amid numerous cases of police brutality. Defeated, the protesters called off their strike. The ANC then chose to launch an armed struggle through a newly formed military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), which would perform acts of sabotage on tactical state structures. Its first sabotage plans were carried out on 16 December 1961, the anniversary of the Battle of Blood River.

In the 1970s the Black Consciousness Movement was created by tertiary students influenced by the American Black Power movement. BC endorsed black pride and African customs and did much to alter the feelings of inadequacy instilled among black people by the apartheid system. The leader of the movement, Steve Biko, was taken into custody on 18 August 1977 and was murdered in detention.

In 1976 secondary students in Soweto took to the streets in the Soweto uprising to protest against forced tuition in Afrikaans. On 16 June, police opened fire on students in what was meant to be a peaceful protest. According to official reports 23 people were killed, but news agencies put the number as high as 600 killed and 4000 injured. In the following years several student organisations were formed with the goal of protesting against apartheid, and these organisations were central to urban school boycotts in 1980 and 1983 as well as rural boycotts in 1985 and 1986.

In parallel to student protests, labour unions started protest action in 1973 and 1974. After 1976 unions and workers are considered to have played an important role in the struggle against apartheid, filling the gap left by the banning of political parties. In 1979 black trade unions were legalised and could engage in collective bargaining, although strikes were still illegal.

At roughly the same time churches and church groups also emerged as pivotal points of resistance. Church leaders were not immune to prosecution, and certain faith-based organisations were banned, but the clergy generally had more freedom to criticise the government than militant groups did.

Although the majority of whites supported apartheid, some 20 percent did not support apartheid. Parliamentary opposition was galvanised by Helen Suzman, Colin Eglin and Harry Schwarz. Extra-parliamentary resistance was largely centred in the South African Communist Party and women's organisation the Black Sash. Women were also notable in their involvement in trade union organisations and banned political parties.

International relations

International relations

The Commonwealth

South Africa's policies were subject to international scrutiny in 1960, when British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan criticised them during his celebrated Wind of Change speech in Cape Town. Weeks later, tensions came to a head in the Sharpeville Massacre, resulting in more international condemnation. Soon thereafter, Verwoerd announced a referendum on whether the country should sever links with the British monarchy and become a republic instead. Verwoerd lowered the voting age for whites to eighteen and included whites in South West Africa on the voter's roll. The referendum on 5 October that year asked whites, "Do you support a republic for the Union?", and 52 per cent voted "Yes". As a consequence of this change of status, South Africa needed to reapply for continued membership of the Commonwealth, with which it had privileged trade links. Even though India became a republic within the Commonwealth in 1947 it became clear that African and Asian member states would oppose South Africa due to its apartheid policies. As a result, South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth on 31 May 1961, the day that the Republic came into existence.

United Nations

At the first UN gathering in 1946, South Africa was placed on the agenda. The primary subject in question was the handling of South African Indians, a great cause of divergence between South Africa and India. In 1952, apartheid was again discussed in the aftermath of the Defiance Campaign, and the UN set up a task team to keep watch on the progress of apartheid and the racial state of affairs in South Africa. Although South Africa's racial policies were a cause for concern, most countries in the UN concurred that this was a domestic affair, which fell outside the UN's jurisdiction.

In April 1960, the UN's conservative stance on apartheid changed following the Sharpeville massacre, and the Security Council for the first time agreed on concerted action against the apartheid regime, demanding an end to racial separation and discrimination. From 1960 the ANC began a campaign of armed struggle of which there would later be a charge of 193 acts of terrorism from 1961-1963, mainly bombings and murders of civilians.

Instead, the South African government then began further suppression, banning the ANC and PAC. In 1961, UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld stopped over in South Africa and subsequently stated that he had been unable to reach agreement with Prime Minister Verwoerd.

On 6 November 1962, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 1761, condemning South African apartheid policies. In 1966, the UN held the first[which?] of many colloquiums on apartheid. The General Assembly announced 21 March as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in memory of the Sharpeville massacre.[citation needed] In 1971, the General Assembly formally denounced the institution of homelands, and a motion was passed in 1974 to expel South Africa from the UN, but this was vetoed by France, Britain and the United States of America, all key trade associates of South Africa.

