Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Summer 2018 Part 6

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The Heroic History of the Anti-Apartheid Movement

To understand the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa is to understand the total history of South Africa. The first inhabitants of South Africa were black people. Black people are the first humans of the Earth. The indigenous peoples of South Africa included the San and Khoikhoi people. They ware some of the most ancient human beings in history. Human beings have lived in South Africa for over 100,000 years. Rock paintings were found in Western Cape and other places. The San people respected the land and used hunting plus many were nomads thousands of years ago. About 2,000 years ago, some San peoples used livestock from further north. Some herded cattle and oxen. There were chiefs, they organized community structures, and they incorporated property ownership. The pastoralist San are known as the Khoikhoi who traveled south in the Cape of Good Hope. By the 1st millennium A.D., there was the Bantu expansion. The Bantu peoples reached Southern Africa from the Niger River Delta by 500 A.D. in modern day KwaZulu-Natal Province. The Bantus had domestic animals and used agriculture, and farmed wheat plus other crops. They organized villages and worked in iron. Many of them would be the Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, Ndebele, Tswana, Pedi, and Basotho peoples. Many of them intermarried with the Khoisan peoples as well. One Kingdom of South Africa called Mapungubwe existed between 900-1300 A.D. It traded with Arabia, India, and China. It had iron, copper, gold, etc. The first European to explore the coastline of South Africa was the Portuguese mariner Bartolomeu Dias in 1488. He wanted to have a trade route into the Far East by going around South Africa.

In November 1497, a fleet of Portuguese ships under the command of the Portuguese mariner Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope. By December 6, 1497, the fleet had passed the Great Fish River on the east coast of South Africa, where Dias had earlier turned back. Da Gama gave the name Natal to the coast he was passing, which in Portuguese means Christmas. Da Gama's fleet proceeded northwards to Zanzibar and later sailed eastwards, eventually reaching India and thereby opening the Cape Route between Europe and Asia. Dutch colonization existed starting in 1652. It started with the Dutch East India Company (or the  Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie aka VOC). The VOC wanted a permanent settlement at the Cape in South Africa. So, the used some of their major European trading houses to sail.

A small VOC expedition was organized and it was under command by Jan van Riebeeck. He and his crew reached Table Bay on April 6, 1652. He wanted an area where ships could give European settlers food and base camps. Since the Khoikhoi back then were not agricultural farmers, the VOC imported Dutch farmers to create farms. Later, passing ships would supply the growing VOC settlement. The VOC increasingly intruded on the Khoikhoi territory. The VOC also brought 71,000 slaves to Cape Town from India, Indonesia, East Africa, Mauritius, and Madagascar. The white European farmers in South Africa are known as burghers. They grew their farmers and many of them were ex-VOC soldiers and gardeners. The majority of these people had Dutch ancestry and belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church. Some were Germans being Lutherans.  In 1688, the Dutch and the Germans were joined by French Huguenots, who were Calvinist Protestants fleeing religious persecution in France under its Catholic ruler, King Louis XIV. Van Riebeeck didn’t want to enslave the local Khoi and San people. He allowed the VOC to enslave imported people from the Dutch colonies in Indonesia, etc. van Riebeeck and the VOC used the Khoikhoi and the San to be made as “indentured servants” which is code for slaves.

Biracial children of Dutch settlers and the Khoi-San and Malay slaves were known as Cape Coloureds and the Cape Malays respectively. Many white South Africans today have ancestors from the interracial unions at the Cape between European occupiers and the imported Asian and African slaves (plus the Khoi and San peoples). Simon van der Stel was the first Governor of the Dutch settlement. He was of mixed race origin. From 1815 to 1910, an explosion of conflicts existed among the British, the black Africans, and the Boers (who were the Dutch immigrants to South Africa). Imperialists from Europe lusted for power and resources in South Africa. By the end of the 1700’s, France invaded the Netherlands. The Dutch Batavian Republic allied with the revolutionary French. The British seized the Cape in 1795 to stop it from going into French hands. The Dutch ruled it again in 1803. Later, the British got it again in 1805 as a prize during the Napoleonic Wars. The British wanted the European Boer settlers to embrace British language and culture. The Boers refused and started the trek to move from British administrative reach. The Great Trek of 1836 was done because of their refusal to embrace British overt rule and some of them had an acceptance of slavery as the British banned slavery by the 1830’s. Many Boers wanted slavery as a means to financially exploit the lives of black people, which is evil and disgraceful.

The Boers didn’t want to be dominated by the British, so they sought their own form of self-government.  After an unsuccessful attempt to establish themselves in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, they settled on the highveld. There they founded two republics, the Orange Free State (1854) and the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR), better known as the Transvaal (1858). The ZAR lasted to 1902. The modern Boer rebellion against British rule came in 1815 via the Slachter’s Nek Rebellion. It was started by  Frederik Bezuidenhout, who was accused of beating a black man. This man was Khoi.  Bezuidenhout resisted arrest and fled to a cave near his home where he fought against the soldiers sent to capture him. When he refused to surrender he was shot dead by one of the soldiers. His brother wanted revenge and the rebellion occurred. Although many of the frontier Boers (or Dutch settlers) did not support or agree with the rebellion, some Voortrekkers have claimed that it was one of the reasons for the Great Trek. The rebellion was ended by the British. In February 1837 the leader of one of these groups, Piet Retief, wrote a manifesto which was published in two Cape Colony newspapers, setting out the justifications for the Great Trek. Natalia was a short-lived Boer republic established in 1839 by Boer voortrekkers emigrating from the Cape Colony.

