South Africa - theme 3


Resistance and challenges to NP power, 1968-83

In the 1960s, the ANC, PAC and the Communist Party had all been officially banned.

Black consciousness proved to be a major force within South Africa, at a time when the oppostion movements were severly hamstrung by government repression.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

In the late 1960s, a new momentum developed within opposition circles, rooted first in the universities where apartheid had been applied following the Extension of University Act passed in 1959.

After the 1959 Act, Africans seeking a university education from the huge populations in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Witwatersrand townships were increasingly directed to the University of the North (Turfloop).

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

Turfloop became a melting pot, linguistically, ethnically and politically. Some came from families with ANC and PAC connections.

Many of the students who came to the new balck universities were from Christian backgrounds. In the1960s, 2/3s of African people professed Christianity.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

Steve Biko, a medical student at the University of Natal's segregated medical school, attended National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) and University Christian Movement congresses and drew on these ideas.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

Biko led the back delegation during the 1967 NUSAS Congress of Rhodes University.

The university refused to allow black students to stay in residences on campus or use other facilities eqwually during the conference.

This incident helped to trigger the formation of a separate black student movement during 1968-69.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

After the University Christian Movement was banned on some campuses, they founded the South African Student's Organisation (SASO) in July 1969 at Turfloop, with Biko as the first president.

Calling their views and movement 'black consciousness', Biko and his colleagues argued that black peple should lead themselves, and not be led by whites, however sympathetic they may be.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

Black consciousness was less an organised political movement and more an intellectual articulation. It was an attitude of the mind, and aimed to ensure that balck people 'self-defined' rather than being defined by others.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

By 1972, a Black Consciousness Movement and a Black People's Convention were launched.

Black consciousness looked to the future - it was a generational movement of students and youth in search of a new identity that transcended apartheid and subservience.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

In 1972, the Student president, Abraham Onkgopotse Tiro, was allowed to make a speech at the graduation ceremony. He made a stinging attack on the university authorities for the poor facilites, discrimination against African staff and the inequalities in South African society more generally.

His speech was not the most radical delivered by black consciousness student leaders, but the context was explosive as he spoke in front of white university authorities, black staff, parents and students. He was expelled by the Afrikaner rector after a protest on campus.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

By March 1973, the government decided that SASO was becoming too dangerous. Banning orders were issued against the most prominent leaders, including Steve Biko. Tiro was dismissed from his teaching position.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

Between 1950 and 1975, the number of African children at school increased from around 1 million to over 3.5 million, with 280,000 at secondary school.

In Soweto alone, high school numbers increased from 12,600 to 34,000 in the 4 years between 1972 to 1976. This put huge pressure on buildings and teaching staff.Soweto schools often had classes of over 60.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

Gangs, such as the Hazels, the Dirty Dozen and the Bandigos,collectively called Tsotsis in street langauge, were violent, unscrupulous and often hostile to the high school children.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

In 1974, the Transvaal Bantu Education Department decided to expand teaching in Afrikaans atAfrican schools. Both Afrikaans and English were compulsory at high school level for white and black students. The government wished African students to learn other subjects in Afrikaans, including mathematics.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

Afrikaans was seen as the language of the oppressor, used by agents of apartheid at a national level and by the white police who harassed their parents. It was the language of racism.

English was seen as the language of advancement, a global language, the language of black American people and the language of black consciousness.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

Towards the end of May 1976, SASM tried to organise boycotts in protest. A demonstration was announced on 16 June. About 2,000 marching pupils were confronted by about 50 police officers at Orlando West School. Stones were hurled and police dogs were released.

The pupils attacked government buildings, killed 2 officials and threw up barricades.

The government responded with force and all in all an estimated 138 were killed over the first few days of protest. Pupils boycotted school, tried to destroy African local government buildings and pushed the community as a whole to support them.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

On 17 June, 300 Witwatersrand Univerity students marched in sympathy and Turfloop students tried to burn down the Afrikaans department on their campus.