On 7 August 1963 the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 181 calling for a voluntary arms embargo against South Africa, and in the same year, a Special Committee Against Apartheid was established to encourage and oversee plans of action against the regime. From 1964, the US and Britain discontinued their arms trade with South Africa. In 1977, the voluntary UN arms embargo became mandatory with the passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 418.

Economic sanctions against South Africa were also frequently debated as an effective way of putting pressure on the apartheid government. In 1962, the UN General Assembly requested that its members sever political, fiscal and transportation ties with South Africa. In 1968, it proposed ending all cultural, educational and sporting connections as well. Economic sanctions, however, were not made mandatory, because of opposition from South Africa's main trading partners.

In 1978 and 1983 the United Nations condemned South Africa at the World Conference Against Racism, and a significant divestment movement started, pressuring investors to disinvest from South African companies or companies that did business with South Africa.

After much debate, by the late 1980s the United States, the United Kingdom, and 23 other nations had passed laws placing various trade sanctions on South Africa. A divestment movement in many countries was similarly widespread, with individual cities and provinces around the world implementing various laws and local regulations forbidding registered corporations under their jurisdiction from doing business with South African firms, factories, or banks.

Organisation for African Unity

The Organisation for African Unity (OAU) was created in 1963. Its primary objectives were to eradicate colonialism and improve social, political and economic situations in Africa. It censured apartheid and demanded sanctions against South Africa. African states agreed to aid the liberation movements in their fight against apartheid. In 1969, fourteen nations from Central and East Africa gathered in Lusaka, Zambia, and formulated the 'Lusaka Manifesto', which was signed on 13 April by all of the countries in attendance except Malawi. This manifesto was later taken on by both the OAU and the United Nations.

The Lusaka Manifesto summarised the political situations of self-governing African countries, condemning racism and inequity, and calling for black majority rule in all African nations. It did not rebuff South Africa entirely, though, adopting an appeasing manner towards the apartheid government, and even recognising its autonomy. Although African leaders supported the emancipation of black South Africans, they preferred this to be attained through peaceful means. The manifesto's signatories did not support violent opposition to apartheid, because, for one thing, they could ill afford it and, for another, they dreaded retaliation.

South Africa's negative response to the Lusaka Manifesto and rejection of a change to her policies brought about another OAU announcement in 1971. The Mogadishu Declaration declared that South Africa's rebuffing of negotiations meant that her black people could only be freed through military means, and that no African state should converse with the apartheid government. Henceforth, it would be up to South Africa to keep contact with other African states.

Outward-Looking Policy

In 1966, BJ Vorster was made South African Prime Minister. He was not prepared to dismantle apartheid, but he did try to redress South Africa's isolation and to revitalise the country's global reputation, even those with black-ruled nations in Africa. This he called his "Outward-Looking" policy; the buzzwords for his strategy were "dialogue" and "détente", signifying a reduction of tension.

Vorster's willingness to talk to African leaders stood in contrast to Verwoerd's refusal to engage with leaders such as Abubakar Tafawa Balewa of Nigeria in 1962 and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia in 1964. In 1966, Vorster met with the heads of the neighbouring states of Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana. In 1967, Vorster offered technological and financial aid to any African state prepared to receive it, asserting that no political strings were attached, aware that many African states needed financial aid despite their opposition to South Africa's racial policies. Many were also tied to South Africa economically because of their migrant labour population working on the South African mines. Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland remained outspoken critics of apartheid, but depended on South Africa's economic aid.

Malawi was the first country not on South African borders to accept South African aid. In 1967, the two states set out their political and economic relations, and, in 1969, Malawi became the only country at the assembly which did not sign the Lusaka Manifesto condemning South Africa' apartheid policy. In 1970, Malawian president Hastings Banda made his first and most successful official stopover in South Africa.

Associations with Mozambique followed suit and were sustained after that country won its sovereignty in 1975. Angola was also granted South African loans. Other countries which formed relationships with South Africa were Liberia, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mauritius, Gabon, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Ghana and the Central African Republic. Although these states condemned apartheid (more than ever after South Africa's denunciation of the Lusaka Manifesto), South Africa's economic and military dominance meant that they remained dependent on South Africa to varying degrees.

Cultural and sporting isolation

South Africa's isolation in sport began in the mid 1950s and increased throughout the 1960s. Apartheid forbade multiracial sport, which meant that overseas teams, by virtue of their having players of diverse races, could not play in South Africa. In 1956, the International Table Tennis Federation severed its ties with the all-white South African Table Tennis Union, preferring the non-racial South African Table Tennis Board. The apartheid government responded by confiscating the passports of the Board's players so that they were unable to attend international games.