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The manifesto lists four complaints against the British administration of South Africa, and the abolition of slavery was listed as the second of these. The independent Boer republic of Orange Free State evolved from colonial Britain's Orange River Sovereignty, enforced by the presence of British troops, which lasted from 1848 to 1854 in the territory between the Orange and Vaal rivers, named Transorange. The British colony of Cape Colony lasted from 1795 to 1910. The Griqua people of South Africa were biracial people and they formed their own lands too. Nicolaas Waterboer was one ruler of Griqualand. Wars and battles existed. In the southeastern part of South Africa, the Boers and the Xhosa clashed along the Great Fish River, and in 1779 the first of nine frontier wars erupted. For nearly 100 years subsequently, the Xhosa fought the settlers sporadically, first the Boers or Afrikaners and later the British. In the Fourth Frontier War, which lasted from 1811 to 1812, the British forced the Xhosa back across the Great Fish River and established forts along this boundary.
The increasing economic involvement of the British in southern Africa from the 1820's, and especially following the discovery of first diamonds at Kimberley and gold in the Transvaal, resulted in pressure for land and African labor. This ultimately led to increasingly tense relations with African states. The British fought the Zulus constantly.

The Zulu people expanded greatly by the 1700’s. They were part of the Nguni tribe. The Zulu kingdom grew. One famous king of the Zulu area was of course Shaka kaSenzangakhona, son of the chief of the Zulu clan. He is famously known as Shaka Zulu. Shaka built large armies, breaking from clan tradition by placing the armies under the control of his own officers rather than of hereditary chiefs. He then set out on a massive program of expansion, killing or enslaving those who resisted in the territories he conquered. His impis (warrior regiments) were rigorously disciplined: failure in battle meant death. In 1828, Shaka was killed by his half-brothers Dingaan and Umhlangana. The weaker and less-skilled Dingaan became king, relaxing military discipline while continuing the despotism. Dingaan also attempted to establish relations with the British traders on the Natal coast, but events had started to unfold that would see the demise of Zulu independence. Estimates for the death toll resulting from the Mfecane range from 1 million to 2 million.

The British grant limited self-government to the Transvaal. The Boers called that area a Republic in the late 1850’s. Indian laborers travel heavily into South Africa from 1860 to 1911. They are the ancestors of most of South Africa’s current Indian population. When diamonds are discovered at Kimberley by 1867, British forces were in a frenzy. One imperialist Cecil Rhodes lusted after diamonds and was an overt white supremacist. Rhodes was one of the most wicked and racist men in history. The First Anglo-Boer War started in 1880 and ended in 1881. It was about the British wanting to annex all Southern African territories under British rule. Boers opposed this plan. The Boers were victorious by 1881 after the Battle of Majuba Hill on February 27, 1881. The ZAR remained. The war was fight for resources especially gold. The Second Anglo-Boer War started because a debate on resources and gold. It lasted from 1899 to 1902. Paul Kruger of the Boers wanted the British to leave the borders of the South African Republic. The British refused, so Kruger declared war. This war was when the British used colonial troops from many lands. Many British used concentration camps against the Boers in South Africa. The British suffragette Emily Hobhouse visited British concentration camps in South Africa and produced a report condemning the appalling conditions there. By 1902, 26,000 Boer women and children had died of disease and neglect in the camps. The Anglo-Boer War affected all race groups in South Africa. Black people were conscripted or otherwise coerced by both sides into working for them either as combatants or non-combatants to sustain the respective war efforts of both the Boers and the British. The official statistics of blacks killed in action are inaccurate. Most of the bodies were dumped in unmarked graves. It has, however, been verified that 17,182 black people died mainly of diseases in the Cape concentration camps alone, but this figure is not accepted historically as a true reflection of the overall numbers. Concentration camp superintendents did not always record the deaths of black inmates in the camps. The British won where the Treaty of Vereening made the Boer Republics to embrace British sovereignty and the British would reconstruct areas under their control. Boer Republics merged into the Union of South Africa from 1910 to 1948. The right wing National Party ruled heavily in that land.

In 1912, the Foundation of South African Native National Congress (SANNC) was created. It would later be called the ANC or the African National Congress. Back then, the ANC wanted to use peaceful constitutional protest to cause Africans of black descent to have full equality. Their views reflected influence from liberal democratic and other progressive plus Christian philosophies. The Native’s Land Act of 1913 reserved 93 percent of the land in South Africa to white people and it prevented black people (making up 2/3s of the population during that time) from buying land freely. They made small reserves for black people that were the forerunner of homelands of Bantustans. The act was totally evil and unjust. In 1913, the ANC protested the Native’s Act. They were unsuccessful to ask Britain to do something about the law. One person who opposed the passage of the Native’s Act was Sol Plaatje (1876-1932). He was the co-founder of the South African Native National Congress or the ANC. He was its first general secretary in 1912.