On 18 June, official buildings, shops and liquor stores in Johannesburg were attacked.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

Winnie Mandela and Dr Nthatho Motlana formed a Black Parent's Association to take on the role of organising funerals.

575 died in the Soweto revolt and its aftermath. It was the single most violent episode of state repression since Sharpeville and similarly attacked global attention.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

In order to avoid arrest, an estimated 4,000 youths fled the country between 1976-1977.

The only coherent organisation was the ANC, vby then based in Lusaka, Zambia. Some of those who feld the country were less educated street youths, rather than students, and when recruited into MK, they were reputed to make good soldiers because they were not scared of dying.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

In 1973, the government banned Steve Biko. He was made to live in Kingwilliamstown in the Eastern Cape, his movements were restricted and he was not allowed to attend political meetings.

He remained involved in local and regional black consciousness activities and maintained a strong profile through his writing, some of it published and some surreptitiously circulated, which came to define black consciousness.

His ideas were taken up by Donald Woods, white editor of the Daily Dispatch, a liberal East London newspaper.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

In August 1977, Biko left Kingwilliamstown, breaking his banning order and was arrested, interrogated and severely beaten.

A few weeks later when he was close to death, he was rushed 1,000km by road to a prison hospital in Pretoria. He died on 12 September 1977.

The police claimed his death was related to a hunger-strike; however, Woods challenged this cover-up and made allegations of police brutality. He produced convincing evidence, including photographs taken in the morgue.

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Black consciousness and the Soweto uprising

The nature of Biko's death in police custody provoked international disapproval. Biko's funeral was attended by over 10,000 people, including several foreign ambassadors, in the huge show of support for the man and his ideas.

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How did the ANC strengthen its position after 1970

During the early 1960s, the ANC established a number of offices abroad and London remained an important centre for the movement. Within Africa, ANC activities were largely concentrated in Zambia and Tanzania. A number of exiles settled in Lusaka, Zambia, and Tambo was based there largely from 1967.

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How did the ANC strengthen its position after 1970

MK also moved to Zambia and this was the base for two attempted major incursions and the Wankie and Sipolilo campaigns in 1967 and 1968.

In the first, 50 trained MK guerrillas, including Chris Hani, crossed the Zambezi and attempted to create a route through Zimbabwe to South Africa.

One of the detachments was largely destroyed by  Rhodesian government forces. Others were forced to retreat to Botswana.

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How did the ANC strengthen its position after 1970

The Sipolilo campaign lasted for longer but also resulted in heavy losses.

Hani survived the Wankie campaign and issued a memorandum accusing ANC leaders of 'careerism' and becoming middle-class 'globe-trotting' bureaucrats.

The leadership of the ANC responded with some hostility to the accusations by Hani and Tambo faced a major crisis within the organisation. He took personal responsibility for the military failings.

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How did the ANC strengthen its position after 1970

Tambo resigned as acting president in 1969 but was immediately re-elected without opposition. This gave him a stronger hand to address the growing divisions.

The movement adopted a 'strategy and tactics' document that affirmed the importance of armed struggle but stressed, even more, the need for political leadership, political education and political unity.

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How did the ANC strengthen its position after 1970

Tambo was a quiet but determined man who tried to listen as well as lead. He was deeply conscious of the need for unity.

He held strongly to the ANC's philosophy of non-racialism and fully recognised the value of the multi-racial Anti-Apartheid Movement. The PAC had no comparable figure.

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How did the ANC strengthen its position after 1970

There was no single global anti-apartheid organisation, movements were based in individual counties around the world. 

During the 1960s, the British AAM had launched a wider range of boycotts by unions and guilds related to the arts of work alongside sporting and economic sanctions.

In 1980, the UN passed a reduction for a comprehensive cultural and academic boycott of South Africa, supported by the ANC and the AAM.

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How did the ANC strengthen its position after 1970

In 1970 a Conservative government under Edward Heath was elected in the UK. He initially withdrew Britain from the UN arms boycott introduced in 1964, but Britain and South Africa remained the most important trading power.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Black workers made up the great majority of miners who extracted the gold and uranium ores, and the coal for power stations.