In 1959, the non-racial South African Sports Association (SASA) was formed to secure the rights of all players on the global field. After meeting with no success in its endeavours to attain credit by collaborating with white establishments, SASA approached the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1962, calling for South Africa's expulsion from the Olympic Games. The IOC sent South Africa a caution to the effect that, if there were no changes, they would be barred from the 1964 Olympic Games. The changes were initiated, and in January 1963, the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee (SANROC) was set up. The Anti-Apartheid Movement persisted in its campaign for South Africa's exclusion, and the IOC acceded in barring the country from the 1964 Games in Tokyo. South Africa selected a multi-racial side for the next Games, and the IOC opted for incorporation in the 1968 Games in Mexico. Because of protests from AAMs and African nations, however, the IOC was forced to retract the invitation.

Foreign complaints about South Africa's bigoted sports brought more isolation. Racially selected New Zealand sports teams toured South Africa, until the 1970 New Zealand All Blacks rugby tour allowed Maori to go under the status of 'honorary whites'. Huge and widespread protest occurred in New Zealand in 1981 against the Springbok tour, the government spent eight million dollars protecting games using the army and police force. A planned All Black tour to South Africa in 1985 remobilised the New Zealand protestors and it was cancelled. A 'rebel tour' not government sanctioned went ahead in 1986, but after that sporting ties were cut, and New Zealand made a decision not to convey an authorised rugby team to South Africa until the end of apartheid.

B. J. Vorster took Verwoerd's place as PM in 1966 and declared that South Africa would no longer dictate to other countries what their teams should look like. Although this reopened the gate for sporting meets, it did not signal the end of South Africa's racist sporting policies. In 1968, Vorster went against his policy by refusing to permit Basil D'Oliveira, a Coloured South African-born cricketer, to join the English cricket team on its tour to South Africa. Vorster said that the side had been chosen only to prove a point, and not on merit. After protests, however, "Dolly" was eventually included in the team. Protests against certain tours brought about the cancellation of a number of other visits, like that of an England rugby team in 1969/70.

In 1971, Vorster altered his policies even further by distinguishing multiracial from multinational sport. Multiracial sport, between teams with players of different races, remained outlawed; multinational sport, however, was now acceptable: international sides would not be subject to South Africa's racial stipulations.

In 1978, Nigeria boycotted the Commonwealth Games because New Zealand's sporting contacts with the South African government were not considered to be in accordance with the 1977 Gleneagles Agreement. Nigeria also led the 32-nation boycott of the 1986 Commonwealth Games because of British prime minister Margaret Thatcher's ambivalent attitude towards sporting links with South Africa, significantly affecting the quality and profitability of the Games and thus thrusting apartheid into the international spotlight.

Sporting bans were revoked in 1993, when conciliations for a democratic South Africa were well under way.

In the 1960s, the Anti-Apartheid Movements began to campaign for cultural boycotts of apartheid South Africa. Artists were requested not to present or let their works be hosted in South Africa. In 1963, 45 British writers put their signatures to an affirmation approving of the boycott, and, in 1964, American actor Marlon Brando called for a similar affirmation for films. In 1965, the Writers' Guild of Great Britain called for a proscription on the sending of films to South Africa. Over sixty American artists signed a statement against apartheid and against professional links with the state. The presentation of some South African plays in Britain and America was also vetoed. After the arrival of television in South Africa in 1975, the British Actors Union, Equity, boycotted the service, and no British programme concerning its associates could be sold to South Africa. Sporting and cultural boycotts did not have the same impact as economic sanctions, but they did much to lift consciousness amongst normal South Africans of the global condemnation of apartheid.

Western influence

While international opposition to apartheid grew, the Nordic countries in particular provided both moral and financial support for the ANC. On 21 February 1986 – a week before he was murdered – Sweden's prime minister Olof Palme made the keynote address to the Swedish People's Parliament Against Apartheid held in Stockholm. In addressing the hundreds of anti-apartheid sympathizers as well as leaders and officials from the ANC and the Anti-Apartheid Movement such as Oliver Tambo, Palme declared:

"Apartheid cannot be reformed; it has to be eliminated."