In 1918, the Foundation of the Bantu Women’s League (or BWL) was created. They wanted to stop pass laws for women. They also wanted black women to have total equality in South Africa. They were involved in civil disobedience campaigns. In 1943, the ANC accepted women into its membership and in 1948; the ANC Women’s League was created. A black woman named Charlotte Maxeke was a politician and the founder of the Bantu Women’s League. Clements Kadalie (from Malawi) created the ICU or the Foundation of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union. He created it in 1919 in order to unionize dock workers, rail workers, and other municipal workers in Cape Town. The ICU was a leading resistance organization by the 1920’s. It had popular support in both urban and rural locations. It wanted land, justice, living wages, and it opposed pass laws (which was about black people having a pass to travel in any area of South Africa). In 1923, the Native’s Urban Areas Act was passed. This promoted residential segregation in urban areas and restricted black African travels into towns. It curtailed black economic freedom and banned union from forming. It harmed tons of black workers. The South African Indian Congress was created in 1924 in promoting Indian rights in Natal plus all over South Africa. During apartheid, the SAIC cooperated with the African National Congress. Gandhi was pictured with SAIC leaders. Yes, I know of Gandhi's hypocrisies and racism too (as research has found out). The Hertzog Bills removed from the voting rolls the few Africans who were still enfranchised in the Cape. This move signaled the evisceration of black political rights. These bills were named after the racist South African Prime Minister James Barry Munnik Hertzog.

During that time, black and white South Africans were involved in World War I and World War II. Many racist Afrikaners were supportive of the Nazis. Apartheid policies grew. 1948 was the important year of apartheid. This was when the policy of apartheid was explicitly adopted by the National Party. By 1950, population is classified by race. The Group Areas Act was passed to segregate black people and whites. The Communist Party was banned. The Group Areas Act imposed strict residential racial segregation. The government forcibly removed black people to African, Coloured, or Indian "townships" (also known as "locations") on the outskirts of cities and towns. In the process of enforcing this plan, government bulldozers destroyed vibrant, racially mixed neighborhoods, such as Sophiatown in Johannesburg and District Six in Cape Town. The informal settlements of Cato Manor housed a population of 150,000 during the 1950's until the promulgation of the Group Areas Act in 1955, when the entire population was resettled to formal townships.

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These heroes are Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, and Lilian Masediba Ngoyi. 

The ANC responded with the campaign of civil disobedience. It was led by Nelson Mandela. The 1950 Population Registration Act  classified all South Africans as members of the White, African, Coloured (this is what we call biracial or multiethnic in our time), or Indian racial groups. The government created Racial Classification Boards to officially determine a person’s "race." On May 12, 1950, the ANC adopted the Program of Action. This program outlined the ANC aim of self-determination and “national freedom from White domination and the attainment of political independence [which] implies the rejection of the conception of segregation, apartheid, trusteeship, or white leadership.” The new program embraced African nationalism—a movement of solidarity among African nations that fought for rights for black people, and thus against white supremacy.
 A movement known as the Torch Commando was formed in the 1950’s, led by white war veterans who had fought fascism in Europe and North Africa during World War II, only to find fascism on the rise in South Africa when they returned home. These human beings fought apartheid in South Africa. The Torch Commando was born out of the work of the Springbok Legion, a South African organization of World War II veterans, founded in 1941 during the Second World War, and the War Veterans Action Committee established with the involvement of Springbok Legionnaires to appeal to a broader base of ex-servicemen.

The Springbok Legion was open to all servicemen regardless of race or gender and was avowedly anti-fascist and anti-racist. Amongst its leading members were servicemen such as Joe Slovo, Lionel Bernstein, Wolfie Kodesh, Jack Hodgson and Fred Carneson who all later joined the African National Congress and its military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe under the command of Nelson Mandela. Others such as Harry Schwarz, a later well-known anti-apartheid political leader, lawyer and ambassador to the United States during the government of national unity was one of the organization’s founders. Another member was General Kennie van der Spuy, one of the founding members of the South African Air Force who fought in both World War I and World War II and was captured and imprisoned in the Kremlin by the Russians after fighting alongside the White Russian forces against the communists and held until 1920. The Torch Commando existed for more than five years, and at its height claimed to have had 250,000 members. The government was alarmed by the number of judges, public servants and military officers joining the organization, and a new law was passed to ban anyone in public service or the military from joining.

On June 26, 1952, the African National Congress along with the South African Indian Congress started the Defiance Campaign. This was when volunteers started a peaceful resistance to apartheid by breaking the laws that are unjust. These peaceful protests include black people sitting on benches marked for white people only and being out in the city after the curfew was set for black people. It spread from Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth to all over South Africa. Over 8,500 people of diverse ethnic backgrounds were imprisoned.

In 1952, Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo (who was a South African anti-apartheid politician and revolutionary who served as President of the African National Congress [ANC] from 1967 to 1991) opened the first black legal firm in South Africa.

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The 1953 Reservation of Separate Amenities Act imposed segregation on all public facilities, including post offices, beaches, stadiums, parks, toilets, and cemeteries plus buses and trains as well. The Bantu Education Act was passed in 1953. This was a law passed to create a separate education system for black people and white people in South Africa. This law made the apartheid system to control the education of black children. It made Africans to pay taxes for this policy. It wanted to end the education of progressive, pro-racial justice ideals. Black people were forced in this system by white racists who wanted them to have low wage jobs and not true economic justice. Labor unions, despite tremendous pressure from restrictive laws, formed a new non-racial federation: The South African Congress of Trade Unions on March 5, 1955. The most important trade unions in SACTU were the Food and Canning Worker’s Union, The Textile Worker’s Industrial Union and the National Union of Laundry, Cleaning and Dyeing Workers.

