South Africa - theme 2

Radicalisation and consolidation of NP, 1960-68

During the 1950s and 1960s, South African opposition forces were somewhat confident they could make an impact.

The split of the PAC from the ANC in 1959 divided the major African political organisation but helped to mobilise new communities.

Simultaneously, rural political movements, based in the African reserves and with little connection to the ANC or PAC, challenged the government at a local level.

1 of 43

Why did opposition increase 1960-61?

By 1960, the usual fine for a pass offence was between £5 and £8, or 5-8 weeks imprisonment. This amounted to more than 2 weeks' wages for the great majority of African people.

80% of African families were living on £20 or less a month in Johannesburg.

Across South Africa, 1,000 cases a day related to pass laws went through the courts.

2 of 43

Why did opposition increase 1960-61?

Robert Sobukwe, leader of the PAC, had very limited experience of political campaigning but settled on the pass laws as his main focus.

The ANC had planned a campaign on 31st March 1960, and the PAC announced a mass campaign on the 21st March. The PAC wished to pre-empt and out-do the ANC. Mandela wrote a letter claiming they 'sought to sabotage' the ANC.

3 of 43

Why did opposition increase 1960-61?

In 1958, 10,000 people removed from other locations were moved to Sharpeville by force from the Group Areas Act. There was little housing, and rent increased. The area was favoured by migrant workers from Lesotho. Some came illegally and pass raids were stepped up in 1959.

A new PAC branch was founded in Sharpeville in 1959 by multiple people, notably Nyakane Tsolo. When Sobukwe called at short notice for the campaign against passes on 21 March 1960, the local PAC could respond quickly to spread the word through house-to-house visits and leaflets.

4 of 43

Why did opposition increase 1960-61?

On 21 March 1960, 6,000 gathered outside the fence surrounding the Sharpeville police station - PAC leaders requested police to arrest them all.

By 1 pm, there were around 200 white policemen with rifles and a similar number of black policemen with clubs. The police were commanded by an aggressive regional chief of police, Lieutenant Colonel Pienaar.

At this point, the police were nervous; some inexperienced and later claimed they faced a violent crowd of 20,000.

9 policemen had been killed at Cato Manor a few weeks before. The external police reinforcements seem to have triggered the shooting.

5 of 43

Why did opposition increase 1960-61?

Nyakane Tsolo refused to order the crowd to dispense, so he was arrested.

Pienaar admitted he failed to warn the crowd of the danger of an armed response. He also stated he did not give the order to fire, as he did not think the situation had merited it.

It seems that shortly before 2 pm, one policeman, not a senior officer, shouted 'fire'. There was a barrage of rifles, revolvers and a machine gun mounted on a Saracen. 

6 of 43

Why did opposition increase 1960-61?

A first round was fired into the front row of the crowd, a second round fired as people were running away, many people were shot in the back.

69 were killed and 187 were injured.

Witnesses accused them of placing stones on the station side of the fence to provide evidence that protesters had been violent before the police open fired.

7 of 43

Why did opposition increase 1960-61?

On 1 April 1960, the United Nation's Security Council passed a resolution condemning Sharpeville and calling for a reversal of apartheid and racial discrimination.

On 28 March, ANC had organised a mass pass-burning. Albert Luthuli, in Pretoria for the Treason Trial, burnt his in front of the media.

8 of 43

Why did opposition increase 1960-61?

On 30 March 1960, the government declared a State of Emergency. This strengthened police powers and:

  • public meetings were outlawed
  • police could detain people without fear of restriction by the courts

The police used the Public Safety Act (1953) to arrest people, as it required no warrants.

On the same day, 30,000 Africans marched in an orderly and non-violent demonstration 6 miles along the main highway from Langa to the edge of Central Cape Town.

9 of 43

Why did opposition increase 1960-61?

  • Unlawful Organisations Act (1959)

Passes on 8 April 1959 by the government, with the support of the main white opposition United Party. This Act banned any party that threatened public order.

10 of 43

Why did opposition increase 1960-61?

On 9 April, Verwoerd was shot after giving a speech at the Milner Park showgrounds in Johannesburg. The attempted assassination was by a middle-aged, English-speaking white man.

11 of 43

Why did South Africa become a Republic in 1961?

By early 1960, Verwoerd felt sufficiently confident to announce a whites-only referendum on the question of a republic. The 1958 election gave nationalists a secure majority. 

They gained 60% of parliamentary seats and 55% of white votes.

12 of 43

Why did South Africa become a Republic in 1961?

Harold Macmillan, the Conservative Prime Minister of Britain, visited South Africa in February 1960. He delivered his 'Winds of Change' speech.

Macmillan attempted to present African nationalism as a natural thing and to indicate white South African needed to accept it. He did not directly say that white South Africans should give black South Africans political rights, but this was implied.

13 of 43

Why did South Africa become a Republic in 1961?

In October 1960, white South Africans voted by a narrow majority of 52% for a republic.

South Africa became a republic on 31 May 1961.