Other Western countries adopted a more ambivalent position. In the 1980s, both the Reagan and Thatcher administrations in the USA and UK followed a 'constructive engagement' policy with the apartheid government, vetoing the imposition of UN economic sanctions on South Africa, justified by a belief in free trade and a vision of South Africa as a bastion against Marxist forces in Southern Africa. Thatcher declared the ANC a terrorist organisation,, and in 1987 her spokesman, Bernard Ingham, famously said that anyone who believed that the ANC would ever form the government of South Africa was "living in cloud cuckoo land".

By the late 1980s, however, with the tide of the Cold War turning and no sign of a political resolution in South Africa, Western patience with the apartheid government began to run out. By 1989, a bipartisan Republican/Democratic initiative in the US favoured economic sanctions (realized as the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act), the release of Nelson Mandela and a negotiated settlement involving the ANC. Thatcher too began to take a similar line, but insisted on the suspension of the ANC's armed struggle.

Britain's significant economic involvement in South Africa may have provided some leverage with the South African government, with both the UK and the US applying pressure on the government, and pushing for negotiations. However, neither Britain nor the US were willing to apply economic pressure upon their multinational interests in South Africa, such as the mining company Anglo American. Although a high-profile compensation claim against these companies was thrown out of court in 2004, the US Supreme Court in May 2008 upheld an appeal court ruling allowing another lawsuit that seeks damages of more than $400 billion from major international companies which are accused of aiding South Africa's apartheid system.

South African Border War

By 1966, SWAPO launched guerilla raids from neighbouring countries against South Africa's occupation of South-West Africa/Namibia. Initially South Africa fought a counter-insurgency war against SWAPO. This conflict deepened after Angola gained its independence in 1975 under the communist leadership of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) when South Africa and the United States sided with the Angolan rival UNITA party against the MPLA's armed force, FAPLA (People's Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola). By the end of the 1970s, Cuba had joined the fray, in one of several late Cold War flashpoints throughout Southern Africa. The Angolan civil war developed into a conventional war with South Africa and UNITA on one side against the Angolan MPLA government, the Cubans, the Soviets and SWAPO on the other.

Total onslaught

By 1980, as international opinion turned decisively against the apartheid regime, the government and much of the white population increasingly looked upon the country as a bastion besieged by communism and radical black nationalists. Considerable effort was put into circumventing sanctions, and the government even went so far as to develop nuclear weapons, allegedly with the help of Israel.

The term "front-line states" referred to countries in Southern Africa geographically near South Africa. Although these front-line states were all opposed to apartheid, many were economically dependent on South Africa. In 1980, they formed the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), the aim of which was to promote economic development in the region and hence reduce dependence on South Africa. Furthermore, many SADCC members also allowed the exiled ANC and Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) to establish bases in their countries.

Cross-border raids

South Africa had a policy of attacking terrorist bases in neighboring countries. These attacks were mainly aimed at ANC, PAC and SWAPO guerrilla-bases and safe houses in retaliation for acts of terror - like bomb explosions, massacres and guerrilla actions (like sabotage) by ANC, PAC and Swapo guerrillas in South Africa and Namibia. The country also aided organisations in surrounding countries who were actively combating the spread of communism in Southern Africa. The results of these policies included:

  • Support for anti-government guerrilla groups such as UNITA in Angola and RENAMO in Mozambique
  • South African Defence Force (SADF; now the South African National Defence Force; SANDF) hit-squad raids into front-line states. Bombing raids were also conducted into neighbouring states.
  • A full-scale invasion of Angola: this was partly in support of UNITA, but was also an attempt to strike at SWAPO bases.
  • Targeting of exiled ANC leaders abroad: Joe Slovo's wife Ruth First was killed by a parcel bomb in Maputo, and 'death squads' of the Civil Co-operation Bureau and the Directorate of Military Intelligence attempted to carry out assassinations on ANC targets in Brussels, Paris and Stockholm, as well as burglaries and bombings in London.[citation needed]

In 1984, Mozambican president Samora Machel signed the Nkomati Accord with South Africa's president P.W. Botha, in an attempt to rebuild Mozambique's economy. South Africa agreed to cease supporting anti-government forces, while the MK was prohibited from operating in Mozambique. This was a setback for the ANC.