1955 was also the year of the Freedom Charter being created by progressive anti-apartheid activists. It asserts that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. The Charter was representative of the ANC policies for over 4 decades. It grew out a widespread campaign to collect the people’s proposals for alternatives to apartheid. It was the statement of core principles of the South African Congress Alliance, which consisted of the African National Congress (ANC) and its allies - the South African Indian Congress, the South African Congress of Democrats and the Coloured People's Congress. It is characterized by its opening demand; "The People Shall Govern!"  In 1955, the ANC sent out 50,000 volunteers into townships and the countryside to collect "freedom demands" from the people of South Africa. This system was designed to give all South Africans equal rights. Demands such as "Land to be given to all landless people", "Living wages and shorter hours of work", "Free and compulsory education, irrespective of colour, race or nationality" were synthesized into the final document by ANC leaders including Z.K. Mathews, Lionel "Rusty" Bernstein, Ethel Drus, Ruth First and Alan Lipman (whose wife, Beata Lipman, hand-wrote the original Charter). The Charter was officially adopted on June 26 1955 at a Congress of the People in Kliptown. The meeting was attended by roughly 3,000 delegates but was broken up by police on the second day, although by then the charter had been read in full. The crowd had shouted its approval of each section with cries of "Afrika!" and "Mayibuye!" Nelson Mandela escaped the police by disguising himself as a milkman, as his movements and interactions were restricted by banning orders at the time.

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The document is notable for its demand for and commitment to a non-racial South Africa and this has remained the platform of the ANC. As a result, ANC members who held pro-African views left the ANC after it adopted the charter, forming the Pan Africanist Congress. The charter also calls for democracy and human rights, land reform, labor rights, and nationalization. After the congress was denounced as treason, the South African government banned the ANC and arrested 156 activists, including Mandela who was imprisoned in 1962. However, the charter continued to circulate in the revolutionary underground and inspired a new generation of young militants in the 1980's. The Congress adopted the Charter, which stated that “only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birthright without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief.” A strong constitutional element was discernable: “All Shall be Equal Before the Law!” and “All Shall Enjoy Equal Human Rights!” Inclusiveness was evident in the demand that “All National Groups Shall Have Equal Rights!”

By 1955, South African government officials left UNESCO since UNESCO promoted policies against racial discrimination. The ANC Women’s League and the non-racial Federation of South African Women organized a massive march on August 9, 1956, now commemorated as South African Women’s Day. Twenty thousand women participated in this demonstration to protest the extension of pass laws to women. The march ended in a silent show of strength at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Nelson Mandela was arrested along with other people for fighting against apartheid on December of 1956. He is charged with treason. After a four year trial, he is found not guilty. Hendrik F. Verwoerd, educated in the Netherlands, the United States, and Germany, was the main ideologue of apartheid and he was the Prime Minister of South Africa by 1958. The South African apartheid state by 1959 formed separate homelands for black people. They are called Bantustans or for the major black human beings in South Africa. They or the government did this to prevent black people from being full citizens of South Africa. Between 1960 and 1985, approximately 3.5 million Africans were forcibly removed to alleged "homelands." The 1959 Extension of University Education Act prevented black students from attending "white" universities (except with government permission) and created separate and unequal institutions for Africans, Coloureds, and Indians respectively.

In 1959, the Pan Africanist Congress or the PAC was formed in 1959. It was a split from the African National Congress. The PAC promoted African Nationalism and more mass action. It formed a militant wing, called Poqo, after the Sharpeville massacre and worked both in exile and underground within South Africa. It was led by Robert Sobukwe. He was a heroic black man in his own right. In 1960, white supremacists cops killed at least 70 black demonstrators at Sharpeville. This was the Shapeville Massacre. Many protesters were shot in the back. These human beings protested the pass laws peacefully. After this atrocity, the apartheid government declared a state of emergency and banned the ANC and the PAC. Albert Luthuli was the most widely known and respected African leader of his era. He was a black man who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1961 for his actions against apartheid. He was nearly 50 when he first assumed national political office. Over the course of his political career his attitudes grew more progressive.

During the year of 1961, South Africa was declared a republic. It left the Commonwealth. Mandela heads the ANC new military wing, which launches a sabotage campaign against the tyrannical apartheid regime. The Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) was the armed wing of the African National Congress, established in 1961 to force the apartheid regime to the bargaining table through acts of sabotage and, if necessary, military campaigns. During the 1960’s, international pressure against the government of South Africa started. South Africa is excluded from the Olympic Games. Also, the great musician Miriam Makeba spoke out against apartheid in Africa, Europe, and in America throughout the 1960's and beyond. On August, 1962, Nelson Mandela was arrested for treason. By this time, he was a member of the Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”) or part of the African National Congress. He was arrested for his role in bombing government targets. His trial is called the Rivonia trial. By 1964, ANC leader Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life imprisonment. He isn’t the only one sentenced to life. The others included anti-apartheid, heroic activists Govan Mbeki (father of South African President Thabo Mbeki), Walter Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Moretsele, Ahmed Kathrada, and Dennis Goldberg.

