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The Role of External Pressure in the Fight Against Apartheid and Minority Rule in South Africa

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The Role of External Pressure in the Fight Against Apartheid and Minority Rule in South Africa


External pressure played a very important part in bringing about the
end of the apartheid. The embodied rejection of White domination in
South Africa, in formations of protests, strikes and demonstrations
caused a decade of turbulent mass action in resistance to the
imposition of still harsher forms of segregation and oppression.

The Defiance Campaign of 1952 carried mass mobilisation to new heights
under the banner of non-violent resistance to the pass laws. These
actions were influenced in part by the philosophy of Mohandas Gandhi.

A critical step in the emergence of non-racialism was the formation of
the Congress Alliance, including the ANC; South African Indian
Congress; the Coloured People?s Congress; a small White congress
organisation (the Congress of Democrats); and the South African
Congress of Trade Unions. The Alliance gave formal expression to an
emerging unity across racial and class lines that was manifested in
the Defiance Campaign and other mass protests of this period, which
also saw women?s resistance take a more organised character with the
formation of the Federation of South African Women.

In 1955, a Freedom Charter was drawn up at the Congress of the People
in Soweto. The Charter enunciated the principles of the struggle,
binding the movement to a culture of human rights and no racialism.
Over the next few decades, the Freedom Charter was elevated to an
important symbol of the freedom struggle.

The Pan-Africans Congress (PAC), founded by Robert Sobukwe and based
on the philosophies of ?Africanism? and anti-com...


... middle of paper ...


...economy and increasing international pressure,
these developments made historic changes
inevitable.

F.W. de Klerk, who replaced Botha as State President in 1989,
announced at the opening of Parliament in February 1990 the unbanning
of the liberation movements and release of political prisoners,
notably Nelson Mandela. A number of factors led to this step.
International financial, trade, sport and cultural sanctions were
clearly biting. Above all, even if South Africa were nowhere near
collapse, either militarily or economically, several years of
emergency rule and ruthless repression had clearly neither destroyed
the structures of organised resistance, nor helped establish
legitimacy for the Apartheid regime or its collaborators. Instead,
popular resistance, including mass and armed action, was intensifying.



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