Around 1.5 million African people worked on farms, more than 3 times there in mines. By 1976, the number of people working in factories, workshops and manufacturing industries rose to 1.6 million.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Trade Unions became a significant issue of the government during the 1970s and 1980s.

Black workers at PUTCO, a huge bus transport company, went on strike in 1972.

In 1973, Zulu-speaking migrant workers who lived in compounds at a brick factory near Durban withdrew from work. Their strike spread to 150 other factories in the area and included Indian women workers in the textile industry.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Former unionists and white student activists began to build new trade unions in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town. These were independent both from the old ANC-linked SACTU and from the white-controlled unions. Their legal status was uncertain but the government didn't immediately ban them.

The new independent unions decided to focus primarily on the issue of wages and working conditions, rather than broader political aims.

Black workers were unorganised, so provided a fertile field for the new unions.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

South Africa was a major producer of sugar - coastal slopes of KwaZulu-Natal were covered for miles and miles in green sugar cane.

A Sweet, Food and Allied Workers Union spread in the sector.

An African Metal and Allied Workers Union (MAWU) spread in Durban and the Witwatersrand.

In Cape Town, the Food and Canning Workers expanded under the leadership of a former law student, Jan Theron, from 1976.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

By 1979, some new independent unions felt sufficiently confident to combine in a Federation of South African Trade Unions (FOSATU). Its main support was in Johannesburg and Durban.

It established a strong identity as a non-racial union, dedicated to shop-floor organisation.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Black consciousness thinking deeply influenced the Soweto protest of 1976, but some students were aware of the alternative political tradition of the ANC.

The Congress of South African Students (COSAS), launched in 1979, coordinated school protests nationally, initially drew on both traditions but its first leader, Ephrahim Mogale, was an underground supporter of the ANC.

COSAS committed itself to the Freedom Charter.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

In 1980, the Sunday Post launched a nationwide Release Mandela campaign which won wide support.

In 1980, a wave of school protests inspired by this new political alignment fought against radically unequal education and closed many black schools. On this occasion, protests started in Coloured schools in Cape Town and spread nationally.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

A strike at the East London factory of sweet-makers Wilson Rowntree was organised by the South African Allied Workers Union (SAAWU), which openly declared for Charterism and secretly recruited youths to join MK in exile.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Liberalism as a political ideology and movement had deep roots in South Africa but limited support. In 1953, a Liberal Party which staunchly opposed apartheid was founded largely by white activists. Most were middle class and highly educated professionals.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

In 1959, 11 of the more liberal MPs in the United Party (UP) formed a separate Progressive Party. Only one, Helen Suzman, held her seat in the next election in 1961.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

In 1974, the Progressives achieved a small breakthrough, increasing their seats from one to seven and their white vote from about 40,000 in 1966 to 59,000.

By contrast, the old opposition United Party won 41 seats with 363,000 votes in 1974.

At that time, it still represented the conservative views of many English-speaking South Africans, but the UP lost direction and had no effective alternative to apartheid expect of a softer form of segregation policy that was still aimed at ensuring ***********.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

By 1978, the Progressive Federal Party became the main opposition in parliament. They tried to break through to the Afrikaner population and recruited a charismatic young Afrikaner intellectual from Stellenbosch, Frederik van Zyl Slabbert.

He became the leader of the Progressive Federal Party in 1979, winning 19% of the vote and 26 seats in 1981.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

During the 1970s, the National Party pressed ahead with its homeland or Bantustan policy. Vorster and his successor, P. W. Botha, pushed through the policy of granting independence to homelands.

Four accepted this status:

  • Transkei (1976)
  • Bophuthatswana (1977)
  • Venda (1979)
  • Ciskei (1981)
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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Homeland revenues increased fourfold during the first half of the 1970s from around R120 million to R520 million and continued to grow quickly.

Some of the growing homeland budgets went to fund the social costs of apartheid such as forced relocations. A good deal of money was used to fund the expanding bureaucracies of the Bantustans and there was a great deal of waste.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

In the early 1970s, over 50% of some homelands budgets went to education, roads, health and agriculture. The government was keen for educational provision to expand more rapidly in the rural, rather than urban areas, as this would discourage urban migration.