From 1964 to 1994, South Africa would be changed forever. South Africa went from a tyrannical apartheid state to a democratic country. In 1965, Rhodesia was created from British rule. The British wanted Rhodesia to have black people to have a fair share of power. The people of Rhodesia refused and black people would use revolutionary means to cause Zimbabwe to exist. The 1972 Internal Security Act was when South Africa gave police powers to detain without trial for a renewable period of ninety days. With these stricter laws, the apartheid regime succeeded in repressing most dissent. There was the 1973 wildcat strike in Durban. These strikes spread into factories on the Rand and the Eastern Cape. Many couldn’t stop the strikes or replace trained workers in high demands. So, the companies accepted the strikers’ demands in order to restart production. As a result of the successful strikes of 1973, independent labor unions emerged, which further politicized industrial workplaces and forced the government to extend some labor rights to Africans. There was the June 16, 1978 student march in Soweto. These young people acted independently of the ANC and other formal organizations. Thousands of primary and secondary school students in Soweto marched peacefully. They opposed the Afrikaner language was a medium of instruction in the classroom. They wanted black African history to be taught in the classroom too. Soweto is a large township in Johannesburg. Police fired into the crowd to stop the demonstration, killing and wounding many students. Thirteen-year-old Hector Pieterson was one of the first youths to be killed. This spread outrage worldwide and grew the anti-apartheid movement internationally. Steve Biko was a leader of the anti-apartheid movement of the 1970’s. He spoke of black consciousness which is about black people understanding their identity so liberation would come. He was a black intellectual who appealed to South Africans of every social stratum and of every income level. He was a martyr as he was murdered by the police in their custody on September 12, 1977.

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Prime Minister P.W. Botha assumed power in 1978. He is famous for showing token “reform” in appeasing internationally criticism and defuses resistance to oppression in South Africa. In 1979, the Wiehahn Commission  recommends to legalize African trade unions. Activists organized factory and mineworkers. They also broadened their base of support by connecting with township residents and migrant workers who lived in tightly policed dormitories called "hostels." The Federation of South African Trade Unions, formed in 1979, focused on organizing black workers outside of party politics; another federation, the Council of Unions of South Africa, formed in 1980, supported Black Consciousness principles. The Dumbutshena Report was commissioned by the government to investigate events surrounding the Entumbane uprising back in 1981. In 1983, Botha created the token tri-cameral Parliament in South Africa (in a change to the Constitution). He experienced massive, international criticism. The new parliament featured separate, but token, legislatures for Coloureds and Indians, in addition to the all-powerful and all-white House of Assembly. Black Africans, representing nearly three-quarters of the population, remained totally excluded.

In 1983, the United Democratic Front (UDF) was created to oppose the Tricameral Constitution. It came to include more than five hundred political, labor, youth, sport, religious, and community organizations from across the country. The UDF adopted the Freedom Charter, and linked itself increasingly openly with the still-banned African National Congress. In 1985, COSATU soon became the country’s largest labor federation, with 500,000 members in thirty-three unions, most notably the National Union of Mineworkers. COSATU adopted the ANC’s Freedom Charter principles and linked up with the UDF. When UDF leaders were arrested, COSATU leaders often took their place. The combined power of the UDF and COSATU was a major factor in forcing the apartheid regime to negotiate.

On April 10, 1985, Desmond Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He is a cleric, anti-apartheid activist, and former Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (or the TRC).
There were musicians who formed the Artists United Against Apartheid in 1985. They included many people like Steven Van Zandt. They celebrated anti-apartheid music like “Silver and Gold” from U2.  The United States, Europe, and the British Commonwealth imposed comprehensive sanctions, although oil and arms continued to reach the apartheid state secretly by 1986. Cultural and sporting boycotts increased in South Africa. The Pass Law was dismantled by 1986. The Pass Law was about advancing identification papers for African men and women with racial classification and other personal information, including employment status and history. The government used passes to restrict movement of black people. Passes criminalized millions of ordinary South Africans. In 1988, amnesty is announced for all dissidents. F. W. de Klerk was the new president of South Africa in 1989. By this time, apartheid rapidly declined. Soon, a multi-racial democracy would come. He was the man who negotiated the transition into a more democratic South Africa. Black people soon had equal voting and other rights. The 3rd National Congress of the Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (COSATU) was held in Johannesburg in July of 1989. Their slogan was "Educate, Consolidate, Advance to Victory." The state of emergency is not renewed.

One of the greatest events of South Africa was when Nelson Mandela was released on February 2, 1990 after 27 years. He was accompanied by his then-wife Winnie Mandela. He left the Victor Verster prison (later renamed Drakenstein Correctional Centre) on the outskirts of Paarl and was driven the 60 km. to Cape Town by African National Congress's (ANC) Rose Sonto along a route lined by thousands of supporters. The ban against the African National Congress was lifted by February 12, 1990. There was the May 5, 1990 Groote Schuur Minute. This was when the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African government agreed to political negotiations and an end to armed struggle. A working group was formed to discuss important issues such as the release of political prisoners and immunity, while the government undertook a review of security legislation to ensure free political activity. The ANC suspended armed struggle, and the National Party agreed to negotiate a resolution to the impasse. Despite ongoing violence, the parties involved made progress towards a negotiated settlement. On July 5, 1991, Nelson Mandela was elected ANC President. They held a conference at Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. He succeeded Oliver Tamo, who was elected national chairperson. By June 17, 1992, armed members of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) living at Kwa Madala hostel attacked the residents of Boipatong, an informal settlement south of Johannesburg, killing about 45 people. This was the Boipatong Massacre. The Convention for a Democratic South Africa or CODESA promoted a new constitution ending apartheid. All parties were represented, but the ANC and National Party dominated talks. Discussions were protracted, with disagreements and occasional breakdowns of talks.

