Uprising of the ANC

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Uprising of the ANC Uprising In 1959 a militant group of "Africanists" split from the of ANC and former the Pan African Congress (PAC), led by Robert Sobukwe. For the first time the ANC was challenged as the leading voice against apartheid. On March 21, 1960 over 5,000 Blacks held a protest against the pass books law in a township called Sharpeville. The demonstrators deliberately left their pass books behind challenging the police officers to arrest them. However, instead of arresting the demonstrators the police opened fire shooting 249 people and killing 69. Fearing wide spread violence in the wake of the shooting, the government declared a nation wide State of Emergency, and on April 8, 1960 the ANC and PAC were banned. The Sharpeville tragedy focused the worlds attention, for the first time, to the racial problems of South Africa and brought apartheid into the social conscience. For more information on what happened at Sharpeville take a look at The Sharpeville Massacre: A Watershed in South Africa (external link) an essay written by The Rt. Reverend Ambrose Reeves. Or, The Sharpeville Massacre: Its historic significance in the struggle against apartheid (external link) by David M. Sibeko. Women played an important role in the resistance to apartheid by participating in such organizations as the Federation of South African Women (FSAW). In 1954 17 April 1954 at the Founding of the Federation of South African Women conference held in Johannesburg, the FSAW adopted the Women's Charter which stated: We, the women of South Africa, wives and mothers, working women and housewives, African, Indians, European and Colored, hereby declare our aim of striving for the removal of all laws, regulations, conventions and customs that discriminate against us as women, and that deprive us in any way of our inherent right to the advantages, responsibilities and opportunities that society offers to any one section of the population. Click here for the full text of the Federation of South African Women's Women's Charter. For more information on women and the fight against apartheid take a look at: Women in the Apartheid Society by Fatima Meer and the ANC's Women's Struggle site. On June 16, 1976, 15,000 Black students in Soweto gathered at a local school to protested compulsory learning of Afrikaans in their classrooms. They were met by government troops and ordered to disband. Moments later the government forces opened fire killing two students and injuring many. This sparked riots and protest in Soweto and township across South Africa that lasted for twelve months with official numbers claiming 575 dead and 2,389 wounded.

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