In 1986 President Machel was killed in an air crash in mountainous terrain in South Africa near the Mozambican border after returning from a meeting in Zambia. South Africa was accused of continuing its aid to RENAMO and having caused the accident by using a false radio navigation beacon to lure the aircraft into crashing. This conspiracy theory was never proven and is still a subject of some controversy, despite the South African Margo Commission finding that the crash was an accident. A Soviet delegation that did not participate in the investigation issued a minority report implicating South Africa.

State security

During the 1980s the government, led by P.W. Botha, became increasingly preoccupied with security. On the advice of American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, Botha's government set up a powerful state security apparatus to "protect" the state against an anticipated upsurge in political violence that the reforms were expected to trigger. The 1980s became a period of considerable political unrest, with the government becoming increasingly dominated by Botha's circle of generals and police chiefs (known as securocrats), who managed the various States of Emergencies.

Botha's years in power were marked also by numerous military interventions in the states bordering South Africa, as well as an extensive military and political campaign to eliminate SWAPO in Namibia. Within South Africa, meanwhile, vigorous police action and strict enforcement of security legislation resulted in hundreds of arrests and bans, and an effective end to the ANC's sabotage campaign.

The government punished political offenders brutally. Between 1982 and 1983, 40,000 people were subjected to whipping as a form of punishment. The vast majority had committed political offences and were lashed ten times for their trouble. If convicted of treason, a person could be hanged, and the government executed numerous political offenders in this way.

As the 1980s progressed, more and more anti-apartheid organizations were formed and affiliated with the UDF. Led by the Reverend Allan Boesak and Albertina Sisulu, the UDF called for the government to abandon its reforms and instead abolish apartheid and eliminate the homelands completely.

State of Emergency

Serious political violence was a prominent feature of South Africa from 1985 to 1989, as black townships became the focus of the struggle between anti-apartheid organisations and the Botha government. Throughout the 1980s, township people resisted apartheid by acting against the local issues that faced their particular communities. The focus of much of this resistance was against the local authorities and their leaders, who were seen to be supporting the government. By 1985, it had become the ANC's aim to make black townships "ungovernable" (a term later replaced by "people's power") by means of rent boycotts and other militant action. Numerous township councils were overthrown or collapsed, to be replaced by unofficial popular organisations, often led by militant youth. People's courts were set up, and residents accused of being government agents were dealt extreme and occasionally lethal punishment. Black town councillors and policemen, and sometimes their families, attacked with petrol bombs, beatan, and murdered by necklacing, where a burning tyre was placed around the victim's neck.

On 20 July 1985, State President P.W. Botha declared a State of Emergency in 36 magisterial districts. Areas affected were the Eastern Cape, and the PWV region ("Pretoria, Witwatersrand, Vereeniging"). Three months later the Western Cape was included as well. An increasing number of organisations were banned or listed (restricted in some way); many individuals had restrictions such as house arrest imposed on them. During this state of emergency about 2,436 people were detained under the Internal Security Act. This act gave police and the military sweeping powers. The government could implement curfews controlling the movement of people. The president could rule by decree without referring to the constitution or to parliament. It became a criminal offence to threaten someone verbally or possess documents that the government perceived to be threatening. It was illegal to advise anyone to stay away from work or oppose the government. It was illegal, too, to disclose the name of anyone arrested under the State of Emergency until the government saw fit to release that name. People could face up to ten years' imprisonment for these offences. Detention without trial became a common feature of the government's reaction to growing civil unrest and by 1988, 30,000 people had been detained. Thousands were arrested and many were interrogated and tortured.

On 12 June 1986, four days before the ten-year anniversary of the Soweto uprising, the state of emergency was extended to cover the whole country. The government amended the Public Security Act, expanding its powers to include the right to declare "unrest" areas, allowing extraordinary measures to crush protests in these areas. Severe censorship of the press became a dominant tactic in the government's strategy and television cameras were banned from entering such areas. The state broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) provided propaganda in support of the government. Media opposition to the system increased, supported by the growth of a pro-ANC underground press within South Africa.

In 1987, the State of Emergency was extended for another two years. Meanwhile, about 200,000 members of the National Union of Mineworkers commenced the longest strike (three weeks) in South African history. 1988 saw the banning of the activities of the UDF and other anti-apartheid organisations.

Much of the violence in the late 1980s and early 1990s was directed at the government, but a substantial amount was between the residents themselves. Many died in violence between members of Inkatha and the UDF-ANC faction. It was later proven that the government manipulated the situation by supporting one side or the other when it suited it. Government agents assassinated opponents within South Africa and abroad; they undertook cross-border army and air-force attacks on suspected ANC and PAC bases, killing and maiming innocent civilians. The ANC and the PAC in return exploded bombs at restaurants, shopping centres and government buildings such as magistrates courts, killing and maiming civilians and government officials.

