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Title: The African National Congress An Analysis of Political Frames
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Levinson, Lindsay
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2009
Publication Date: 2009


Subjects / Keywords: African National Congress
Social Movements
South Africa
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: The African National Congress (ANC) was the most influential organization in South Africa's anti-Apartheid movement. Throughout its struggle, the ANC used a variety of political frames to shape events and campaigns in order to mobilize support at home and from abroad. This thesis analyzes the political frames used by the ANC over the latter half of the twentieth century in an effort to understand why specific frames were activated at a given point while others were not and the role political framing had in the success of the anti-Apartheid movement. Particular attention is given to primary sources in an effort to understand changes in the organization's language and tone. The study finds that frames evolved in response to changes in social and political climate and in international context. Multiple, even conflicting, frames were often used simultaneously in order to attract more than one audience. Differences in the use of frames once the ANC took office as a legitimate political party are also discussed.
Statement of Responsibility: by Lindsay Levinson
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2009
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Hicks, Barbara

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Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2009 L6
System ID: NCFE004135:00001

Permanent Link:

Material Information

Title: The African National Congress An Analysis of Political Frames
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Levinson, Lindsay
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2009
Publication Date: 2009


Subjects / Keywords: African National Congress
Social Movements
South Africa
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: The African National Congress (ANC) was the most influential organization in South Africa's anti-Apartheid movement. Throughout its struggle, the ANC used a variety of political frames to shape events and campaigns in order to mobilize support at home and from abroad. This thesis analyzes the political frames used by the ANC over the latter half of the twentieth century in an effort to understand why specific frames were activated at a given point while others were not and the role political framing had in the success of the anti-Apartheid movement. Particular attention is given to primary sources in an effort to understand changes in the organization's language and tone. The study finds that frames evolved in response to changes in social and political climate and in international context. Multiple, even conflicting, frames were often used simultaneously in order to attract more than one audience. Differences in the use of frames once the ANC took office as a legitimate political party are also discussed.
Statement of Responsibility: by Lindsay Levinson
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2009
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Hicks, Barbara

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2009 L6
System ID: NCFE004135:00001

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THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS: AN ANALYSIS OF POLITICAL FRAMES BY LINDSAY LEVINSON A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulllment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Barbara Hicks Sarasota, Florida March, 2009


For Jay Wertheimer and Carol Levinson I miss you both everyday a lot. ii


Acknowlegments Writing this thesis was one of the most challenging tasks I have ever undertaken and I could not have completed it without the support of several important people. The first people that deserve my gratitude are my fellow students Catherine Gowan, my "thesis buddy," and Mary Guilfoil. They were always supportive, positive, and helpful. They kept me from panicking on more than one occasion and had very constructive advice. I have to thank my parents for answering the late night phone calls, letting me vent my frustrations, and being proud of me regardless of what happened. My Grandpa also deserves my gratitude. He taught me about the value of hard work and education and always forced me to build a strong argument. I cannot express how thankful I am for my thesis advisor, Dr. Barbara Hicks. She kept me focused throughout the whole process. Her advice was caring, thoughtful, and constructive. As a sponsor, she truly was dedicated to my success and I could not have asked for anyone better. Thank you so much. Working with you has been an honor. iii


Table of Contents Acknowledgements.. iii Abstract.. v Introduction 1 Chapter 1: Issue Framing and Social Movement Theory... 6 Chapter 2: The Founding of the African National Congress !and Its Early Years.. 22 Chapter 3: The Militant Years.. 45 Chapter 4: The Importance of the Working Class and !the International Community. 64 Chapter 5: The ANC in Power. 85 Chapter 6: The Evolution of Frames and Their Consistencies... 97 Appendix: Chart of Relevant Apartheid Laws 108 References... 110 Tables 6.1: Frames Used During the Events Discussed. 95 iv


THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS: AN ANALYSIS OF POLITICAL FRAMES Lindsay Levinson New College of Florida, 2009 ABSTRACT The African National Congress (ANC) was the most influential organization in South Africa's anti-Apartheid movement. Throughout its struggle, the ANC used a variety of political frames to shape events and campaigns in order to mobilize support at home and from abroad. This thesis analyzes the political frames used by the ANC over the latter half of the twentieth century in an effort to understand why specific frames were activated at a given point while others were not and the role political framing had in the success of the anti-Apartheid movement. Particular attention is given to primary sources in an effort to understand changes in the organization s language and tone. The study finds that frames evolved in response to changes in social and political climate and in international context. Multiple, even conflicting, frames were often used simultaneously in order to attract more than one audience. Differences in the use of frames once the ANC took office as a legitimate political party are also discussed. Dr. Barbara Hicks Division of Social Sciences v


Introduction: the African National Congress and the Anti-Apartheid Struggle For almost a century, the African National Congress has demonstrated a capacity to adapt, and remain politically relevant in the face of great adversity and an ever changing global climate. Founded in 1912 as a body of respectable educated black colonial subjects, by the 1980s the ANC had evolved into a revolutionary national party whose principal objective was the seizure of political power. Although it began as a movement for African natives, the party later aligned itself with Coloureds and Indians, 1 becoming a voice for nonracial democracy and political equality. The 1990s required the ANC to transform yet again; this time it was to become the legitimate governing party of one of Africa's wealthiest and most diverse societies. This metamorphosis deserves particular attention and analysis, as it was the product of historical events, while at the same time becoming an important influence on the political climate of the late 20th century. In order to garner such influence, the ANC had to unite the subjugated majority in South Africa against the Apartheid government. This was not a simple task. There was a common cause among the black petty bourgeoisie and the black working majority 1 1 In Apartheid literature and South African government documents, "Coloured" refers to people of mixed racial ancestry and Indian refers to Asian immigrants, chiefly those from India. "Black" refers to those individuals who were non-Europeans, not of mixed ethnicity or race, often referred to as Natives.


within South Africa; they shared the same lack of opportunity, the same crippled political representation, and the same repressed cultural expression. One may also assume that Coloureds and Indians could be brought into such an effort, as they shared this plight to varying extents. It seems almost obvious that these experiences would be enough to move them to action. Such unified mobilization, however, was not a given. Despite their shared oppression, the differences among these societal groups far outweighed their similarities. Agendas and issues had to be framed in a way that would transcend the differing, and sometimes contradictory, desires of competing communities. The ANC Strategy Successfully bridging societal differences in South Africa has been one means through which the ANC maintained such high levels of mobilization for such an unprecedented amount of time. Social movements act as carriers of beliefs and ideologies. In addition, they operate as part of the process of constructing meaning for participants and opposition (Snow and Benford, 1988). By using frames to attach meaning to otherwise socially dormant events and issues, the ANC was able to stress the interconnectedness of the minorities within South Africa, uniting black, Coloured, and Indian populations in a movement that eventually overturned Apartheid and ousted the National Party from power. Stating that such a high level of mobilization was sustained does not explain how it was maintained. Creative political framing was one of the organization's chief mobilization tools. The ANC used several different frames to shape its various campaigns 2


and control the direction in which the anti-Apartheid movement traveled. Under overarching economic and cultural master frames, party leaders selectively interpreted specific events and histories in ways that made the people of South Africa relate to their cause. These frames, however, did not exist in a vacuum; rather, they were twisted and adapted several times throughout the ANC struggle in an effort to stay politically relevant. In several interesting ways, the frames used by the ANC were shaped both by international political climates and the counterframes of the National Party which was responsible for the Apartheid system. Campaigns had to be designed in a way that could withstand high levels of opposing force. Maintaining strength both ideologically and in terms of sheer numbers of active supporters were important considerations. Adaptation and metamorphosis were fundamental to the ANC's political survival and success, even after the abolishment of Apartheid. As a legitimate ruling party, the ANC had to adapt once again, making sure to incorporate former political leaders into its new government. Its frames had to expand, taking into account incentives for minority participation in government. Focusing on alliances and common historical memories, the ANC needed to bring together a nation with a painful past, full of distrust and oppression. Framing was of equal value in this stage of the party's history; although, frames played a very different role during this period. Instead of focusing on divisive issues, frames became a tool through which collective memories could be reinterpreted and used to bring people together. Understanding what the frames used by the African National Congress were, how they took shape, and how they influenced international sentiment will help to explain the success of the movement and, perhaps, lead to a better 3


