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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 arrest 1977]. Cold War and South Africa. If Congo ‘theatre’ of Cold War, South Africa ‘script writer’:

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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,Munich, just before arrest1977]

cold war and south africa
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 africa1
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 ‘fall’
cold war and south africa2
Cold War and South Africa
  • Argument Effective:- West continued to support fascist, brutal Portuguese regimes in fear of ‘alternative’[see ‘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 africa3
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 legislation
cold war and south africa4
Cold War and South Africa
  • Key Race legislation Race Relations Act, Mixed Marriages Act, Group Areas Act BUT …
  • 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 africa5
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 africa6
Cold War and South Africa

‘Communistic’ defined among other things as:“[that] 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 africa7
Cold War and South Africa
  • South African Government declared the People’s 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 africa8
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 It!
  • - All Shall be Equal Before the Law!
  • - There Shall be Work and Security!
  • - There Shall be Houses, Security and Comfort!
cold war and south africa9
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 africa10
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 ‘people’s struggle’ orchestrated, provoked by foreign communists (reference back to Communist Party and articles of ‘Suppression…Act’)
cold war and south africa11
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 africa12
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 africa13
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 africa14
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 africa15
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 things.”
  • [from ‘statement from the dock’, Nelson Mandela]
prison at robbin island
Prison at Robbin Island

Nelson Mandela spent 25 years here, 1964-1989

cold war and south africa16
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 colour
cold war and south africa17
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 africa18
Cold War and South Africa
  • Act Condemned from outset:- “ it is against every concept of the rule of law and the principles of democracy…”[The 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 africa19
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.”
cold war and south africa20
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’ high)
  • 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 africa21
Cold War and South Africa
  • Video“You Have Struck a Rock”[excerpt]
post script
Post-Script
  • 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.
post script1
Post-Script
  • 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 independence.
  • - All except Transkei refused.
1970s
1970s
  • 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 Consciousness
steve biko and black consciousness
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]
soweto 1976
SOWETO: 1976
  • Protest march by students in SOWETO, June 16 1976,
  • - 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
soweto 19761
SOWETO: 1976
  • 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.
biko the legacy
Biko the Legacy

http://www.afh.org.za/Newsfeatureaug06.php

1980s road to independence
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 Mitchell’s Plein, near Cape Town.
  • The meeting, attended by delegates from over 320 community groups, trade unions, women’s groups and students organizations,
  • committed itself to oppose the government’s constitutional proposals and pledged itself to a single, non-racial and democratic South Africa. “
  • UDF Resources:
  • http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/udf/index.html
udf organizes
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://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/mainframe.htm

1980s road to independence1
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://www.cosatu.org.za/aboutcos.htm]
1980s road to independence2
1980s: road to independence
  • International reaction led to sanctions and disinvestment.
  • 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 independence3
1980s: road to independence

- Increased pressures for international economic sanctions and divestment

- 15 Aug.1985: Botha’s 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 implemented

- Followed 1986 by United States' Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act (CAAA)

  • http://training.itcilo.it/actrav_cdrom1/english/global/guide/antia.htm
1980s road to independence4
1980s: road to independence

- government resorts to crack-downs--“states of emergency”

- by 1986 South Africa had become virtually ungovernable

- 1987 negotiations began in secret with ANC.

- 1989 F. W. de Clerk elected president; “state of emergency” relaxed; political prisoners released

- 1990 ANC and SAPC unbanned, Apartheid laws dismantled; Nelson Mandela released from Prison]

- 1994 Elections held, Mandela elected president