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

Powerful Essays
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...

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...economy and increasing international pressure,

these developments made historic changes


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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