understanding of the role issue framing has in the study of social movements more broadly. Methods and Approach The ANC had the entire history of the African continent from which to draw its mobilizing visions, but only certain events and collective characteristics were emphasized. The precision used by the party when deciding what to discuss and how to do so was paramount to its success. The collective memories referenced by leaders were not arbitrarily selected. Examining the collective thought process that preceded such choices will allow us to grasp the importance political framing had within the ANC's mobilization efforts. To understand the ways in which frames were used, it is necessary to analyze original ANC documents. Looking at the material distributed by the organization and certain influential speeches given by its leaders reveals the specifics of language and context. For example, flyers distributed through "flyer bombing" may have a very different intention than a speech given by an influential party leader at an international summit. Secondary analysis by scholars, however, is still important to this study as it may bring to light aspects of ANC's efforts not explicitly discussed in any primary source; these sources will also be useful in the situating the ANC struggle within a broader social and international context. The periodization of chapters attempts to demarcate the shifting of importance in ANC campaigns from one master frame to another, as well as major shifts in organization policies and leadership. Since such an important element of the study is the evolutionary 4


nature of political framing, taking a chronological approach to the research seems most fitting. Coupled with such examination will be a discussion of the international political climate of the period. Key frame shifts often took place after other international movements and attitudes began to garner more attention. During the beginning of the Congress's anti-Apartheid efforts in the 1950s, there was a greater emphasis on collective identity and a slight communist undertone. The 1960s, being influenced by the American Civil Rights movements, saw the ANC taking a more aggressive approach to its campaigns, focusing on increasing black nationalism. Such nationalism was expanded upon in the mid-1970s and the importance of youth involvement appears to have grown during this period. In the 1980s, the dominate frames shifted, focusing more on unionism and labor relations. This may very well have been a reaction to the declining influence of the Soviet-bloc and the implementation of more stringent international economic sanctions. Another transition occurred once the ANC took office, as it was now the legitimate ruling party of a newly democratic country. These frame differences are reflected in the division of the chapters that follow. In each chapter, a general overview of ANC activity will be given; specific campaigns and events will be selected from each period for closer analysis. Campaigns were selected because they were either major strategic departures from previous efforts made by the ANC, or were of a greater magnitude than others. In order to understand the effect of issue framing and campaign strategy on the success of the African National Congress, however, we must first examine the importance of issue framing to social movements more generally. 5


Chapter 1: Issue Frames and Social Movement Theory Issue Framing and Its Importance to Social Movements Societal change is not a given in any situation. Even after the needed conditions are present, there must be a catalyst to bring the necessary elements together. That spark can mean the difference between a successful movement and political failure. The dilemma for political organizers becomes finding issues and defining them in a way that can ignite the interest of the target audience, many of whom have conflicting viewpoints and experiences. This point is where political framing becomes of great importance. "A social movement is a sustained and self-conscious challenge to authorities or cultural codes by a field of actors.., some of whom employ extrainstitutional means of influence (Gamson and Meyer 1996, 283)." Gamson and Meyer highlight the pluralistic nature of social movements. One of the most widely used means of influencing public opinion is issue framing; it might also be among the most effective. Numerous studies conducted during the most recent decades have revealed that citizens' political perceptions and evaluations of a given social movement are highly dependent on how elites present and interpret the issues (Kinder and Sanders 1996). Never is there one clear frame in a movement; rather, actors are working within a movement to shape competing frames, using various methods of political interpretation in order to restructure political opportunity in a way that favors the achievement of its particular goals. Political framing 6


