South Africa's apartheid

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's August 2001

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DISCUSS THE CHANGING FORMS OF RESISTANCE TO APARTHEID FROM 1950 to 1994. WHAT ROLE DID THEY PLAY IN THE COLLAPSE OF THE SYSTEM? The collapse of South Africa's apartheid system and the transition to democracy was the result of an amalgamation of various pressures, both internal and external. Changing global attitudes and international social, political and economic initiatives, combined with inspirational leadership and various organisations, placed severe pressure on the South African government and led to the ultimate demise of Apartheid. Each of these roles were interdependent and equally important.

Harrison argues that the non-violent Defiance Campaign and Freedom Charter of the early 1950's, led by the ANC, were a failure as they caused the Government to introduce extraordinary measures, such as the public safety act, which increased the powers of the state, thereby increasing the solidarity of the Bantu people. These acts of resistance disenfranchised and disillusioned the few people who felt sympathetic towards the African people.

Howsen on the other hand, opposes this view, arguing that the campaign and charter were an "˜incredible victory', achieving unity and cohesion and in the "˜era of television"¦ [was] an invaluable weapon in the campaign against Apartheid', as it attracted the international media's attention and threatened apartheid from abroad. These internal forms of resistance lead to an increase in external awareness, therefore playing a subtle role in the collapse of the system. According to Perry, "˜the spotlight was now on SA'.

While international pressure was placed on the Afrikaner government from as early as the 1950's, at this point in time, its role in the collapse of the system was insignificant. This was due in part to the "˜threat' of communism, which the Africans still posed in South Africa.

The catalyst for change in the form of resistance, both internal and external,