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South Africa


South Africa You are either alive and proud or you are dead . . . And your method of death can be a politicizing thing. --Steve Biko [From Radio Interview, – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: South Africa

South Africa
You are either alive and proud or you are dead .
. . And your method of death can be a
politicizing thing. --Steve Biko
From Radio Interview,Munich, just before
Cold War and South Africa
  • If Congo theatre of Cold War, South Africa
    script writer
  • Central Southern African player giving voice to
    threat of Communism
  • Had ear of America, western world
  • participated in targeting of Lumumba
  • argued domino theory in context of Congo,
    Angola, Mozambique, Rhodesia

Cold War and South Africa
  • Argument- Black freedom fighting parties in
    South Africa essentially communist- System of
    Apartheid - keeping lid communist revolution
    SA -keeping southern Africa safe from
    communists (like Lumumba), socialists (like
    FRELIMO in Mozambique) - preventing domino
    effect by which all southern Africa would

Cold War and South Africa
  • Argument Effective- West continued to support
    fascist, brutal Portuguese regimes in fear of
    alternativesee Mozambique April 7- backed
    off of protecting Lumumba- backed Mobutu who
    promised them Katanga (and he succeeded)-
    invested in, supported South Africa during years
    Apartheid constructed

Cold War and South Africa
  • Question often asked why would West, especially
    America support building of racist,
    segregationist regime just as it was beginning to
    deconstruct its own?- because NOT a question of
    race for west but rather victory in Cold
    War- South Africa seen as bulwark in war west
    could not afford to lose- South Africa used
    existence of Cold War to implement Apartheid

Cold War and South Africa
  • Key Race legislation Race Relations Act, Mixed
    Marriages Act, Group Areas Act
  • Key implementation legislation Suppression of
    Communism Act, 1950
  • 1950s, 1960s single most important legislation
    for arrests, imprisonment, banning, house arrest
  • see Additional Readings for full act

Cold War and South Africa

To declare the Communist Party of South Africa to
be an unlawful organization to make provision
for declaring other organizations promoting
communistic activities to be unlawful and for
prohibiting certain periodical or other
publications to prohibit certain communistic
activities and to make provision for other
incidental matters. (Afrikaans Text signed by the
Officer Administering the Government. Assented to
26th June, 1950.)
Cold War and South Africa

Communistic defined among other things
asthat which aims at bringing about any
political, industrial, social or economic change
within the Union by the promotion of disturbance
or disorder, by unlawful acts or omissions or by
the threat of such acts or omissions or by means
which include the promotion of disturbance or
disorder, or such acts or omissions or threat
Cold War and South Africa
  • South African Government declared the Peoples
    Congress 1955 as meeting of communists, seized
    all literature as being communist literature,
    arrested leaders as communists and declared the
    famous Freedom Charter to be a Communist
    Document! see Freedom Charter in
    Additional Readings

Cold War and South Africa
  • Critical Headings
  • - The People Shall Share in the Country's Wealth!
  • - The Land Shall be Shared Among Those Who Work
  • - All Shall be Equal Before the Law!
  • - There Shall be Work and Security!
  • - There Shall be Houses, Security and Comfort!

Cold War and South Africa
  • 156 people tried for treason- led to famous
    Treason Trial- lasted 4 years all acquitted-
    attracted international attention- gave future
    leaders opportunity to unite and strategize-
    Nelson Mandela among accused- lead defense
    attorney- among charges ANC a communist
    organization, advocating for creation of
    communist state

Cold War and South Africa
  • Nelson Mandela and Rivonia Trial- after
    underground, self-exile, returned and was
    arrested with others at Rivonia- charges against
    Mandela infused with references to his
    communism and role of foreign, communist
    influences see Statement from the dock in
    Additional Readings- state charging that
    peoples struggle orchestrated, provoked by
    foreign communists (reference back to Communist
    Party and articles of SuppressionAct)