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The National Party at first insisted on special minority rights for whites, favoring power sharing based on group rights. The revolutionary Tembisile Chris Hani was killed on the morning of Saturday April 10, 1993. With him was his daughter, Nomakhwezi, then 15 years old. His wife, Limpho, and two other daughters, Neo (then 20 years old) and Lindiwe (then 12 years old) were away at the time. The assassin was Janusz 'Koba' Walus who, together with former Conservative Party MP Clive Derby-Lewis, was jailed for the killing. More than 150,000 people attended Hani's funeral on April 19, 1993, before the first democratic elections for which he had fought so hard. He was buried in the Els Park Cemetery, Boksburg. The elections in South Africa finally happened on April 27-28, 1994. Millions of South Africans voted. Millions of black people voted for the first time ever. The ANC won a huge victory winning all provinces except Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, but just failing to reach the two-thirds majority to enable it to rewrite the constitution by itself. Nelson Mandela was elected the new President of South Africa. He was the first black man to be the President of South Africa. He was inaugurated on May 10, 1994. He supported his friends and ally. From 1994 to the present, there is the existence of the current era of South Africa.

On May 10, 1994, massive change came into South Africa. Nelson Mandela was the new South African President. He was the first black man being the President of South Africa too. Would massive revolutionary come or just reform? Time has shown us the answer to that important question. On 1996, there was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It was chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It held hearings on human rights crimes committed by former government and liberation movements during the apartheid era. It was controversial since many pro-apartheid criminals weren’t given lengthy jail sentences if they admitted publicly their crimes (only amnesty). Many black and white South Africans disagreed with the testimonies and the essence of the commission itself. Also, you must have justice first then reconciliation not vice versa. It did allow many people to see the viciousness of the apartheid regime. It allowed many victims of apartheid to share their stories to the world. On 1996, Parliament adopted a new constitution. National Party withdrew its coalition saying it is being ignored. By 1998, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report called apartheid as a crime against humanity (which it is) and found human rights abuses done by many groups. It criticized both sides for human rights abuses. Nelson Mandela had to hold together a fragile, multiracial democracy. Mandela promoted many progressive policies as President. Also, he promoted many neoliberal policies in favor of the World Bank, the IMF, corporate elites, and the growing black middle class crowd. Neoliberal policies can never adequately address unemployment, inadequate housing, health care, and education since you need grassroots, comprehensive, and revolutionary solutions beyond reform (in order to radically change society).

The global capitalist world order is not for the poor, especially for the black poor as history has taught us. By 1999, the ANC won the general elections. Thabo Mbeki took over as President of South Africa. On December of 2000, the ANC prevailed in local elections. The recently formed Democratic Alliance got nearly a quarter of the votes. The Inkatha Freedom Party won 9%. On April of 2001, 39 multinational pharmaceutical companies ended a legal battle to stop South Africa from importing generic AIDS drugs. To this very day, many multinational corporations follow the neoliberal economic, disgraceful playbook. The decision to allow generic AIDS drugs to be imported into South Africa has been hailed as a victory for the poor people of the world in importing cheaper drugs to combat HIV/AIDS. May 2001 was when an official panel investigated allegations of corruption involving a 1999 arms deal that involved British, French, German, Italian, Swedish, and South African firms. South African government leaders were cleared of unlawful conduct on November of 2001. The famous Durban race conference was held on September of 2001. It condemned racism, it called for reparations, it condemned Zionism, and it inspired the world to fight for racial justice. The High court on December of 2001 ruled that pregnant women must be given AIDS drugs to help prevent the transmission of the virus to their babies.  The court dealt with Dr. Wouter Basson or Dr. Death. He ran the apartheid-era germ warfare program. He is acquitted unjustly and the ANC rightfully condemned the verdict.

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These human beings are Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, and Adelaide Tambo. 

On 2002, the constitutional court ordered the government to provide key anti-AIDS drugs to all public hospitals. The government argued that the drugs are too costly, but saving lives is more important than money. Right wing extremists bombed places in Soweto and near Pretoria on October 2002. The police charge 17 right wingers with plotting against the state. Walter Wisulu passed away on May of 2003. He was a key leader of the anti-apartheid struggle and he was 91 when he passed away. Thousands of people gathered to pay their last respects. The government of South Africa approved a major program to treat and fight HIV/AIDS on November of 2003. The program dealt with funding a network of drug distribution centers and preventative measure. Cabinet had refused previously to provide anti-AIDS medicine via public health system. The ANC won a landslide election victory of getting nearly 70% of the votes on April of 2004. Thabo Mbeki started his second term of President of South Africa. The Inkhatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi was dropped from the cabinet. The investigators exhumed the first bodies in a Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigation into the fates of hundreds of people who disappeared in the apartheid era on March of 2005. The geographical names committee recommended that the culture minister should approve a name change for the capital from Pretoria to Tshwane on May of 2005. President Mbeki fired his deputy Jacob Zuma on June 2005 after a corruption case. 100,000 gold miners strike over pay which brought the industry to a standstill on August 2005. By this time, economic inequality in South Africa grew and many workers are fighting back heroically for economic justice. By May of 2006, former deputy president Jacob Zuma was acquitted of rape charges by the High Court in Johannesburg. He was reinstated as deputy leader of the governing African National Congress. Bay this time, many ANC leaders have compromised to embrace neoliberal extremism. The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited and promised to limit clothing exports to help South Africa’s ailing textile industry on June 2006. Zuma continued to run for President as corruption charges against him are dismissed by September of 2006. President Mbeki urged South Africans to bring rapists, drug dealers, and corrupt officials to justice on April 2007. On May of 2007, Cape Town mayor Helen Zille was elected as a new leader of the main opposition party of Democratic Alliance (DA).