Bantu education brought large new budgets and the independent homelands did not have to stick strictly with this system of teaching.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Mangosuthu Buthelezi in KwaZulu refused to hold an election or accept independence. In the 1970s, he was a frequent critic of the nationalist government and opened important space for political opposition. He gained effective access to the national media.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

One of the smaller homelands, Kangwane, which was supposed to provide for South Africa's Swazi population, became a centre for rural underground activism associated with the ANC. The homelands, however, were too carefully policed to become bases for a rural armed struggle led by MK.

In this way, South Africa was very different from Mozambique and Zimbabwe where the armed liberation movements were able to take some control over rural territory.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

At a meeting in Umtata in 1973, they agreed that their long-term aim should be to achieve one black nation, possibly on a federal basis. In this sense, Pretoria needed them, but could not fully control them.

However, the homeland leaders could not easily find wider support. The rise of black consciousness and radicalisation of popular struggles after Soweto in 1976 had polarised African politics.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Buthelezi initially seemed to offer a broad national leadership but he was rejected by black consciousness activists and by those sympathetic to the ANC.

By the late 1970s, he was in a open conflict with the new political forces and embraced an increasingly ethnic nationalist strategy based on the KwaZulu homeland. Despite this, he survived politically to become a durable figure in post-apartheid governments.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Many of the homeland governments resorted to the same forms of repression as the South African government. Their expenditure on police and military forces, supported by Pretoria, grew quickly.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

The new money, pouring through a narrow funnel into homeland administrations, without sufficient oversight, created a setting in which patronage, personalised power and corruption could flourish.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Prime Minister Vorster remained securely in power from 1966 to 1978 and comfortably won the white elections of 1970 and 1974. By this time the National Party won wide English-speaking as well as Afrikaner support. 

However, Afrikaners did not all think in the same way and cracks were beginning to appear in the National Party edifice. 

Verligte and verkrampte groups had to develop within the National Party. Their battles were fought out publicly in the newspapers.

  • Verkrampte - 'conservative'
  • Verligte - 'progressive' or 'enlightened'
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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

The verligtes argued that better training should be available for black workers and suggested that if black trade unions were recognised, relations between white employers and black workers could improve.

They also advocated more opportunities for the rising African middle class in the cities. Such African families were not even allowed to own their own homes.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

The verkramptes argued that the solution lay in more rapid and stringent implementation of separate development.

Vorster tended to side with the verkramptes, despite his pragmatic views.

His government pursued the policy of creating independent homelands. He rejected the recommendations of a government commission on inquiry, which he himself had appointed, that there should be greater integration of Coloured people with whites.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

In 1978, Vorster had been in power for 12 years and was ageing and ill. He seemed to favour Dr Connie Mulder, a leading conservative, for the succession. Mulder, the Minister of Information and the Interior, was in charge of government propaganda and policy formulation. He was head of the powerful Transvaal National Party and worked closely with General van den Bergh, head of the Security Police and the Bureau of State Security (BOSS).

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Vorster gave Mulder a secret fund to wage a propaganda campaign both within and outside the country. They employed a former journalist, Eschel Rhoodie, as their chief propagandist.

They tried to influence the British and American media by purchasing and publishing magazines. They cultivated overseas politicians who seemed to support white rule and smeared those who opposed them, such as Jeremy Thorpe, the Liberal Party leader in Britain, who strongly supported the AAM.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

In 1978 Vorster's government was rocked by the 'information scandal'. Newspapers published stories showing that the propaganda slush fund established under Mulder was being used in corrupt and inappropriate ways. Individuals had used some of the money for self-enrichment.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Van den Bergh and Rhoodie resigned but when Vorster stood down at the end of 1978, Connie Mulder competed with P. W. Botha for the position of Prime Minister.

Although Mulder's local Transvaal wing was the biggest power base in the National Party, his role in the information scandal and his attempt to deny it was already becoming known and the Transvaal nationalists split.