Cold War and South Africa
  • Nelson Mandela and Rivonia Trial- state
    repeating accusation that ANC and Communists had
    same aims, policies (Mandela noted that had been
    dismissed at the Treason Trial)- points to
    important differences between means of
    achieving shared goals while underscoring
    importance of having support- co-operation
    does not mean each partner is the same or
    shares all values

Cold War and South Africa
  • Nelson Mandela and Rivonia Trial- Umkhonto We
    Sizwe, military arm ANC- state claiming it was
    created by communists Mandela argued it was
    created by ANC, then supported by SACP
  • Mandela went on to defend acceptance of communist
    support, acknowledging difficulty for whites
    to understand

Cold War and South Africa
  • - in fight against colonialism, cannot let
    theoretical arguments divide- only SACP
    supported African workers, Africans for decades-
    colonial experience taught many Africans western
    democracies do not support their freedom-
    international support Communist block more
    supportive of African-Asian independence movements

Cold War and South Africa
  • - goes on to question whether there is a
    particular role for communist party at this
    moment (as distinct from communists as
    individuals who share ANC goals)- notes his own
    personal support for democratic, parliamentary
    system and for capitalism- finishes by saying
    that suggesting struggle of black people in SA
    for real freedom is only an extension of
    Communism is insult

Cold War and South Africa
  • Our fight is against real, and not imaginary,
    hardships, or to use the language of the State
    Prosecutor, 'so-called hardships'. Basically, we
    fight against two features which are the
    hallmarks of African life in South Africa and
    which are entrenched by legislation which we seek
    to have repealed. These are poverty and lack of
    human dignity, and we do not need communists or
    so-called 'agitators' to teach us about these
  • from statement from the dock, Nelson Mandela

Prison at Robbin Island
Nelson Mandela spent 25 years here, 1964-1989
Cold War and South Africa
  • Impact- application of Suppression of
    Communism Act used to undermine leadership of all
    resistance movements- contributed to 1958
    split from ANC of Pan African Congress (PAC)
    divided over role of non-black Africans but
    many whites in movement were communists (eg Joe
    Slovo)- real objection of many to communism not

Cold War and South Africa
  • Impact- once convicted, led to many being put
    under house arrest (eg Helen Joseph) or banned-
    sample banning order (1966) Ian Robertson-
    effective control of geographical movement as
    well as association- renders most overt
    political activity impossible- prohibits basic
    civil rights see Banning Ian Robertson in
    Additional Readings

Cold War and South Africa
  • Act Condemned from outset- it is against
    every concept of the rule of law and the
    principles of democracyThe Guardien, Cape
    Town, May 1952- reference to fact that
    Suppression of Communism Act used to remove
    leaders from all organizations threatening to
    government- lead-up to Defiance Campaign 1952

Cold War and South Africa
  • The Non-European people are pledged through the
    decisions of the conferences of the African
    National Congress and the South African Indian
    Congress and the countrywide demonstrations of
    April 6th to implement the plan for the Defiance
    of Unjust Laws. The joint meeting of the
    executives of the ANC and the SAIC which meets at
    Port Elizabeth on May 31, is called upon to meet
    the new situation fairly and squarely.

Images of Oppression 1950s-70s
Cold War and South Africa
  • Did anyone object?- Sharpeville!- 1961 South
    Africa repeated in own way UDI (Rhodesia)
    withdrew from Commonwealth
  • Britain ambivalent (not everyone agreed,
    although public protest to support withdrawal
  • ultimately Canada took lead in accepting
    decision as appropriate see South Africa Out
    of Commonwealth in Additional Readings short
    video clip

Cold War and South Africa
  • VideoYou Have Struck a Rockexcerpt

  • With no internal base left, many departed to
    continue struggle from outside the country.
  • Government took up rhetoric of Independent
    Africa, promoted policy of Grand Apartheid or
    separate development.
  • New president, Verwoerd argued that Apartheid
    would bring equal rights to all each in their
    own part of the country.

  • Policy of separate development kept best land
    and all minerals in hands of Afrikaners
  • - 1966 Verwoerd assassinated.
  • - Previous minister of justice, Vorster
    continued policies.
  • - 1974 homelands presented with plan for
  • - All except Transkei refused.