In March 1961, a special Commonwealth conference was Africa's position. Verwoerd attended with an application to remain as a republic in the Commonwealth. The Asian and African heads of state were strongly against South Africa remaining in the Commonwealth as long as apartheid was a government policy.

Verwoerd withdrew the application and South Africa became fully independent from Britain and the Commonwealth.

14 of 43

Why did South Africa become a Republic in 1961?

The ANC first called for sanctions against South Africa in 1959.

In 1962, the United Nations passed a resolution to ban imports and exports to and from South Africa.

In 1963, the United Nations passed a resolution advocating an arms embargo against South Africa so external powers were not supporting the government with weapons to suppress people.

15 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

Both the ANC and the PAC had to rethink their political strategies after they were both banned in April 1960. The could not operate legally and those who declared themselves members were subject to criminal proceedings.

Mandela and Sisulu claimed they had discussed the possibility of an armed struggle as far back as 1952. The banning of movements in 1960 and their inability to operate peacefully made a decision all the more urgent.

16 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

In June 1961, the ANC itself explicitly decided on an armed struggle.

An armed organisation uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) was set up as an organisation that was not formally linked to the ANC or the Communist Party.

In theory, it was an independent military wing acting in support of the liberation movement, led jointly by Mandela, representing the ANC, and Joe Slovo, representing the Communist Party.

17 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

In 1961, 5 African men were sent to China for training in guerrilla tactics. The first major act of sabotage was planned for 16 December 1961.

16 December was a public holiday called Dingaan's Day. This was when South Africa commemorated the Boer victory over the Zulu at the Battle of Blood River in 1838.

18 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

The PAC also turned to underground organisation. In the African townships, the focus was on political education, violence of colonial conquest and the loss of land.

The PAC's leader, Robert Sobukwe, was kept in prison and unable to influence the new direction of strategy.

In 1961, the Poqo was formed as a movement that would, like MK, be prepared to use violence. Poqo was a movement among migrant workers with little central control by the PAC.

One plan aimed to blow up the Blue Train, another aimed to kill Kaiser Matanzima, who was leading the Transkei homeland to self-government.

19 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

Poqo was responsible for the Paarl March in 1962, where 2 whites and 5 protesters were killed.

In 1963, the Poqo cell in the Transkei staged Mbashe Bridge killings of a white family in a caravan.

Poqo was not committed, as in the case of MK, to the sabotage of non-human targets.

20 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

Of the men executed in the 1960s;

  • 62 were Poqo members
  • 23 were Mpondo rebels
  • 9 were from Cato Manor
  • 7 were from the ANC and the MK
21 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

Neither the ANC nor PAC had the capacity for a sustained armed struggle.

They had;

  • no base in South Africa
  • little training
  • little support abroad

Mandela was able to travel abroad for 6 months and operate underground but was arrested in 1962.

22 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

Mandela and the MK leaders were tried at the Pretoria Supreme Court in Johannesburg. There were 10 leading lights of the ANC in the dock, and the trial lasted from 1963 to 1964.

They were accused of recruiting fighters, attempting to commit sabotage, having links with Communist organisations and soliciting money from foreign states.

23 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

The prosecutor called for the death penalty. The Afrikaner judge, Brown Fisher, gave life imprisonment.

Sobukwe had already be incarcerated on Robben Island, and the black ANC leaders only joined them there. The government was neutralising Mandela and the others by placing them on Robben Island. Their communication with both the outside world and each other was limited and censored.

24 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

Mandela had been the co-founder and the first leader of the MK. Now in prison, he was unable to lead the MK in exile. That responsibility passed to Joe Modise, who commanded MK from 1965 until 1984.

25 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

Oliver Tambo, deputy President of the ANC, went into exile in 1960. He did this in order salvage the movement, establish 'external mission' and win international support. He was driven secretly to Botswana by Ronald Segal.

Based initially in London, Oliver Tambo travelled widely in Europe and Africa. He was invited to address the United Nations in New York and focused on the plight of political prisoners in South Africa.

Tambo's tireless travelling and his obvious sincerity and commitment gave the ANC significant international legitimacy in the early years of exile.

26 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) was formally founded in 1960 in London. Trevor Huddleston had served in Sophiatown and witnessed its destruction; over the long term, he was a central figure in the AAM as vice-president from 1961 to 1981 and president from 1981 to 1994.

Ambrose Reeves, who wrote so effectively about Sharpeville, was Bishop of Johannesburg from 1949 to 1961.

They saw apartheid as morally wrong and in conflict with Christian teaching that all were equal before God.

In 1959, they started a boycott movement focussing on South African products, such as sherry, with gathered pace after Sharpeville.

Internationally, E. S. Reddy, an Indian who worked at the United Nations in New York, played a key role over many years in highlighting apartheid.

27 of 43

Did the ANC and PAC radicalise after 1960?

Sport was identified by campaigners as an issue clear to white South African hearts. South Africa had ceased to send teams to the Commonwealth Games from 1961 and was excluded by FIFA from international football in 1963.