then can, be understood as a process where a communicator "assigns meaning to and interprets relevant events and conditions in ways that are intended to mobilize potential adherents and constituents, to garner bystander support, and to demobilize antagonists" (Snow and Benford 1988, 198). An ongoing debate is always present in a social movement; this intramovement debate is centered on the means and discourse through which a goal is to be achieved and the true relevance of a given issue. Doug McAdam (1996) argues that the concept of framing is extremely valuable in the analysis of social movements, because it explains how mobilization occurs. A movement is not an incidental byproduct of political opportunity; rather, a successful movement must be able to capitalize on such openings in political space to achieve change. In many instances, the political opportunity is actually being created. Regardless of what political windows may be present, movement leaders must frame their struggle in a way that is salient to their audience. Druckman and Nelson (2003) investigated the interplay of issue frames and citizens' deliberation. Their study illuminated the conditionality of framing effects and demonstrated how certain contexts of framing can enable citizens to pick the position most consistent with their prior values while still contributing to societal change and still resisting influence. Citizens will subscribe to the strongest or most applicable frames at a given time (Chong and Druckman 2007). These framing effects are the result of strategic interpretation and development by elites. A framing effect occurs when such "frames in communication" affect receivers' "frames in thought," that is, their cognitive understanding of a given situation, or their opinion (Chong and Druckman 2007). 7


Some models of communication effects on public opinion have implicitly portrayed citizens as quite passive receivers of political messages. In this view, citizens are almost mechanically forming opinions based on, or at least influenced by, whatever consideration or position a political message is able to put at the forefront of their thoughts (Zaller 1992). In contrast, most recent studies of issue framing effects have suggested that citizens respond to issue frames in a more mindful way. In this view, citizens do not necessarily follow all the considerations put forward in a communication, but instead engage in "a more deliberate integration process," whereby they "consider the importance and relevance of each accessible idea" to their opinion formation (Nelson, Clawson, and Oxley 1997, 578). To specify when considerations emphasized in a frame will likely affect opinion under this more deliberate processing, recent theorizing on framing effects has suggested that a consideration must be available, accessible, and judged to be applicable at the time of forming an opinion (Chong and Druckman 2007, 108). That a consideration is available means that it is comprehended by the receiver and stored in memory such that it can be retrieved and used at a later time. The available consideration must then be sufficiently accessible in memory to be activated and used at the point of forming an opinion. Finally, a consideration is available and accessible may not be sufficient for it to influence opinion formation; citizens consciously and critically judge how applicable, or relevant, they feel a consideration emphasized in an issue frame is to their opinion on the issue (Price and Tewksbury 1997, 192-194). As Price and Tewksbury explain, it is important to recognize that social perceivers will evaluate the constructs they have accessible in terms of their suitability for interpreting and 8


responding to their environment. Consequently, they often will either filter out these items they consider inappropriate or they will use them as standards, or contrast points, in their evaluations" (1997, 187-188). Values and motivations that are accessible at the time of processing the frame will likely influence whether an issue frame is perceived as relevant (Price and Tewksbury 1997). As one may suspect given human desire to be considered right, people are motivated to form opinions that are accurate but often also to a large degree defend their extant values, identities, and attitudes. Frames of the ANC Addressing political issues in terms of frames relevant to the people proved to be of great importance to the African National Congress during their struggle against Apartheid and later in its attempt to gain legitimacy as a ruling political party. Rarely is a singular frame used to mobilize support around an issue, and the antiApartheid movement was no exception. Leaders of the ANC needed to present its political aims in a way that was salient to the majority, sympathetic whites, and the broader international community. The need for such broadly reaching appeal resulted in several overlapping frames that were actively pursued by the ANC simultaneously. These frames were not at all static in nature. An evolution took place within each of them due in large part to the changing societal perceptions of certain concepts, overarching international movements, and the impact of specific historical events. Another relevant factor in the discussion of ANC frame development is the impact of competitive frames, that is, the effects on citizens and supporters of countermovement 9