The state of emergency continued until 1990, when it was lifted by State President F.W. de Klerk

Final years of apartheid

In the 1960s South Africa had economic growth second only to that of Japan. Trade with Western countries grew, and investors from the United States, France and Britain rushed in to get a piece of the action. Resistance among blacks had been crushed. Since 1964 Mandela, leader of the African Nation Congress, had been in prison on Robben Island just off the coast from Cape Town, and it appeared that South Africa's security forces could handle any resistance to apartheid. But in the seventies this rosy picture for South Africa's whites began to fade.

In 1974, resistance to apartheid was encouraged by Portugal's withdrawal from Mozambique and Angola. Portugal could not afford to continue combating liberation movements in its colonies, which were being aided by the Soviet Union and China. South African troops withdrew from Angola in early 1976, failing to prevent the liberation forces from gaining power there, and black students in South Africa celebrated a victory of black liberation over white resistance.

In 1978 the defense minister of the Nationalist Party, P.W. Botha, became Prime Minister. Botha's all white regime was worried about the Soviet Union helping revolutionaries in South Africa, and the economy had turned sluggish. The new government noted that it was spending too much money trying to maintain the segregated homelands that had been created for blacks and the homelands were proving to be uneconomic.

Nor was maintaining blacks as a third class working well. The labor of blacks remained vital to the economy, and illegal black labor unions were flourishing. Many blacks remained too poor to make much of a contribution to the economy through their purchasing power - although they were more than 70 percent of the population. Capitalism functioned on goodwill, and it was goodwill that Botha's regime was most concerned - not for the sake of capitalism so much as it was afraid that an antidote was needed to prevent the blacks from being attracted to Communism.

The anti-apartheid movements in the United States and Europe were gaining support for boycotts against South Africa, for the withdrawal of U.S. firms from South Africa and for the release of Mandela. South Africa was becoming an outlaw in the world community of nations. Investing in South Africa by Americans and others was coming to an end.

Tricameral Parliament

In the early 1980s, Botha's National Party government started to recognise the inevitability of the need to reform apartheid. Early reforms were driven by a combination of internal violence, international condemnation, changes within the National Party's constituency, and changing demographics — whites constituted only 16% of the total population, in comparison to 20% fifty years earlier.

In 1983, a new constitution was passed implementing a so-called Tricameral Parliament, giving coloureds and Indians voting rights and parliamentary representation in separate houses - the House of Assembly (178 members) for whites, the House of Representatives (85 members) for coloureds and the House of Delegates (45 members) for Indians. Each House handled laws pertaining to its racial group's "own affairs", including health, education and other community issues. All laws relating to "general affairs" (matters such as defence, industry and taxation) were handled by a cabinet made up of representatives from all three houses, where the ruling party in the white House of Assembly had an unassailable numerical advantage. Blacks, although making up the majority of the population, were excluded from representation; they remained nominal citizens of their homelands. The first Tricameral elections were largely boycotted by Coloured and Indian voters, amid widespread rioting.

Reforms and contact with the ANC under Botha

Concerned over the popularity of Mandela, Botha denounced him as an arch-Marxist committed to violent revolution, but to appease black opinion and nurture Mandela as a benevolent leader of blacks the government moved Mandela from Robben Island to a more pleasant prison in a rural area just outside Cape Town, Pollsmoor prison, where prison life was easier and more pleasant. And the government allowed Mandela more visitors, including visits and interviews by foreigners - to let the world know that Mandela was being treated well.

Black homelands were declared nation-states and pass laws were abolished. Also, black labor unions were legitimized, the government recognized the right of blacks to live in urban areas permanently and gave blacks property rights there. Interest was expressed in rescinding the law against interracial marriage and also rescinding the law against sex between the races, which was under ridicule abroad. The spending for black schools increased, to one-seventh of white children per child - up from on one-sixteenth in 1968. At the same time, attention was given to strengthening the effectiveness of the police apparatus.

