Civil Resistance 1970 To 1980 Essay Help

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During the 1980s, the apartheid government came under increasing internal pressure. The National Party attempted a political solution to the crisis it faced by creating the cosmetic Tricameral Parliament. This system of governance tampered with, but did not challenge apartheid.

The reforms had the opposite affect to what the apartheid regime intended. Reforms provided renewed impetus for the resistance movements, and the 1980s was a decade which became a turning point in South African history.

Popular protest by masses of ordinary South Africans against the apartheid regime reached its height in the 1980s, and the government responded with extreme brutality and repression.

The trigger of mass civil society protests in the 1980s:

1983 Tricameral Parliament

Under P.W. Botha, a tri-cameral (three chamber) parliament was created which included limited representation of South Africans classified 'Coloured' and 'Indian' but excluded Africans. Africans were seen to have political rights in the so-called 'homelands' or 'Independent Bantustans' and in local township councils.

Coloureds and Indians were to be given a greater (but still powerless) level of participation in the South African political system. Real political power would remain concentrated in the House of Assembly, the representatives of the 'White' minority.

Voters on separate ethnic voter's roles would elect the members of each chamber of parliament:

  • The House of Assembly (White representatives)

  • The House of Representatives (Coloured representatives)

  • The House of Delegates (Indian representatives)

The Conservative Party had a few seats in the whites-only Parliament. As the name implies, they were even more reactionary than the National Party. The Conservative Party said that the National Party did not have a mandate to implement the Tricameral reforms.

Botha proposed a Referendum through which white people could vote for their preference regarding the Tricameral Parliament. In November 1983, about 70 percent of white people voted in favour of the reforms.

The newly formed Liberation movement, the United Democratic Front (UDF), launched a massive nationwide campaign to dissuade Coloured and Indian voters from participating in the elections for the Houses of Representatives and Delegates.

Civil society protest against the Tricameral Parliament showed that the majority of South Africans were opposed to the new structure. Coloured and Indian voter turnout was extremely low, but in early 1985 the inauguration of the new Parliament went ahead regardless. Those who participated in the Tricameral system were called 'sell-outs', collaborators and 'puppets'.

The position of Prime Minister was abolished and replaced with an Executive President, a very powerful position for one person. P.W. Botha therefore became Head of Government and Head of State.

In reaction to these political developments, mass action campaigns swept through the country. These included strikes, mass protests and school, rent and consumer boycotts. Violence erupted on many occasions, and the Government responded by declaring a State of Emergency that lasted for much of the 1980s. Emergency regulations were used to severely restrict extra-parliamentary activities.

The homes of 'sell-outs', government buildings and beer halls were attacked. The apartheid government spoke of a 'total onslaught' by 'terrorists' and 'communists'. The army was sent into the townships in 1984, but the apartheid regime never recovered.

As one historian summed up the decade:

"The resistance of the mid-1980s destroyed utterly the 'total strategy' tactics of the Botha government. Tricameralism and African urban councils had been firmly rejected by the demand for 'People's Power'. The campaign to win hearts and minds was in tatters, with thousands in detention and an occupying army in the townships ... with the collapse of total strategy, the government seemed bankrupted of ideas, relying on internal repression and international bravadoÁƒÂ¢Á¢Â‚¬.

- Source 'Making of Modern South Africa' by Nigel Worden

Presentation on theme: "What was the nature of the civil society resistance after the 1960s?"— Presentation transcript:

1 What was the nature of the civil society resistance after the 1960s?
TOPIC 4Civil Resistance inSouth Africa 1970s to 1980sWhat was the nature of the civil society resistance after the 1960s?

2 The challenge of Black Consciousness to the Apartheid state
The nature and aims of Black Consciousness;The role of Steve Biko;Black Consciousness Movement (BCM);BC and challenges posed to the state;The 1976 Soweto Uprising;The legacy of Black Consciousness on South African politics.

3 The crisis of Apartheid in the 1980s
Government attempts to reform ApartheidContradictions of Apartheid emerge – intensification of labour unrest.Botha introduced the policy of ‘Total Strategy’ of repression and reform.The 1982 Urban Bantu Authorities Act attempted to give more power to local councillors in the townships.The Tricameral system gave limited representation to South Africans that were classified as 'Coloured' and 'Indian' but excluded the majority African population.

4 A cartoon by Bob Connolly in the mid-1980s commenting on the political reforms introduced by PW Botha.

5 Internal resistance to reforms
Growing power of the Trade UnionMovement from 1973Black South African workers were denied any legal rights in the work place before 1979.Black trade unionism was suppressed and marginalised by the apartheid state.By the 1970s, African trade unionism began to emerge because of high food prices, low wages coupled with increased unemployment.

6 Labour’s ‘Rolling Mass Action’
Roles and impact of FOSATU; CUSA and COSATU in worker struggles.

7 Response to Botha’s ‘reforms’
Labour and civil society movementsembarked on ‘rolling mass action’.Formation and roles of the UDF, MDM,ECC in making the countryungovernable.

8 International Response: International Anti-Apartheid Movements (AAM)
AAM in Britain and IrelandAAM campaigned to end Apartheid by means of boycotts and isolating South Africa from the international community.AAM was founded in Ireland in 1964, led by Kader Asmal. Embarked on sports, cultural, economic and academic boycotts as well as supporting liberation organisations like the ANC.

9 Support for the anti-Apartheid struggle in Africa
In 1970 Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe etc. met to co-ordinate their support for the liberation movements in exile.Most of the economies of the frontline states were dependant on South Africa for imports/exports/migrant labour- it became difficult for them to impose sanctions and isolate South Africa.

10 The beginning of the end
The South African economy was in trouble because of the imposition of international sanctionsCombination of disinvestment, boycotts and internal mass resistance played a significant role in the eventual demise of the Apartheid regime.

11 Activity 4.8: AssessmentRefer to the information provided in the Resource Pack:Formulate an essay question,Prepare a marking guideline andElaborate on the necessary skills required for a good essay.Report Back and discussion

12 Thank you!

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