frames and their competition for available resources (Zald 1996, 269). An effective counter frame can force leaders to reconfigure their strategy, which has a direct effect on the framing of events. The influence of competing political frames, particularly those of the National Party, on the success of the African National Congress will be addressed as well in subsequent sections of this chapter. Economically Based Frames According to Snow and Benford (1988), a master frame is a frame that functions as a paradigm to several movements. The master frame of environmentally and socially sustainable development triggers, for example, such movements as the green movement, the peace movement, the antinuclear movement. The ght against economic inequality within South Africa was among one of the most effective master frames used by the African National Congress during its struggle to end Apartheid. The importance of economic livelihood when used in discourse had the power to transcended ethnicity, age, and gender. Simple economic stratication, however, was not enough to mobilize people. A collective sense that the inequality was illegitimate became necessary. Major and Jost (2001) divides the generation of feelings of illegitimate inequality into two processescomparison and legitimation. The comparison between black and white citizens, the place that each held within the economy, and the role of authorities in reinforcing such relationships needed to be articulated. The identication of governments as external agents is crucial for mobilization along economic lines. A sense of relative deprivation needs to be present. (Klanderman 2002, 887-91) The South African government, and 10


specically the National Party, needed to be seen as being in direct opposition to the economic well-being of the African population. !One of the most inuential economic frames used by the African National Congress revolved around communist theory. Africans in the ANC were rst introduced to prosocialist ideals in the early 1950s, shortly after the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) was exiled. As a result of the party's exile, several CPSA leaders who remained in South Africa became involved with the ANC and had an inuence over its strategies (Gerhart 1979, 165). !South Africa found itself in a unique economic situation as a result of its colonial occupation. The country lacked a colored bourgeoisie (Everatt 1992, 28-29), due in large part to the legislative initiatives taken during colonization, such as the Land Act of 1913, the Representation of Natives Act, and the Native Urban Areas Act of 1923 (Halisi 1999, 36-38). Through these acts, the area in which black and Indian people were permitted to live was limited to a few "homelands" and any form of direct representation within the Cape was removed. Urban areas were deemed "white areas" and only whites could be considered an employer. Without the ability to own an urban business and restricted to only seven percent of the agricultural land in the country, the black population was prevented from forming a wealthy, independent bourgeoisie. ANC leaders, then, found little difculty in translating a racial struggle into a class struggle. In Apartheid South Africa, the two terms were almost synonymous. !Applying the communist model of class conict to the ANC's struggle against Apartheid also had a positive effect on relations with non-black sympathizers. A debate took place within the ANC regarding the interplay between nationalist and economic 11


goals. Although communist ideologies conated economic and racial motives, they attracted support from both Indian and white communist organizations (Karis 1986, 268). To gain diverse support and attract the more militant youth associated with the Black Communist Movement in South Africa, racial discourse was no longer the dominant issue frame used (Halisi 1999, 10). ANC leaders were able to frame several of its campaigns with the communist ideals, including the Deance Campaign, several Youth League movements, and, most importantly the Congress of the People (Feit 1962, 30). 2 !The relationship the ANC holds with the South African Communist Party is still an inuential part of its political dominance and ideology; its relationship, however, has evolved over the years. The economic policies of the ANC have remained, according to Thomas Karis "moderate and pragmatic" (1986, 268), with a shift away from direct communist inuences as a result of its increased support and aid from capitalist countries, particularly the United States (278). The complex interaction of racial and class dynamics can easily camouflage the specific economic concerns of the disenfranchised black majority within South Africa; in an effort to address these specific concerns, political frames emphasizing the importance of organized labor were also used. Understanding the influence labor and labor unions had on the ANC is critical to understanding the complex interplay between issue frames. By utilizing an "organized labor" frame as opposed to a communist frame, ANC efforts became salient to anti-socialist elements both domestically and abroad who were resistant to involvement with communist initiatives. Although the frame was not as influential until the Congress of South African Trade Unions was formed in 1985, colored and 12 2 These campaigns will be discussed in the next chapter.