Botha was elected by 98 votes to 74.

Mulder lost his leadership of the Transvaal nationalists to the strongly verkrampte A. P. Treurnicht, who had recently tried to push through the policy of expanding the use of Afrikaans in Soweto schools.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

The Western world, in general, went into recession following the oil crisis of 1973. Oil was essential for all industrial economies. It powered the vehicles, planes and ships that were central to mobility, global trade and internal security.

In 1973, the price of oil doubled. South Africa was particularly vulnerable to the oil price shock because it had no natural oil and needed to import much of its supply.

The nationalists founded a state-owned corporation called SASOL, which became the biggest oil-from-coal producer in the world, and by the early 1980s produced 1/3 of national requirements. Nevertheless, there was a big gap to fill and SASOL petrol was expensive.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Between the census years of 1960 and 1991, the white population grew from 3 million to 5 million

The African population grew from 11 million to 29 million, increasing nearly threefold.

This totally altered the balance of population in the country, as the percentage of whites dwindled from around 20% in the mid-century to barely 13%.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

In 1960, 68% of the African population still lived in rural areas. 80% of the rural land was subdivided into white-owned farms.

The number of tractors increased from 119,000 in 1960 to 302,000 in 1980.

Farm sizes doubled between 1950 and 1960.

The number of white farmers fell from 120,000 to 65,000.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Between 1960 and 1980 about 2 million black people moved off the farms. Some were forced off while some chose to leave.

A small homeland called KwaNdebele in the Transvaal experienced mushroom growth, from about 32,000 in 1972 to over 200,000 in 1985. In 1975, the PUTCO bus company ran 2 buses a day from KwaNdebele; by 1984 there were 263.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

P. W. Botha became Prime Minister in 1978. Although he was not a strong verligte, he was committed to the need for reform. It was designed to maintain ***********.

Firstly, the National Party began to relax economic apartheid. The government decided to increase the security of African workers and their ability to move into more skilled jobs.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

The de Lange Commission, reporting in 1981, advocated a gradual equalisation of educational expenditure and a single national department of education. After Soweto, expenditure on African education rose sharply.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

The National Party softened the language of race. He continued to promote the homelands, and in fact, expenditure increased, but he also recognised that African urbanisation was irreversible and that Afrikaners should create opportunities for a black urban elite.

Political powers were developed to black urban councils and in 1979 urban African people were allowed long-term devolved of their properties in the cities.

In the same year, the professional football league was deracialised - black and white could play in the same teams and the same league.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Botha began to reconstruct the constitution of South Africa. He wished to concentrate power in the hand of the executive, rather than parliament and developed a presidential form of government.

  • 1980 - he created a President's Council, an advisory body of white, Coloured and Indian politicians
  • 1983 - Coloured and Indian parliaments were established with the President's Council as an overarching body
  • 1983 - Botha became President, instead of Prime Minister, at the head of a tricameral parliament
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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

Botha's reform agenda triggered a split of verkramptes under Treurnicht, the head of the Transvaal nationalists, into a new Conservative Party. It was ironic that it was named after the British Conservative Party because Botha saw himself as closely aligned with Margaret Thatcher's free-market views while Treurnicht wished to maintain all the protections for Afrikaners.

The Afrikaner Conservative Party believed that Botha's reforms betrayed the original principles of apartheid. However, apartheid had always been to some degree a flexible ideology.

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What problems did the NP face 1974-83?

During the 1980s, Treurnicht and the Conservative Party achieved a peak of nearly 600,000 white votes. This was sufficient enough to win 22 white parliamentary seats and displace the Progressive Federal Party.

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What external pressures threatened the NP?

Vorster was Prime Minister at a time of increasing international isolation for South Africa (1966-78), but he pursued an active foreign policy in Africa in the 1970s and tried to leave behind the 'laager mentality' that had characterised earlier Afrikaner approaches.

Vorster made loans available to several states, particularly those on South Africa's doorstep such as Lesotho and Swaziland, ensuring that countries remained dependent upon the South African economic support.

