Civil Resistance In South Africa 1970s To 1980s Essay Outline

What was the nature of the civil society resistance after the 1960s?

During the 1960s and the 1980s South Africa was ruled by the National Party. The NP government imposed the apartheid system and could only be voted for by white people. The apartheid system was greatly criticised by the overseas community and was also strongly opposed by resistance movements like the 1976 Soweto Uprising and by underground movements which operated both in South Africa, and in other African countries these included the African National Congress (ANC).

Hector Peterson carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo, besides them is Antoinette Sithole. Image source

The challenge of Black Consciousness to the Apartheid state


The crisis of Apartheid in the 1980s

By the 1980s the apartheid system was beginning to weaken. It could no longer keep black people in their Bantu homelands or remove them from the white cities. The Bantu Homeland, sometimes referred to as the Bantustan, were pisions of areas of land that were given to Black People in South Africa and in Namibia (which was then the South West Africa and was administered by the South African government). The Bantu Homelands were autonomous and ethnically homogenous. In South Africa, the Bantustans made-up only 13% of South Africa in terms of territory , they were Venda, Bophuthatswana, Transkei and Ciskei. In Namibia they were East Caprivi, Ovamboland, and Kanagoland.

A map of South Africa. Image source

During apartheid in South Africa most Black people were not allowed into cities. They were required to remain in the homelands that they were allocated. In these Bantustans the living condition were poor, there were poor infrastructure, under resourced schools and poverty. Black people were refused political rights by the apartheid government.

On the other hand only white people could live in the cities. However, a minority of black people were allowed in the cities on condition that they worked there as labours and domestic workers. Even the Blacks who worked in the cities were still allocated their hostels and Ghettos outside the cities.

The apartheid government then realised that both Black and white needed each other. Black people needed employment and white people needed labour in order to increase productivity and boost the economy, which was in crisis due to factors linked with apartheid (this is explained later). This resulted to the influx of black people to the cities in search of jobs. It also caused an increase in labour force to the cities which led to the formation and later rapid growth of labour movements. 

In the 1980s the apartheid government, then led by P.W Botha , relatively began to relax some of the apartheid law. Botha scrapped apartheid legislations like the Pass laws . Although such subtly changes were made, the apartheid system still continued.

P.W.Botha Image source

The apartheid government then introduced a Tricameral Parliament that consisted of whites, Indians and coloureds. The Tricameral parliament received strong criticism from the Indian and coloured community, as the advisory councils that the coloureds and Indians were allowed gave them very little control. 

What also pressured by external resistance the apartheid government were (i) anti-apartheid movements in in countries like Ireland, (ii) sanctions and economic restrictions against South Africa, where considerable amount of foreign investment was withdrawn from south Africa(iii) different campaigns around the world which demanded the release of Nelson Mandela , and (ii)help from other African countries who fought against apartheid. 

Towards the 1990s the Apartheid government was feeling the pressure both from external and internal resistance. It began the negotiations about the future with Nelson Mandela, who was still in prison by then. It also held meetings with the then exiled African National Congress (ANC) members. These negotiations led to the ANC and the South African communist Party to be unbanned. The Bantustans were also abolished . Democracy in South Africa began.

Presentation on theme: "Topic 3: Civil Resistance in South Africa 1970s to 1980s"— Presentation transcript:

1 Topic 3: Civil Resistance in South Africa 1970s to 1980s
ESSAY QUESTIONTopic 3: Civil Resistance in South Africa 1970s to 1980sThe Crisis of Apartheid in the 1980s (Part 1)

2 Background and Focus“We continue studying the narrative of resistance to Apartheid that we began in Grade 11…. The pressure on the Apartheid government in the 1980s links the wide-ranging internal resistance with the anti-aparteid movements outsode South Africa” (p30)

The crisis of Apartheid in the 1980sGovernment attempts to reform ApartheidInternational ResponsesThe beginning of the endInternal resistance to ApartheidWILL BE EXAMINEDNOT TO BE EXAMINED