Post-Script (1979)
  • 1974 coup in Portugal which led to the ending of
    colonial rule in Mozambique 1975
  • - Collapse of Portuguese colonialism gave new
    hope to Black African youth
  • - Led to the rise of Steve Biko and Black

Steve Biko and Black Consciousness
  • I think basically Black Consciousness refers
    itself to the black man and to his situation, and
    I think the black man is subject to two forces in
    this country. He is first of all oppressed by an
    external world through institutionalized
    machinery, through laws that restrict him from
    doing certain things, through heavy work
    conditions, through poor education, these are all
    external to him and secondly, and this we regard
    as the most important, the Black man in himself
    has developed a certain state of alienation, he
    rejects himself, precisely because he attaches
    the meaning white to all that is good, in other
    words he associates good and he equates good with
    white. This arises out of his living an it
    arises out of his development from
    childhood.Steve Biko, in court, September 1974
    in I Write What I Like, 1978, p. 100

Spirit of the 1970s students
  • Protest march by students in SOWETO, June 16
  • - SOWETO was to the 1970s what Sharpeville had
    been to the previous decade
  • - Watershed for African resistance, for world
    opinion, for government action/reaction.
  • - Marked generation gap and frustration of youth

  • Achieved nationwide impact.
  • - Students all politicized protest against
    instruction in Afrikaans became demands for
    freedom and an end to Apartheid.
  • - A new generation was willing to die for
    Independence Steve Biko did.

SOWETO (SOuth WEst TOwnship)
Biko the Legacy
1980s road to independence
  • In the 1980s, everything became political.
  • - Community organizations, mass movements
    reminiscent of 1950s demanded change.
  • United Democratic Front (UDF) formed 1983
  • August 20 The United Democratic Front is
    formally launched at a meeting in Mitchells
    Plein, near Cape Town.
  • The meeting, attended by delegates from over 320
    community groups, trade unions, womens groups
    and students organizations,
  • committed itself to oppose the governments
    constitutional proposals and pledged itself to a
    single, non-racial and democratic South Africa.
  • UDF Resources
  • http//

UDF Organizes
Rev. Alan Boesak, speaking at the Transvaal
Anti-SAIC Commitee, at which hefirst mooted the
formation of the United Front(Photo Omar Badsha)
Dr Alan Boesak, Archie Gumede and Mrs Naicker at
the launch(Photo Omar Badsha)
All photos http//
1980s road to independence
  • Congress of South African Trade Unions formed in
    1985 highly politicized.- Result of four-years
    negotiation with 33 unions, half-million workers
  • COSATU believes in a democratic society free of
    racism, sexism and the exploitation of the
    working class. We believe in a society where
    workers have full control over their lives. We
    are determined to work with other democratic
    forces to do away with all forms of oppression
    and exploitation.
  • See http//

1980s road to independence
  • International reaction led to sanctions and
  • Between 1984-1986
  • - violence in townships escalated
  • - Port Elizabeth, new young leaders emerged
    Mkhuseli Jack Janet Cherry
  • - New strategy of opposition non-violent
    consumer boycott

1980s road to independence
  • - Increased pressures for international economic
    sanctions and divestment
  • - 15 Aug.1985 Bothas infamous Rubicon speech
    anticipated he would announce dismantling
    Apartheid instead increased power of National
    Party, saying that he would not give in to
    hostile pressure and agitation from abroad
  • - Rand fell precariously, economic sanctions
  • - Followed 1986 by United States' Comprehensive
    Anti-Apartheid Act (CAAA)
  • http//

1980s road to independence
  • - government resorts to crack-downs--states of
  • - by 1986 South Africa had become virtually
  • - 1987 negotiations began in secret with ANC.
  • - 1989 F. W. de Clerk elected president state
    of emergency relaxed political prisoners
  • - 1990 ANC and SAPC unbanned, Apartheid laws
    dismantled Nelson Mandela released from Prison
  • - 1994 Elections held, Mandela elected president

Mandela and De Klerk
African National Congress
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