Struggle against Apartheid (1)

Struggle against Apartheid (2)

In 1974 Portugal's dictatorial regime was topplet by a coup staged by leftist military officers; Portugal granted full independence yo its colonies of Angola and Moçambique; the Marxist MPLA respectively FRELIMO took over government and joined the Anti-Apartheid coalition, which alo included Zambia and Tanzania. The militant branch of the South African ANC, ZANU (Rhodesia/Zimbabwe) and the SWAPO (SW Africa/Namibia) used Moçambiquan, Angolan, Zambian territory as base camps and launched raids into Southwest Africa, Rhodesia, South Africa from there. The South African respectively Rhodesian forces had superior equipment and were mostly successful in engagements, so that rebel activities were limited to singular guerrilla actions.
South Africa responded by pursuing a policy of destabilizing the governments which supported the rebels : in Angola South Africa supported the non-Marxist UNITA, in Moçambique the RENAMO; Angola's civil war still lasts on, Renamo at times limited the authority of the FRELIMO government to Moçambique's capital Maputo, the former Lourenço Marques.

In South Africa the policy of enforced Apartheid continued. Many ANC leaders, among them NELSON MANDELA, spent decades in jail. The government attempted to brand the ANC, as well as other political organizations of the blacks such as the PAC, as communists and as terrorists; yet the ANC remained a largely political, democratic organization, the military branch of it having been of only minor importance.
The South African government continued its policy of granting autonomy/independence to BANTUSTANS : Bophuthatswana 1971, VENDA 1973. This policy clearly intended to reduce the black population element of South Africa, to deprive thousands of their South African citizenship. As in the case of 19th century Indian reservates, only stretches of land with little to no economic value were given to these Bantustans; Bophuthatswana consisted of nine exclaves unconnected with each other. Needless to say, these Bantustans did not receive diplomatic recognition outside southern Africa.
International pressure mounted, as South Africa was barred from participating in the Olympic Games, South African exports were boycotted in many countries (Outspan oranges etc.); Sweden's prime minister OLOF PALME openly spoke out against Apartheid. The Carter administration (US) distanced itself from South Africa. The SOWETO riots only intensified and focussed the world's critical attention on Apartheid South Africa.
The economic consequences of the boycott began to show consequences; in 1979/80 negotiations lead to the transformation of white-ruled RHODESIA to a democratic, majority-black-ruled Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. South Africa had effectively won the guerilla war; the governments of Angola and Moçambique were effectively neutralized, the military branch of the ANC had virtually ceased operations. But the costs of this policy had been high.
In 1984 Bishop DESMOND TUTU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the time for change had come to South Africa. Nelson Mandela was released from prison, soon to serve in a coalition government at the side of National Party president FREDERIK WILLEM DE KLERK. South West Africa, under the name of SW Africa/Namibia, was released into independence (1990); the Anti-Apartheid-Laws were cancelled one by one. In 1993 F.W. de Klerk and N. Mandela were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1994, the Bantustans were reintegrated into South Africa. The internationas boycott was ended, South Africa fully accepted as a member of the international community.

The transition of South Africa from white rule to majority rule occurred peacefully and based on a democratic constitution; there has bneen no mass exodus of white South Africans. The TRUTH COMMISSION was given the task to examine political crimes of the past; while it has come up with results, many are not satidfied with its slow pace. The land issue is still pressing; many blacks demand a land reform.

Rep. of South Africa
since 1980
since 1975
since 1975
South West Africa

DOCUMENTS United Nations in the Struggle Against Apartheid, Documents 1946-1994, from
REFERENCE Long Walk to Freedom : The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, 1995, 625 pp.

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on July 16th 2001, last revised on November 15th 2004

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