Massive strikes continued in South Africa. On June of 2007, thousands of public sector workers are involved in the largest strike since the end of apartheid. It went on for 4 weeks. Schools, hospitals, and public transport are disrupted. Zuma was elected chairman of the ANC by December of 2007. Prosecutors brought new corruption charges against him. Xenophobic violence happens in South Africa by May of 2008. Many victims are from Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique. Some immigrants return to their home countries. Zuma’s charges are dismissed and he decided to run for president in 2009. By December of 2008, a new political party is created in Bloemfontein. It is called the Congress of the People or COPE. It is made up of directors of the ANC and is headed by former defense minister Mosiuoa Lekota. On January of 2009, an appeals court ruled that corruption case against ANC leader Jacob Zuma can continue. Prosecutors rop their corruption case against Jacob Zuma on April of 2009.  The ANC won the general election in 2009 and Jacob Zuma was elected President by Parliament. The South Africa economy experienced its first Recession in 17 years on 2009. Poor people in townships protest by July of 2009. South Africa hosted its first World Cup football tournament on June 2010. Civil servants created a nationwide strike on August of 2010. In local elections, with opposition Democratic Alliance nearly double its share of the vote in the last poll on May of 2011. President Zuma mediates the Libyan conflict. On March 17, 2011, South Africa, as a member of the UN Security Council, supported a resolution put forward by the US, Britain and France allowing NATO to bomb Libya, eventually invade it and brutally assassinate its leader Muammar Gaddafi. The South African representative passionately argued in favor of the Western proposal. This caused South Africa to ally with Western imperialist policies. Gaddafi is not perfect, but he doesn’t deserve to be assassinated. President Zuma fired 2 ministers accused of corruption on October of 2011. The opposition Democratic Alliance picked Lindiwe Mazibuko (who is a black woman) as leader in Parliament.

The ANC continued to have troubles. The ANC suspended its controversial and influential youth leader Julius Malema of 5 years on allegations that he brought the party into disrepute. The National Assembly overwhelmingly approved the information bill. It is against the freedom of speech. The ANC supports it in saying it is needed to promote national security, which is ludicrous. By July of 2012, a member of a white supremacist group was found guilty of plotting to assassinate Nelson Mandela and trying to overthrow the government. One of the most disgraceful events in South African history was the Marikana massacre. This happened on August of 2012. It is about how the crooked police fired on workers at a platinum mine in Marikana. At least 34 people were murdered, 78 were injured, and more than 200 people were arrested. Neither the ANC, the South African Communist Party nor COSATU had condemned the killings immediately. These workers were protesting for their economic rights. Prosecutors dropped murder charges against 270 miners (when they didn’t murder anyone, but the cops did) on September of 2012. A public outcry caused the government to set up a judicial commission inquiry in October of 2012.  Julius Malema wanted Zuma to resign because of his response to the Marikana Massacre. Marlena is later accused of money laundering. Malema said that the charges are politically motivated especially after the Marikana shootings. On October of 2012, Platinum wine owner Amplate fired 12,000 striking miners as waves of wildcat strikes existed.

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On December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 95. From 1918-1943, he was born from an aristocratic Xhosa family in South Africa and was educated heavily. From 1943 to 1960, he grew his revolutionary consciousness in fighting against apartheid. From 1960 to 1990, he became even more revolutionary by fighting oppression by any means necessary and being imprisoned for his heroic beliefs. From 1990 to his passing, he reflected on his life and shown compromises and revolutionary views. Tributes exist worldwide. Like with many iconic individuals, many people tried to sugarcoat his legacy, but Mandela worked in revolutionary movements. Plus, some of his greatest allies were socialists, communists, women rights activists, civil rights leaders, and other progressive heroes. Nelson Mandela was a political revolutionary who was once considered an enemy of the state by the U.S. government (during a time) plus the South African apartheid government. The irony of his passing is that many of the same Western capitalist elites who hated Mandela before his imprisonment are now praising him greatly. Many anti-corruption people criticized President Zuma for a twenty million dollar upgrade to his private home. On May of 2014, the ruling ANC party owned a majority in general elections. The Paralympics athlete Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in jail for killing his girlfriend on October of 2014. President Zuma, by February of 2015, announced his plan to limit farm seizes and ban foreign farmland ownership in trying to redistribute land to black farmers (being part of a longstanding ANC pledge). Power utility Eskom rations electricity to prevent power cuts. This is blamed of years of poor maintenance.  More anti-immigrant attacks leave several people dead from March to April of 2015. On June 2015, there were allegations of bribery to the international soccer body of FIFA to secure the 2010 World Cup. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited South Africa despite the International Criminal Court having an arrest warrant against him over genocide and war crime charges. The Supreme Court on March of 2016 ruled that President Zuma violated the constitution for not repaying public money used to improve his private residence. April 2017 was the time when President Zuma dismissed widely respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, leading to the country’s credit rating being cut to junk status. President Zumba survived his eight motion of no-confidence. This was on August of 2017. On February 2018, Mr. Zuma resigned as President. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa (who is a wealthy elite person) is the current President of South Africa since February 15, 2018. South Africa made many contributions in history along with having the problem of economic inequality and corporate elites (from the Oppenheimers to other oligarchs) dominating much of the wealth of the land too.

