Saturday, March 2, 2013

Apartheid in South Africa-Nelson Mandela

Apartheid literally meaning “apartness” and it represented the codification in one oppressive system of all the laws and regulations that had kept Africans in an inferior position to whites for centuries.  The often haphazard segregation of the past 300 years was to consolidated into a monolithic system that was diabolical in its detail, inescapable in its reach, and overwhelming in its power.  The premise of apartheid was that whites were superior to Africans, Coloreds, and the function of it was to entrench white supremacy forever.  According to Long Road to Freedom the Nationalist put it ‘Die wit man moet altyd boss wees1(The white man must always remain boss).  Their platform rested on the term basskap, literally boss-ship, a freighted word that stood for white supremacy in all its harshness.
Apartheid became the official policy of the Government of South Africa in 1948, following the election of the Herenigde Nasionate. Party, later renamed the National Party. Under this policy racial discrimination was institutionalized. The lives of the Africans, who made up almost 75 percent of the population, were controlled by the unjust segregation laws from birth to the grave. They were prescribed where to live, who to many and the type of education they would receive in the country of their birth. With the enactment of apartheid laws, race laws touched every aspect of social life, including a prohibitation of marriage between non- whites and whites, between 1946 and the enactment of the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act only 75 mixed marriages had been recorded, compared with some 28, 000 white marriages. In 1950, the population registration act required that all South Africans be racially classified into one of three categories: white, black (African or colored 9of mixed decent0. the colored category included major subgroups of Indians and decent. According to http.//www.african person could not be considered white if one of his/ her parents were non- whites”.2 A black person would be of or accepted as a member of an African tribe or race, and a colored person is one that is not black or white. The department of home affairs (a government bureau) was responsible for the classification of the citizenry. Non- compliance with the race laws were dealt with harshly.
In 1951 the Bantu Authorities Act established a basis for ethnic government ion African reserves, known as “home- lands” these homelands were independent states to which each African was assigned by the government according to the record of origin (which was frequently inaccurate). Al political rights, including voting, held by an African were restricted to the designated homeland. The idea was that they would be citizens of the homeland, losing their citizenship in South Africa and any right of involvement with the South Africa parliament which held complete hegemony over the homelands. From 1976 to 1981, four of these homelands were created, denationalizing nine million South Africans. The homeland administrations refused the nominal independence, maintaining pressure for political rights within the country as a whole. Nevertheless, Africans living in the homelands needed passports to enter South African: aliens in their own country.  There was forced physical separation between races, hence the creation of different residential areas for the different races there was a prohibition on adultery, attempted adultery or related immoral acts (extra marital sex) between white and black people.
There was a ban on communism; blacks lost their voting rights and the privilege of performing any skilled work in urban areas.  Blacks were expected to carry identification with them at all times.  Commonly known as the Pass Laws- a pass included a photograph, details of place origin etc…
Africans were to receive an education designed to provide them with skills to serve their own people In the homelands or to work in laboring jobs under the Bantu Education Act- the author of legislation, Dr. Hendrik Verwoed (the Minister of Native Affairs, later Prime Minister), stated that its aim was to prevent Africans receiving an education that would lead them to aspire to positions they wouldn't be allowed to hold in society. 
Laws were made to ensure that whites remained superior to blacks.
In 1953 the public safety act and the criminal law Amendment Act were passed, which empowered the government to declare stringent states of emergency and increased penalties for protesting against or supporting the repeal of a law. The penalties included fines, imprisonment and whippings. The white regime had no intention of changing the unjust laws of apartheid.
The penalties imposed on political protest, even non- violent protest were severe. During the states of emergency which continued intermittently until 1989, anyone could be detained without a hearing by a low- level police official for up to six months. Thousands of individuals died in custody, frequently after gruesome acts of torture. Those who were tried were sentenced to death, banished, or imprisoned for life, like Nelson Mandela.
The apartheid policy was highly effective of achieving its goal of preferential treatment for whites, as is demonstrated by the statistics in Figure 3 (see in appendix).
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in a village near Umtata in the Transkei on the 18th of July 1918.  His father was the principal councilor to the Acting Paramount Chief’s Court; he was determined to become a lawyer.  Hearing the elders’ stories of his ancestors’ velour during the wars of also of resistance in defense of their fatherland, he dreamed also of making his own contribution to the freedom struggle of his people.
He entered politics in earnest while studying in Johannesburg by joining the African National congress in 1942. At the height of the Second World War a group of the young Africans, members of the African National Congress, banded together under the leader ship of and Anton Lembede. Among them was nelson Mandela starting out with sixty members all of whom were residing the wit water strand, these young people set themselves the formidable task of transforming the ANC into a mass movement deriving its strength and motivation from the unlettered millions of working people in the towns and country side, The peasants, in the rural areas and the professionals.