In January 1985, Botha addressed the government's House of Assembly and stated that the government was willing to release Mandela on condition that Mandela pledge opposition to acts of violence to further political objectives. Mandela's reply was read in public by one of his allies - his first words distributed publicly since his sentence to prison twenty-one years before. Mandela described violence as the responsibility of the apartheid regime and said that with democracy there would be no need for violence. The crowd listening to the reading of his speech erupted in cheers and chants. This response helped to further elevate Mandela's status in the eyes of those, both internationally and domestically, who opposed apartheid.

Between 1986 and 1988, some petty apartheid laws were repealed. Botha told white South Africans to "adapt or die" and twice he wavered on the eve of what were billed as "rubicon" announcements of substantial reforms, although on both occasions he backed away from substantial changes. Ironically, these reforms served only to trigger intensified political violence through the remainder of the eighties as more communities and political groups across the country joined the resistance movement. Botha's government stopped short of substantial reforms, such as unbanning ANC, PAC and SACP and other liberation organisations, releasing political prisoners, or repealing the foundation laws of grand apartheid. The government's stance was that they would not contemplate negotiating until those organisations "renounced violence".

By 1987 the growth of South Africa's economy had dropped to among the lowest rate in the world, and the ban on South African participation in international sporting events was frustrating many whites in South Africa. Examples of African states with black leaders and white minorities existed in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Whispers of South Africa one day having a black President sent more hardline whites into Rightist parties. Mandela was moved to a four-bedroom house of his own, with a swimming pool and shaded by fir trees, on a prison farm just outside Cape Town. He had an unpublicized meeting with Botha, Botha impressing Mandela by walking forward, extending his hand and pouring Mandela's tea. And the two had a friendly discussion, Mandela comparing the African National Conference's rebellion with that of the Afrikaaner rebellion, and about everyone being brothers.

A number of clandestine meetings were held between the ANC-in-exile and various sectors of the internal struggle, such as women and educationalists. More overtly, a group of white intellectuals met the ANC in Senegal for talks.

Presidency of F.W. de Klerk

Early in 1989, Botha suffered a stroke; he was prevailed upon to resign on 13 February 1989. He was succeeded as president later that year by F.W. de Klerk. Despite his initial reputation as a conservative, De Klerk moved decisively towards negotiations to end the political stalemate in the country. In his opening address to parliament on 2 February 1990, De Klerk announced that he would repeal discriminatory laws and lift the 30-year ban on leading anti-apartheid groups such as the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the UDF. The Land Act was brought to an end. De Klerk also made his first public commitment to release jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela, to return to press freedom and to suspend the death penalty.Media restrictions were lifted and political prisoners not guilty of common-law crimes were released.

On 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison after more than 27 years in prison.

Having been instructed by the UN Security Council to end its long-standing military occupation in South-West Africa /Namibia, and in the face of military defeats and the growing cost of its war of occupation there, South Africa had had to relinquish control of this territory; Namibia officially became an independent state on 21 March 1990.


Apartheid was dismantled in a series of negotiations from 1990 to 1993, culminating in elections in 1994, the first in South Africa with universal suffrage.

From 1990 to 1991, the legal apparatus of apartheid was abolished. In 1990 negotiations were earnestly begun, with two meetings between the government and the ANC. The purpose of the negotiations was to pave the way for talks towards a peaceful transition of power. These meetings were successful in laying down the preconditions for negotiations - despite the considerable tensions still abounding within the country.

At the first meeting, the NP and ANC discussed the conditions for negotiations to begin. The meeting was held at Groote Schuur, the President's official residence. They released the Groote Schuur Minute which said that before negotiations commenced political prisoners would be freed and all exiles allowed to return.

There were fears that the change of power in South Africa would be violent. To avoid this, it was essential that a peaceful resolution between all parties be reached. In December 1991, the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) began negotiations on the formation of a multiracial transitional government and a new constitution extending political rights to all groups. CODESA adopted a Declaration of Intent and committed itself to an "undivided South Africa".

Reforms and negotiations to end apartheid led to a backlash among the right-wing white opposition, leading to the Conservative Party winning a number of by-elections against NP candidates. De Klerk responded by calling a whites-only referendum in March 1992 to decide whether or not negotiations should continue. A 68-percent majority of white voters gave its support, and the victory instilled in De Klerk and the government a lot more confidence, giving the NP a stronger position in negotiations.

Thus, when negotiations resumed in May 1992, under the tag of CODESA II, stronger demands were made. The ANC and the government could not reach a compromise on how power should be shared during the transition to democracy. The NP wanted to retain a strong position in a transitional government, as well as the power to change decisions made by parliament.

