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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