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Anti-Apartheid Struggle

  • Adoption of the Freedom Charter by the Congress of the People

    Adoption of the Freedom Charter by the Congress of the People
    The opening words of the Freedom Charter became widely known in South Africa’s political discourse: “We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know: that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.” This was adopted by the nation of South Africa and spread widely.
  • Womenś March against the Pass Law

    Womenś March against the Pass Law
    Over 20,000 women, of all races, marched through the streets of Pretoria to the Union Buildings to hand over a petition to JG Strijdom, South Africa's prime minister, over the introduction of the new pass laws and the Group Areas Act No 41 of 1950. This act enforced different residential areas for different races and led to forced removals of people living in 'wrong' areas.
  • The Sharpeville Massacre

    The Sharpeville Massacre
    At least 180 black Africans were injured (there are claims of as many as 300) and 69 killed when South African police opened fire on approximately 300 demonstrators, who were protesting against the pass laws, at the township of Sharpeville, near Vereeniging in the Transvaal.
  • The Durban Strike

    The Durban Strike
    In Durban, South Africa, black African workers constituted one of the largest groups of industrial workers in South Africa with 165,000 workers. Commonly, the employers of the companies would reject the demands at the mass meetings, but would grant the workers a small increase in wages, usually around R2 a week after the workers went on strike.
  • The Student uprising in Soweto

    The Student uprising in Soweto
    In 1953 the Apartheid Government enacted The Bantu Education Act, which established a Black Education Department in the Department of Native Affairs. The role of this department was to compile a curriculum that suited the "nature and requirements of the black people." When high-school students in Soweto started protesting for better education on 16 June 1976, police responded with teargas and live bullets. It is now a national holiday known as Youth Day.
  • Release of Nelson Mandela from prison

    Release of Nelson Mandela from prison
    Nelson Mandela, as a leader in the African National Congress, an organization dedicated to protesting the South African government’s policy of apartheid, had been arrested in 1956 on treason charges, but was acquitted. Mandela was arrested again in 1962. He received a life sentence on June 12, 1964, and was sent to prison. In the 1980s, exiled ANC leader Oliver Tambo led an international movement to free Mandela. Many countries imposed sanctions on South Africa for its apartheid policies.
  • The Killing of Steven Biko by the South African police

    The Killing of Steven Biko by the South African police
    A student leader, he later founded the Black Consciousness Movement which would empower and mobilize much of the urban black population. Since his death in police custody, he has been called a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement.[4] While living, his writings and activism attempted to empower black people, and he was famous for his slogan "black is beautiful", which he described as meaning: "man, you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being".
  • Reinstating Organizations in South Africa

    Reinstating Organizations in South Africa
    The ban on the African National Congress (ANC), Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and South African Communist Party (SACP) was lifted, and shortly thereafter, because there was no longer any need for a ‘front' organisation, the United Democratic Front (UDF) was disbanded. This also announced that all political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, were to be released.
  • The First Democratic Election

    The First Democratic Election
    As Nelson Mandela, who was elected, stated, "I cherish the idea of a new South Africa where all South Africans are equal and work together to bring about security, peace and democracy in our country. I sincerely hope that the mass media will use its powerful position to ensure that democracy is installed in this country." This was the beginning of a fresh start for the country of South Africa.
  • Presentation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report to President Mandela

    Presentation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report to President Mandela
    The mandate of the commission was to bear witness to, record and in some cases grant amnesty to the perpetrators of crimes relating to human rights violations, as well as reparation and rehabilitation. This board had many high profile activists and leaders in South Africa.