4 The sections of this topic which will be examined in 2014-2016 are:
Government attempts to reform ApartheidContradictions of apartheid emergeThe 1982 Urban Bantu Authorities ActInternal resistance to reformsGrowing power of trade union movement from 1973Responses to Botha’s ‘reforms’(Refer to CAPS, p29)

5 From a foundation of factual knowledge to conceptual frameworks
Refer to textbook timeline (factual knowledge)All timelines are a selection of available events‘Dates’ and ‘events’ are not ‘history’ they are ‘the past’.‘The past’ only becomes ‘history’ when we start to ask questions and start to organise it according to some sort of concept.The slice of ‘the past’ is already organised according to the concept of ‘chronology’.What other conceptual frameworks could be used to organise these events?

6 What were the causes of the crisis of Apartheid in the 1980s?

7 What were the consequences of the formation of the UDF?

8 Not Successful Successful
‘P W Botha’s constitutional reforms were a successful attempt to reform apartheid.’ To what extent do you agree with this statement?SuccessfulNot Successful

How did different groups in South Africa believe that the ‘crisis of Apartheid in the 1980s’ could be resolved?MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES

10 The South African context by late 1970s: the Apartheid state was on the defensive
EconomicSocial / Political1973 rise in oil prices > global economic recessionRising inflation and increasing cost of livingRising unemployment among black population:,000 , 1970 – 1m1978 – 2m (20%)Foreign investment shrunk:1975/76 - R1.6 billion1976/77 - R452 millionLimited domestic and international markets for SA productsGrowth of organised labour movement1980 Kwazulu struck by one of the worst droughts in HistoryBlack consciousness had become a powerful mobilising ideology > 1976 Soweto uprising > mass detention and suppression of BCMOver 12,000 youths fled South Africa after 1976, most joined ANC or PAC in exile and received military training and education.Substantial growth in young black urban population‘Apartheid regime was on the defensive’

11 Attempts to Reform Apartheid in the 1980s– The Context
“The reforms [introduced by PW Botha’s government in the 1980s] crystallised out of intense differences and debate within and between state [the government] and capital [industry/ business] about appropriate courses of action.Intensifying popular pressures and shifting political relations would shape their content and implementation.”(Marais, 2011:42)19

12 What were the aims of the national Party’s reform policy in the 1980s?
“We must adapt or die”(From a speech given by PW Botha to parliament in 1979)“The aim of this new ‘reform policy’ was to ensure maximum division and differentiation …” (Morris and Padayachee, 1989:74)PW Botha: State President of South Africa

13 Reforming Urbanisation Policy
1979: Riekert CommissionProposed that Africans should be divided into ‘qualified’ urban dwellers and a ‘disqualified’ rest who were to be resident in ‘homelands’.“The small group of privileged urban blacks whose quality of life will undoubtedly improve may well become less urgent in their demands for political power and serve as the lid on the kettle for some years to come.” (Financial Mail, 25 Jan 1980)1982: Urban Bantu Authorities Act- Township councils were elected (largely discredited and seen by many as ‘puppets’ of the apartheid state)

14 Restructuring Labour Relations
Context: 1973 strike wave and growth in worker militancy. Industrialists concerned about their profits.1979: Wiehahn CommissionInvestigated how the government could:(1) Better regulate black workers in order to control their potential strength.(2) Design measures to increase the productivity and spending power of urban black population (ie create a black middle class)1981 Labour Relations Amendment ActGranted black trade unions the right to legally register and negotiate + take part in Industrial Council system and mediation.Legal job reservation for whites was abolished.Black petty-bourgeoisie from working class, insiders from outsiders.

15 The Economic context in early 1980s
1982: Gold price fell steeply, NP government took a IMF ‘standby loan’ from IMFIMF demanded ‘structural adjustment’Subsidies of consumer good withdrawnInflation rose to 17% by 1985Rates, rents, service payments in townships increased steeply.Retrenchment in agriculture – increased migration from rural areas into cities. (‘influx’ controls failing)NP government struggling to meet growing cost of maintaining apartheid (military, police, ‘security’)


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