History of South Africa 3

History of South Africa Part III

Development up to leaving the Commonwealth (1948-61)

Since its election victory in 1948, the NP, which was renewed in 1934, has been repeatedly confirmed as the ruling party by the minority of the white population. The governments of Malan (1948–54), Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom (* 1893, † 1958;1954–58) and H. F. Verwoerd (1958–66) created the legal framework for apartheid. The basis was the Population Registration Act (1950), according to which everyone living in the South African Union was assigned to a certain breed. Races within the meaning of this legislation were: blacks (originally Bantu), whites, coloreds and Asians; everyone had to be able to identify themselves at any time with an identity card on which the race was noted. The passport legislation was v. a. applied to the non-white sections of the population with restricted freedom of movement. The politics of racial segregation distinguished between the “big” and the “small” apartheid. Based on the Group Areas Act (1950 and 1966 supplemented and tightened), the governments assigned specific, spatially separate residential areas to each race as part of the “Great Apartheid”; were in the vicinity of the big cities Townships (as early as 1930 Soweto) built especially for those blacks who live there – e. B. as an industrial worker – lived and worked. Legislation allowed the forced relocation of blacks and coloreds who lived in areas reserved for whites. With the Bantu Authorities Act (1951) and the Bantu Self-Government Act (1959) the governments created homelands that were assigned as residential areas to the black peoples living in the South African Union (including the Zulu, Xhosa), v. a. in order to exclude the blacks from the habitat of the whites. The “Little Apartheid” had a profound effect on people’s personal lives; it banned sexual intercourse between members of different races under threat of punishment and carried out racial segregation, among other things. in schools, churches, hospitals and public institutions.

At the beginning of the 1950s, the ANC tried to activate the resistance against the apartheid laws with mass demonstrations (“Disregard Campaign”, 1952). Under the influence of the ANC’s youth league ( N. Mandela ), the militant groups within the ANC increasingly prevailed over those who emphasized peaceful protest ( A. Luthuli ). In 1955, in league with the South African Communist Party, the ANC proclaimed a »Freedom Charter«. In 1959 the Pan-African Congress (PAC) split from the ANC. After the bloody suppression of demonstrations against the passport legislation ( Sharpeville ) In 1960, the ANC and PAC took violent action. The government tried to use administrative and legal means to counter the political resistance and later the guerrilla actions of the ANC and PAC, both of which were banned in 1960; ANC and PAC formed exile leaderships abroad, and numerous members were arrested.

In terms of foreign policy, apartheid policy triggered growing international criticism; It was described as a form of “internal colonialism”, especially by Third World countries. The Asian-African members of the Commonwealth, led by India, called for the expulsion of the South African Union. In a referendum on October 5, 1960, the majority of white voters then decided to establish the republic. On May 31, 1961 the Verwoerd government proclaimed the “Republic of South Africa” ​​and declared its withdrawal from the Commonwealth.

From the founding of the Republic of South Africa to constitutional reform (1961–84)

According to the republican constitution (in force since May 31, 1961) a state president was at the head of the state; but until 1984 this office only had representative functions. Prime Minister was after Verwoerd’s assassination (1966) 1966–78 B. J. Vorster, 1978–84 P. W. Botha. The first decade of the republic was outwardly calm – with high economic growth and strong economic structural change. In the Rivonia process, however, the management staff of the “Umkonto we Sizwe” (Spear of the Nation), the military organization of the ANC, including Mandela and W. M. U. Sisulu, sentenced to life imprisonment. The plans to integrate the former German South West Africa into the system of “Great Apartheid” led to conflicts there and foreign policy tensions with the UN, which withdrew its mandate from South Africa in 1966 ( Namibia, history). During the implementation of the “Great Apartheid” in the Republic of South Africa itself, the government declared certain homelands to be independent – but not internationally recognized – states: for example, Transkei and BophuthaTswana in 1977, Venda in 1979 and Ciskei in 1981 (collectively as “TBCV states”). Under its chief minister G. M. Buthelezi, KwaZulu did not accept independence; instead Buthelezi organized his followers in the Inkatha.

In 1970 black groups gathered in the Black Consciousness movement. With the bloody suppression of the unrest in Soweto (1976), a militant resistance to the apartheid system also increased in South Africa itself. According to pharmacylib, the government switched to a combination of repression and concession: In 1977 it banned numerous black organizations, but in 1979 it recognized that independent black unions were eligible for tariffs (1985 to the Congress of South African Trade Unions, COSATU, merged). In view of its apartheid policy, the Republic of South Africa became increasingly isolated internationally; In 1972 the ANC and the PAC were granted observer status at the UN; In 1974 South Africa was expelled from the UN General Assembly; In 1977 the UN Security Council tightened the arms embargo that had existed since 1963.

History of South Africa 3

About the author