Lembede and his colleagues espoused a radical African nationalism grounded in the principle of national self determination. In September 1944 they came together to found the African National Congress Youth League
(ANCYL). Mandela was elected to the secretary ship of the youth league in 1947. by painstaking work, campaigning at the grass roots and through it mouth piece INYANISO (truth) the ANCYL was able to canvass support for its policies amongst the ANC  member ship.
At the 1949 annual conference the program of action inspired by the youth league, which advocated the weapons of boy cut, strike, civil disobedience and none cooperation was accepted as official ANC policy. In 1950 Mandela was elected to the National Executive Committee
(NEC) at the national conference.
 The ANCYL program aimed at the attainment of full citizenship, direct parliamentary representation for all South Africans. In policy documents of which Mandela was an important co author the ANCYL paid special attention to the redistribution of the land, trade union rights, education and culture. The ANCYL aspired to free and compulsory education for all children, as well as mass education for adults.
 When ANC launched its campaign for the defiance of undressed laws in 1952, Mandela was elected national volunteer in chief. The defiance campaign was conceived as a mass civil disobedience campaign that would snow ball from a core ordinary people, culminating in mass defiance resistance to discriminatory legislations.
 For his part in the defiance campaign, Mandela was convicted of contravening the suppression of communism act and given suspended prison sentence. He was also prohibited from attending gatherings and confined to Johannesburg for six months.
In recognition of his outstanding contribution during the defiance campaign, Mandela had been elected to the presidency of both the youth league and the Transvaal region of the ANC at the end of 1952, he thus became president of the ANC itself during the early fifties Mandela played important path in leading resistance to the western areas removals and to the introduction Bantu education. He also played a significant role in popularizing the freedom charter adopted by the congress of the people on the 26th of June. In the late fifties Mandela attention turned to the struggles to the exploitation of, the pass law, the nascent Bantustan policy and segregation of the open universities. Mandela arrived at the conclusion very early on that the Bantustan policy was a political swindle and an economic absurdity. He predicted with dismissal prescience, that head there lay a grim program of mass evictions, political persecution, and police terror. On the segregation of the universities, Mandela observed that the friendship and interracial harmony that is forced through the add mixture universities constitute a direct treat to the policy and apartheid and basskap and that it was to approve that treat that the open universities were being close to black students.
Sharpevilla Massacre in 1960 
Mandela was the victim of various forms of repression. He was band, arrested and imprisoned, but his motivative words and speeches inspired many to fight against whit oppression. One of which is the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, the ANC was outlawed and Mandela still on trial was detained. 
With the ANC now illegal the leadership picked up the threads from its underground head quarters. Nelson Mandela immerged at this time as the leading figure in this new phase of struggle under the ANC’s inspiration, 1400 delegates came together at an all in African Conference in Pietermaritzbury during march 1961. Mandela was the key note speaker in an electrifying address; he challenged the apartheid regime to convene national convention representative of all South Africans to thrash out a new constitution based on democratic principles. Failure to comply he warned would compel the majority (blacks to observe the forth coming inauguration of the republic of a mass general strike; he immediately went underground to lead the campaign.
Mandela adopted a number of disguises since he was force to live apart from his family and move from place o place to evade detection by the government’s ubiquitous informers and police spies. His successful evasion of the police earned him the title of the black pimpernel. He together with other leaders of the ANC constituted a new specialized section of the liberation movement, umkhonto we sizwe, as an armed nucleus with a view to prepare with a view to prepare for armed struggle.
In 1961 umkhonto we sizwe, was formed with Mandela as its commander in chief. In 1962 Mandela left the country unlawfully and traveled abroad for several months. In Ethiopia, he addressed the conference of the Pan African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa. During this trip Mandela, anticipated an intensification of the armed struggle and begun to arrange gorilla training for members of the umkhonto we sizwe.
Mandela was arrested and charged with illegal exit from the country and incitement to strike (see prison content on Mandela in appendix)
Released on the 11th February 1990, Mandela plunged ole heartedly into his life’s work, striving to attaint the goals he and others set out almost four decades earlier. In 1991 Mandela was elected president of the ANC. He as never wavered in his devotion to democracy equality, and learning. Despite terrible provocation, he has never answer racism with racism.
His life is an inspiration in South Africa and through out the word. In a life that symbolizes the triumph of the human spirit over man’s inhumanity to man, nelson Mandela accepted the 1993 Nobel Piece Price on behalf of all South Africans who suffered and sacrificed so much to bring price to South Africa. (See freedom charter in appendix)

