Collapse of Apartheid
PROTEST AND RETALIATION
In the 1940's, African miners
were early protesters against a system
based on racial segregation.
In 1958 passes were introduced, restricting the movement of the African
population. This was a tremendous humiliation and inconvenience. In 1960,
sixty nine people were shot dead in a protest against these pass laws,
an event which became known as the Sharpeville massacre. In 1961, the
Commonwealth made it clear that unless South Africa made preparations
for majority rule it would no longer be welcome. South Africa left before
it was pushed.
In 1964, the then lawyer and ANC activist, Nelson
Mandela, was imprisoned for life on a charge of treason. He became a source of inspiration
to people living inside and outside South Africa.
In 1976 hundreds of people were killed in protest against the compulsory
use of Afrikaans in schools. The following year the head of the Black
Consciousness Movement, Steve
Biko, was murdered in police
"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 institutionalised 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..."
Biko speaking in court, following a demonstration in support of Mozambique's
FRELIMO party, September 1974. He was subsequently found guilty under the Terrorism
Act and died in custody three years later.
to Steven Biko being interviewed by German Munich TV shortly before he was arrested
In the 1980's, South Africa reached a crisis
point internally, with rioting, protests and confrontation; while pressure mounted
externally to dismantle apartheid. Foreign investments began to decline. A sporting
boycott had been effective throughout the 1980's and arguably hurt the morale
of the government and white South African people more than being diplomatically
COLLAPSE OF APARTHEID
South Africa's war against Angola and Mozambique
proved to be costly in terms of money and lives. When Communism began to collapse
in 1989 the South African government was deprived of the principle reason for
its aggressive foreign policy. The will to maintain the system of apartheid
began to flag.
Nelson Mandela was finally released in 1990 and the country went to the polls
in the first nonracial election, resulting in a resounding win for the ANC -
under Nelson Mandela.
Listen to a report on Nelson Mandela's release from prison and his first speech
as a free man