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What external pressures threatened the NP?

Botha's reform policy was accompanied by a far more aggressive foreign policy based on the idea of a 'Total Strategy'. He wanted to establish regional military superiority, seek regional allies and take the initiative in 'winning hearts and minds' wherever this was possible, externally as well as internally.

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What external pressures threatened the NP?


  • became independent in 1975
  • becomes communist
  • South Africa keep sending troops into Angola
  • South Africa and the USA lend support to the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) movement
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What external pressures threatened the NP?


  • FREMILO - Communist government came to power, led by Samora Machel
  • became weak and asked for help from other Communist governments
  • Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) established military bases
  • Botha funds anyone who isn't Communist to help
  • ANC members in Mozambique
  • Civil War - lasts until the 1980s and devastates Mozambique
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What external pressures threatened the NP?


  • South Africa put border control along the shared border with Namibia
  • South Africa sent troops to North border of Namibia
  • All white youths required to do long periods of compulsory military service and the standing army expanded
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What external pressures threatened the NP?


  • Liberation movements - Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU)
  • ZANU win election in 1980
  • white people forced to sell land
  • Botha no longer does anything in Zimbabwe as there are no MK bases there
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What external pressures threatened the NP?

After the United Nations voluntary ban on weapons exports to South Africa in 1963, the government prioritised a domestic arms industry under a government corporation called Armscor.

South Africa manufactured its own firearms, military vehicles and aircraft so by 1982, 80% of armaments was made in the country.

Israel formed an alliance with South Africa and military links were of central importance.

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What external pressures threatened the NP?

In 1980, 9 southern African states launched the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC). This excluded South Africa and was designed as a counterweight to the apartheid regime. Governments of different ideological persuasions agreed to build alternative economic and political links.

This proved difficult because South Africa controlled key transport links through its ports, road and railways to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland.

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What external pressures threatened the NP?

Botha did not rely on military strategies alone. In 1982 Swaziland signed a non-aggression pact with South Africa and Lesotho has been persuaded against hosting the ANC.

Mozambique suffered such serious damage from the civil war and direct Sout African incursions that it signed the Mkomati Accord in 1984.

South Africa undertook to stop military support for Renamo if FREMILO would cease providing sanctuary for the ANC. Botha signed this agreement personally with Samora Machel and saw it as a major breakthrough.

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International condemnation of the NP

During the first half of the 1970s, calls for economic sanctions against South Africa were falling on deaf ears among the leaders of South Africa's major trading partners.

In 1973, reports of starvation wages paid by British firms in South Africa made national headlines. Rather than disinvestment, a British parliamentary select committee and the Trade Union Congress advocated a formal code of conduct for British firms operating in South Africa.

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International condemnation of the NP

The AAM generally opposed these initiatives as they felt they gave succour to the South African government. The movement organised a demonstration of 6,000 in London after Soweto, but it was uncertain about some of the new developments in South Africa.

Linked so strongly to the ANC and its allied, the AAM was uneasy about supporting black consciousness and the student movement.

The AAM and ANC were still guided by SACTU, the ANC's trade union arm.

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International condemnation of the NP

In the 1970s, the AAM found it could win wider support by concentrating partly human rights issues rather than the broader political aims of liberation.

In1974, AAM and linked organisations launched the South Africa, The Imprisoned Society (SATIS) campaign. SATIS focused initially on all political prisoners but found that British activist and student groups had already begun to take up Mandela's name. The AAM and the ANC felt that the focus on prisoners would be more effective if they found one iconic figure and that a personal story would also enable them to avoid difficult issues such as the armed struggle.

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International condemnation of the NP

From 1978 the campaign was increasingly personalised around Mandela, initially to celebrate his 60th birthday with international cards. 3,000 were sent.

From 1980, a global campaign focused around the slogan 'Free Nelson Mandela'. The AAM recognised the importance of making cultural connections, rather than presenting only political arguments.

In 1983, they organised a Nelson Mandela birthday concert at Alexandra Palace to celebrate his 65th birthday.

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