We know about the past and current revolutionaries of South Africa. Therefore, there are tons of South Africans today who are continuously fighting racism, xenophobia, militarism, free market fundamentalism, and other evils. We are in solidarity with them 100 percent.

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika

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Conclusion (for the Summer of 2018)

Some people want to put Malcolm X and Dr. King at opposite ends of the spectrum, but they had a lot of things in common. By 1965 for Malcolm X and by 1968 for Dr. King, each men had many things in common ideologically. Both wanted an end to the war in Vietnam. Both believed in freedom and justice for black people in the African Diaspora and humanity in general. Both questioned the corporate media's propaganda. Both supported the Selma voting rights movement. Each shake each other's hands in 1964 in Congress in monitoring the Civil Rights bill. Each promoted the beauty of Blackness. Both believed in economic empowerment in the black community. Both explicitly questioned capitalism in their literature, speeches, and words. I can quote both of them criticizing capitalism too. Therefore, we shouldn't be caught up in the hype and acknowledge the heroism and leadership found among both black men. Leadership is found in black women too. Leadership isn't about egoism. It is about having the power within yourself and the will to enact great change out of altruistic motivation. We live on this Earth for a temporary amount of years, which is why I do believe in pan-African unity. Defending the human rights of black men and black women is always righteousness. Therefore, we believe in the Dream and we believe in the goal of black liberation. Recently, Comey has released his book.

James Comey was once a FBI Director who was fired by Donald Trump on May 9, 2017. Unsurprisingly, his book has criticized Trump on his leadership skills and other matters. The book is like a tell all and it is very personal. Trump has personally shown disdain and hatred about Comey and Comey has shown disgust about Trump in his book as well. Many Republicans don't like him or James Comey because of his criticisms of Trump. Many Democrats don't like because of his investigation of the Hillary Clinton campaign. "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership" is the title of the book. His book describes in detail Trump's insecurities, his anger, his lies, and his narcissistic attitude. It is no secret that Trump readily executes illogical policies that harms the rights of so many Americans. He even endorses waterboarding and makes no bones about slandering (via profane language) peaceful NFL protesters knelling. For years, many people have tried to tell the public that Trump is a reprehensible person. Yet, some people still support Trump out of ideological extremism instead of utilizing legitimate logical analysis. James Comey has spoken his mind and confirmed what many of us has been describing about the Trump administration for a while now. Today, we are in a new era. Trump, so far, has refused to be interviewed by Mueller's team. We have events in Syria going on and we have many important domestic issues that we must solve. So, we live under the most bizarre U.S. administration in American history. This is an accurate description of the Trump regime.

Also, I don’t believe in Governor Jerry Brown wanting to send 400 National Guard troops to the Mexican border. This only emboldens Trump and his xenophobic allies. It places the lives of migrants in risk too. Trump has attacked undocumented immigrants in bigoted, racist terms when they seek a better life. Also, many of them are of black African descent. So, anyone claiming that we (who are black Americans) have no vested interests in defending the rights of immigrants is a liar. Black immigrants are real. Brown said that he wants to use National Guard to support operations and he claims that they won’t round up women, women, or detain people. That’s hard to believe since Trump said that he wants National Guard troops to send the Customs and Border Protection logistics and surveillance plus support. He or Trump has slandered refugees seeking asylum in America as desiring to ruin American society. Trump has praised Jerry Brown too. Trump and Brown omit that immigrants face unprecedented threats. Many immigrants are raped and abused in detention centers. Many migrants suffer harassment and hate crimes. Also, many immigrants have been deported even if they have committed no felonious crime. We know how some want outright war with Russia and Syria. Russia and Syria are not democratic nations and their leaders are authoritarian autocrats who shouldn’t be glamorized. Putin and Assad aren't heroes. Both of them are brutal, anti-civil liberty people. Yet, even Russia and Syria shouldn’t be militarily invaded.

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We know that many Republicans are anti-immigrant, but some Democrats are as well. Some of them abandoned DACA for the sake of promoting “border security.” The previous President deported 2.7 million immigrants, which is the most in American history. Even Diane Feinstein in 2006 voted to support building a border wall with Mexico. Many immigrants die in crossing borders too. We know that the refugees fleeing Central America is a result of the U.S. support for military dictatorships and death squads spanning more than one century. The U.S. supported coup of democratically elected President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya is totally unjustified. We reject the scapegoating of immigrants. We know that the oligarchy uses divide and conquer tactics against both U.S. workers and immigrants as means to eliminate solidarity among us. Also, the global oligarchy (not immigrants) is responsible to the social crisis that resulted in the massive inequality economically that we see. We witness the richest three billionaires own as much as the poorest 160 million people in America (which is about half of the American population). Mass shootings, police brutality, unwarranted surveillance, lax wages, increased costs to health care, massive war, austerity, deteriorating infrastructure, etc. are not caused by immigrants. They are caused by capitalist neoliberals who care more for power and profit than human liberation. That is why every immigrant, regardless of status, deserves total equal human rights. Miracles occur all of them. That is why it is important to appreciate them. At the end of the day, I still maintain my core convictions as I will forever believe in Black Love (as black men and black women working together and loving each other is very beautiful) and Black Liberation.

By Timothy

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