South Africa. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission,
which has investigated human rights violations during the
apartheid years, submitted its final report to President
Nelson Mandela in October. The Commission then blamed the
ruling Nationalist Party (Nationalist Party, NP) and its
state apparatus for the abuses, but said that the entire
white community and business were shutting down for the
injustices of apartheid because they themselves were
favored. According to
Countryaah, the ANC (African National Congress) was also blamed
for sometimes going too far in the fight against oppression.
The ANC tried in vain to have the report stopped in court.
The work to deal with amnesty applications and to prosecute
criminals who have not applied for amnesty continues for
several years. Among those at risk are prosecutors former
President PW Botha.
Some of the most shocking testimonies concerned the
apartheid state's experiments with biological and chemical
weapons. Among other things, attempts were made to cultivate
bacteria that would only attack blacks and to sterilize
blacks with chemical agents. Plans were also made to poison
Nelson Mandela prior to release from prison.
Commander-in-chief Georg Meiring resigned after being
criticized for submitting a false report of plans for a
left-wing extremist coup against President Mandela. He was
succeeded by the designated dome leader Siphiwe Nyanda,
former commander of the ANC's armed branch and now the
country's first black ÖB.
South Africa's intervention against a military revolt in
Lesotho in September received harsh criticism. The army was
unprepared and ill-equipped, according to a report to
Parliament. Nine South African soldiers were killed in
In November, the Government made a decision in principle
on large purchases of military equipment as part of a
comprehensive modernization of the armed forces. Among other
things, they chose to buy 28 copies of the Swedish fighter
aircraft JAS 39 Gripen worth about SEK 15 billion. The final
negotiations will start in 1999 and are expected to lead to
extensive Swedish counter-purchases.
The currency, the rand, weakened sharply in June and July
through aggressive speculative trading. The reason for the
weakening of the rand was falling commodity prices and the
impact of the Asian crisis. In July, the rand had lost a
third of its value against the dollar since January.
The resistance to the regime
South African resistance has as long a history as
European colonization and oppression, but the many
resistance struggles up to around 1900 usually followed the
tribal boundaries. After the establishment of the South
African Union in 1910, more nationalist movements emerged
among blacks - initially among people with education - and
in 1912 the African National Congress ( ANC, African
National Congress ) was formed. Among the founders, several
had completed education at North American or European
universities. The ANC's first leaders believed that
Africans ' ne could be convinced of the injustice of
racial segregation laws and that liberal English-speaking
whites would allow blacks to participate in political life.
The movement conducted a series of demonstrations against
the land and pass laws.
During the post-World War I crisis, the illusion of
peaceful means began to fade. A radicalization took place
and a stronger professional organization - ia. through the
Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU). In 1920, a
strike was carried out with 40,000 black miners. In 1921,
the Communist Party of South Africa was formed, which was,
however, predominantly white. The white violence apparatus
was deployed, some ANC groups wanted a more "responsible"
course and therefore the 1930s became a downturn for the
Up to 1984, participation in politics was limited to less
than 17% of the population - the whites. A constitutional
reform this year extended participation to Asians -
predominantly Indians - and "colored". The black population
remained without suffrage.
In the 1940s, the ANC used a strategy of non-violent
opposition to the racist laws. The youth league was part of
the ANC and from 1943 formulated a more aggressive program.
Its leaders - Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo
- gradually gained higher positions within the ANC. In 1949,
the ANC adopted a program of action based on militant mass
mobilization. In 1950 a general strike was followed,
followed by a comprehensive civil disobedience campaign,
which began in 1952. An important step forward on the
antiracist front was taken in 1956, when a popular
congress of about 3,000 representatives adopted the
so-called Freedom Charter., with a program for a
democratic and non-capitalist South Africa with equal rights
across skin tones. The charter was signed by Indian,
mulatto, liberal and socialist movements. The country also
revolted and the South African Women's Union played an
increasingly important role in mass mobilization.
Because of the many compulsory laws and repression
measures, it became more difficult to work openly during the
1950s, and the ANC had little developed a strategy to defend
itself against the state's apparatus of violence. In 1959, a
group broke out of the ANC and formed the Pan Africanist
Congress ( PAC, Pan-African Congress). It happened, among
other things. in protest against the ANC's cooperation with
groups other than Africans, and in dissatisfaction with the
ANC's more socialist-oriented course. Since its formation,
PAC has been through a number of price changes and factional
disputes. It was the PAC that convened a demonstration in
Sharpeville in 1960 in protest against the hated pass laws
that restricted the movement of blacks. The apartheid regime
struck, killing 70 protesters and wounding hundreds.
Following the Sharpeville massacre, the ANC, PAC and the
Communist Party were made illegal. The battle underwent a
radical change. The ANC formed an armed branch, Umkhonto
we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), and the PAC formed
Poqo (Os only). In 1963, the ANC's top leaders were
captured. Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison,
and Oliver Tambo took over the leadership of the movement in
exile. The state apparatus's repression and the lack of
bases in neighboring countries prevented the guerrillas from
making greater progress and recruiting the masses.
Neighboring countries continued to be allies to the
apartheid regime at this time. The progressive trade union
movement - the South African Congress of Trade Unions
(SACTU) - also had to go underground.
In 1969, the ANC held an important conference in
Tanzania, where a new strategy was established - armed
struggle, political mobilization, greater emphasis on the
working class and opening to membership for progressive
colored, Asians and whites.
In the 1970s, the liberation struggle entered a new
phase, among other things. with major strike actions in
1972-73, a strengthened underground network for the ANC and
SACTU as well as a new generation of young people in the
Black Consciousness Movement led by Steven Biko. It covered
a wide range of student, student and welfare organizations
that worked on an ideological basis to restore African
self-awareness, cultural community and fighting spirit. At
the same time, the movement gained significant inspiration
from Mozambique's liberation, South Africa's military defeat
in the attack on Angola in 1975-76, and SWAPO's significant
progress in the occupied neighboring country of Namibia.