In 1962, Dennis Brutus formed the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee.

The proposal to send an all-black team to the 1970 Football World Cup was rejected.

28 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

During the 1960s, white political authority seemed secure and to some degree, African opposition was suppressed.

In 1966, Verwoerd was murdered by a parliamentary messenger of Greek origin. He was succeeded by B. J. Vorster, the tough-talking Minister of Justice who had been responsible for much of the security legislation under which African leaders were detained and convicted.

29 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

The world economy grew, as a whole, quickly after WWII, especially from about 1950 until the oil crisis in 1973. South Africa hared in global development with an overall economic growth of about 4.6% a year for the period as a whole. This increased to 5% a year in the 1960s.

However, South Africa was still very dependent on mining and agriculture, especially for its exports.

30 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

Employment in the manufacturing industry of mostly black people roughly doubled between 1951 and 1975 from 850,000 to 1.6 million.

The number of Africans doing white collar work spiralled from 75,000 to 420,000 - African people were no longer simply manual labourers on the mines and farm.

The number of goldmine workers rose from about 300,000 to 400,000, but in the 1980s roughly 80% were migrant workers from outside of South Africa.

31 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

A colour bar remained entrenched in the law. Certain jobs were reserved for whites, especially in the mining industry and in skilled artisanal work.

Black people could not be trained as plumbers or electricians or welders. They also could not be in control of whites at a place of work.

32 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

Urban municipalities received budgets to build a huge number of cheap homes. State-built houses in Johannesburg increased from 10,000 in 1946 to 62,000 in 1965.

By 1970, a new township called Mdantsane near East London housed around 70,000 people in 120,000 new four-roomed family dwellings.

33 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

  • Native Workers Building Act (1951)

This act enabled African workers to work, even at a skilled level, on African houses.

Native Affairs offices, schools, creches, nurseries, hospitals and welfare organisations all absorbed more black people.

Manufacturers and Marketeers began to identify an African market and advertised heavily in newspapers and magazines to sell cigarettes, soft drinks, cleaning materials, clothes and radios.

34 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

Per capita income in the 1960s increased by about 23% for black South Africans. The African population alone surged from 11 million to 15 million and the total population increased from 16 million to 22 million.

In 1968, prosecutions for pass offences reached 700,000, but the number of Africans in the cities rose from 1.5 million to over 6 million.

35 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

The % of white South Africans peaked to 22% in 1921 and fell to 17% by 1968.

South Africa produced 95,000 cars in 1960 and 195,000 in 1970. African people probably owned 1 car per 100 people.

36 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

The main organisations in the Witwatersrand townships were churches, choirs, saving societies, temperance associations and football clubs.

Women's associations in churches were particularly strong.

37 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

By the end of 1960, the barriers to higher education were still formidable with only 342 African girls passing matric out of about 3,000.

38 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

The 1959 Bantu Self-Government Act set in motion attempts by the government to turn homelands into self-governing African states within South Africa.

Each of the 10 ethnolinguistic groups defined by Pretoria was to have its own government, bureaucracy and infrastructure.  In December 1963, the first self-governing homeland was established when the Transkei Legislation Assembly was opened in Umtata.

The Transkei was the largest continuous area of African settlement. Pretoria found an able, well-educated and ambitious chief to support their policy - Kaiser Matanzima. 

39 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

An opposition Democratic Party, led by Chief Victor Poto, won the elections for the Transkeian assembly. They believed South Africa should remain as one nation, however, Matanzima was not prepared to give up power. 

He ensured that sufficient conservative chiefs were appointed ex-officio to the assembly to ensure control by his Transkei National Independence Party.

40 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

While strong relations were maintained with western countries most newly independent Africa states were reluctant to deal with the National Party.

In 1963, the Organisation of African Unity made up of independent African states was formed. It immediately initiated a series of procedures against South Africa, including a fund for liberation. But, Pretoria was shielded by Namibia under its direct rule, Zimbabwe under white role.

41 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

When Vorster became Prime Minister in 1966, he acted pragmatically on the diplomatic front.

Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland were economically dependent on South Africa and tens of thousands of migrants from each worked in South Africa - usually on short-term contracts in the mining industry.

Despite pressures from the Anti-Apartheid Movement and the United Nations, diplomatic ties with Britain, the United States and much of Western Europe continued.

Foreign companies, such as Barclays, Coca-cola and Volkswagon, were established in South Africa and advertised heavily.

Western countries were interested in South Africa's gold, coal and uranium.

42 of 43

What factors strengthened apartheid in 1960-68?

The police were given legal authority to detain suspects without trial for up to 180 days.

Under the 1961 Terrorism Act, suspects could be detained without trial immediately.

In 1968, new central police headquarters was opened in Johannesburg. Two floors were reserved for the security branch, where they could interrogate detainees. Eight detainees lost their lives during detention there.

43 of 43

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all South Africa: from Apartheid State to 'Rainbow Nation'. resources »