Persistent violence added to the tension during the negotiations. Violence was due to impatience for change on the part of those still living under repression, and also the intense rivalry between the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the ANC. Although Mandela and Buthelezi met to settle their differences, they could not stem the violence. One of the worst cases of ANC-IFP violence was the Boipatong massacre of 17 June 1992, when 200 IFP militants attacked the Gauteng township of Boipatong, killing 45. Witnesses said that the men had arrived in police vehicles, supporting claims that elements within the police and army contributed to the ongoing violence. When De Klerk tried to visit the scene of the incident, he was driven away by angry crowds, on whom the police opened fire, killing three. Mandela argued that de Klerk, as head of state, was responsible for bringing an end to the bloodshed. He also accused the South African police of inciting the ANC-IFP violence. This formed the basis for ANC's withdrawal from the negoatiations, and the CODESA forum broke down completely at this stage.

The Bisho massacre on 7 September 1992 brought matters to a head. The Ciskei Defence Force killed 29 people and injured 200 when they opened fire on ANC marchers demanding the reincorporation of the Ciskei homeland into South Africa. In the aftermath, Mandela and De Klerk agreed to meet to find ways to end the spiralling violence. This led to a resumption of negotiations.

Right-wing violence also added to the hostilities of this period. The assassination of Chris Hani on 10 April 1993 threatened to plunge the country into chaos. Hani, the popular general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), was assassinated in 1993 in Dawn Park in Johannesburg by Janusz Waluś, an anti-communist Polish refugee who had close links to the white nationalist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB). Hani enjoyed widespread support beyond his constituency in the SACP and ANC and had been recognised as a potential successor to Mandela; his death brought forth protests throughout the country and across the international community, but ultimately proved a turning point, after which the main parties pushed for a settlement with increased determination. On 25 June 1993, the AWB used an armoured vehicle to crash through the doors of the World Trade Centre where talks were still going ahead under the Negotiating Council. Even this failed to derail the process.

In addition to the continuing "black-on-black" violence, there were a number of attacks on white civilians by the PAC's military wing, the Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA). The PAC was hoping to strengthen their standing by attracting the support of the angry, impatient youth. In the St James Church massacre on 25 July 1993, members of the APLA opened fire in a church in Cape Town, killing 11 members of the congregation and wounding 58.

In 1993, de Klerk and Mandela were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa".

Violence persisted right up to the 1994 elections. Lucas Mangope, leader of the Bophuthatswana homeland, declared that it would not take part in the elections. It had been decided that, once the temporary constitution had come into effect, the homelands would be incorporated into South Africa, but Mangope did not want this to happen. There were strong protests against his decision, leading to a coup d'état in Bophuthatswana on 10 March which deposed Mangope, despite the intervention of white right-wingers hoping to maintain him in power. Three AWB militants were killed during this intervention, and harrowing images were shown on national television and in newspapers across the world.

Two days before the elections, a car bomb exploded in Johannesburg, killing nine. The day before the elections, another one went off, injuring thirteen. Finally, though, at midnight on 26–27 April 1994, the old flag was lowered, and the old (now co-official) national anthem Die Stem ("The Call") was sung, followed by the raising of the new rainbow flag and singing of the other co-official anthem, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika ("God Bless Africa").

1994 election

The election was held on 27 April 1994 and went off peacefully throughout the country as 20,000,000 South Africans cast their votes. There was some difficulty in organising the voting in rural areas, but, throughout the country, people waited patiently for many hours in order to vote amidst a palpable feeling of goodwill. An extra day was added to give everyone the chance. International observers agreed that the elections were free and fair.

The ANC won 62.65% of the vote, less than the 66.7% that would have allowed it to rewrite the constitution. In the new parliament, 252 of its 400 seats went to members of the African National Congress. The NP captured most of the white and coloured votes and became the official opposition party. As well as deciding the national government, the election decided the provincial governments, and the ANC won in seven of the nine provinces, with the NP winning in the Western Cape and the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal. On 10 May 1994, Mandela was sworn in as South Africa's president. The Government of National Unity was established, its cabinet made up of twelve ANC representatives, six from the NP, and three from the IFP. Thabo Mbeki and De Klerk were made deputy presidents.

The anniversary of the elections, 27 April, is celebrated as a public holiday in South Africa known as Freedom Day.