The African National Congress (ANC) led by nelson Mandela brought about an end to apartheid in South Africa as: Mandela helped to form the ANCLY, a more radical version of the ANC which was more forceful. He helped to form the program of action which entailed boycotting, strike, civil disobedience and none cooperation to convey there message. He also started the defiance campaign of unjust laws, where he called for mass civil disobedience. His law firm was aimed at improving the lives of the blacks who were been oppressed.
He was a significant feature in the freedom charter which was blue print for how the country should be based on the ideas of enlightenment and socialism. He started the unkhomto we sezwe which was the military arm of the ANC. He also went to international conference to make address of the fight of the black South Africans. His life was a symbol and inspiration of resistance which encouraged others to continue the fight against the brutality of apartheid. 


Figure 2: Apartheid Acts



Early 1950s
Mid 1950s
Late 1950s



Figure 6: Sharpeville Massacre

On March 21, a group of between 5,000 and 7,000 people converged on the local police station in the township of Sharpeville, offering themselves up for arrest for not carrying their pass books. This was part of a broader campaign organized by the PAC. There is evidence that the PAC used creative means to draw the crowd to the protest, including the cutting of telephone lines into Sharpeville, the distribution of pamphlets telling people not to go to work on the day, and coercion of bus drivers. Regardless, most of the crowd was in favor of the protest.
By 10:00 am, a large crowd had gathered, and the atmosphere was peaceful and festive. Fewer than 20 police officers were present in the station at the start of the protest. Police and military used low-flying Sabre jet fighters to attempt to intimidate the crowd into dispersing, a tactic that had been successful at a similar protest on the same day at Evaton. The police set up Saracen armored vehicles in a line facing the protesters and, at 1:15 pm, fired upon the crowd.
Police reports claimed that members of the crowd threw stones at them (or at their cars), and that inexperienced police officers opened fire spontaneously. The police were armed with Stens and tear gas. Lieutenant Colonel Pienaar, the commanding officer of the police forces at Sharpeville, denied giving any order to fire, and stated that he would not have done so. Nevertheless, his attitude towards the protest is revealed in his statement that "the native mentality does not allow them to gather for a peaceful demonstration. For them to gather means violence."[ It is likely that the police were nervous as, two months before the massacre; nine police officers had been killed by a mob at Cato Manor. Evidence given to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1998 suggested "a degree of deliberation in the decision to open fire". The police continued firing even when the crowd had turned to run, and the majority of those killed and wounded were shot in the back. There was no evidence that anyone in the crowd was armed.[1]
The official figure is that 69 people were killed, including 8 women and 10 children, and over 180 injured, including 31 women and 19 children.
The uproar among blacks was immediate, and the following week saw demonstrations, protest marches, strikes, and riots around the country. On March 30, 1960, the government declared a state of emergency, detaining more than 18,000 people.
A storm of international protest followed the Sharpeville shootings, including sympathetic demonstrations in many countries and condemnation by the United Nations. On April 1, 1960, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 134. Sharpeville marked a turning point in South Africa's history; the country found itself increasingly isolated in the international community. The event also played a role in South Africa's departure from the Commonwealth of Nations in 1961.
The Sharpeville massacre led to the banning of the PAC and ANC and was one of the catalysts for a shift from passive resistance to armed resistance by these organisations. The foundation of Poqo, the military wing of the PAC, and Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the ANC followed shortly afterwards.
Since 1994, 21 March has been commemorated as Human Rights Day in South Africa.
Sharpeville was the site selected by former President Nelson Mandela for the signing into law of the Constitution of South Africa, on December 10, 1996.
In 1998, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) found that the police actions constituted "gross human rights violations in that excessive force were unnecessarily used to stop a gathering of unarmed people."

Figure 4: Freedom Charter
The Freedom Charter was the statement of core principles of the South African Congress Alliance, which consisted of the African National Congress and its allies the South African Indian Congress, the South African Congress of Democrats and the Colored People's Congress. It is characterized by its opening demand; "The People shall govern!”
In 1955, the ANC sent out fifty thousand volunteers into townships and the countryside to collect 'freedom demands' from the people of South Africa. This system was designed to give all South Africans equal rights. Demands such as "Land to be given to all landless people", "Living wages and shorter hours of work", "Free and compulsory education, irrespective of color, race or nationality" were synthesized into the final document by ANC leaders including Z.K. Mathews and Lionel 'Rusty' Bernstein . The Charter was officially adopted on June 26, 1955 at a Congress of the People in Kliptown. The meeting was attended by roughly three thousand delegates but was broken up by police on the second day, although by then the charter had been read in full. The crowd had shouted its approval of each section with cries of 'Afrika!' and 'Mayibuye!” Nelson Mandela only escaped the police by disguising himself as a milkman, as his movements and interactions were restricted by banning orders at the time.
The document is notable for its demand for and commitment to a non-racial South Africa, and this has remained the platform of the ANC. Members of the ANC with opposing Africanist views left the group after it adopted the charter, forming the Pan Africanist Congress. The charter also calls for democracy and human rights, land reform, labour rights, and nationalization. After the congress was denounced as treason, the South African government banned the ANC and arrested 156 activists, including Mandela who was imprisoned in 1962. However, the charter continued to circulate in the revolutionary underground and inspired a new generation of young militants in the 1980s.
On February 11 1990, Mandela was finally freed and the ANC came to power soon afterwards in May 1994. The new 'Constitution of South Africa' included in its text many of the demands called for in the Freedom Charter. Nearly all the enumerated concerns regarding equality of race and language were directly addressed in the constitution, although the document included nothing to the effect of the nationalization of industry or redistribution of land, both of which were specifically outlined in the charter

**until next post. **toodles**

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