racially non-discriminant trade unions were present within South Africa from the 1930s (Lewis 1984, 120). The emphasis placed on revolutionary tactics by communist influences in the ANC was often countered by the more legalistic approaches promoted by the organization's labor union initiatives (Halisi 1999, 117). Labor frames focused more on improving the day-to-day conditions in which black South Africans lived; whereas, communist-centered frames were more theoretical and tended to preach complete revolution of the political structure. "Union struggles sought to institutionalize a new social order based on transethnic collective identities rooted in counterhegemonic beliefs and practices, at the same time as they sought to improve material conditions for a new, totally wage-dependent generation of workers" (Moodie 2002, 57). Previous generations of urban labor, as Moodie points out (2002, 60), had seen industrial work as an extension of their masculinity, symbolizing their ability to provide for their families who were left on the family farm. Persevering with the unfair, and often violent, working conditions only increased these sentiments. Beginning in the 1970s, however, industrial labor begun to attract a different demographic. Wage labor was no longer associated with the patriarchal duties of the male; rather, it was quickly becoming a way for educated blacks to escape the monotony of rural life. The coal and diamond mines, in particular, became popular places for militant youth to find clerical and managerial employment (53-62). By appealing to the specific economic injustices of the workplace, the ANC was able to develop a social network within industrial areas, thus spreading its anti-Apartheid message in urban areas. 13


Culturally Based Issue Frames Communism and unionism allowed the African National Congress to garner support along multiracial lines, and appealing to people's material welfare proved to be a reliable strategy for mobilization. Nevertheless, the racial oppression felt by the black majority could not be ignored and resulted in a strong black nationalist element within the ANC (Halisi 1999, 2). Making an emotional appeal to their identity as black natives, nationalist frames, centered strongly in common cultural elements, comprised the second relevant master frame used by the ANC. "People's sense of self remains bound up in gross actualities of blood, race, language, locality, religion, and tradition" (Geertz 1996, 41). A distinction is made in the literature between what composes a nation and that which composes a state. The nation, comprised of persons who share some of the characteristics listed above, is distinct from the state, the territorial unit attributed to a governing body (Gellner 1983). Benedict Anderson adds to this definition of nation, arguing that it is "an imagined political community [that is] imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign (2006, 6). An imagined community is different from an actual community because it is not (and cannot be) based on face-to-face interaction among its members. Instead, members hold in their minds a mental image of their affinity. As Anderson puts it, a nation "is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion (6-7) Gellner argues that social mobilization will occur when a discrepancy, imagined or actual, between the welfare of the nation and the policy of the state is present within a community (1983, 55). 14


Anderson's theory that such communities are constructed, rather than primordial, helps explain why certain groups within a society become mobilized after years of political apathy The debate over the nature of community identity leads to several questions, such as by what means and why such communities are provoked. Several tactics exist through which cultural "communities" can be mobilized; most involve the framing of certain characteristics, which were previously dormant, in a newly politicized manner. One of the central cultural frames used by the African National Congress during its various antiApartheid campaigns was that of ethno-symbolism. The theory of ethno-symbolism is argued chiefly by Anthony Smith (1986) in The Ethnic Origins of Nations. In his work, Smith argues that political mobilization and nationalism draw on the pre-existing history of a group and attempt to fashion this history into a sense of common identity and shared history. This is not to say that the result will be accurate, or even cogent. The politically salient frames and stories that develop can often be mythologized and inaccurate accounts of events. Placing an emphasis on ancestral lands and tribal affiliations was one method through which the ANC sparked nationalist sentiment among its people. Traditionally, South African tribes were based on concepts of communal land and tribal property. With their subjection to Apartheid land reform, black South Africans saw a greater importance within those traditions. "The land is a metaphor for the people's deep identification with its expropriated place of origin as well as its collective memory of community life (Halisi 1999, 19)." The removal of the people from their land and the replacement of tribal 15


leadership with bureaucratic administrators had a unifying quality, as the African National Congress was able to frame such events within a historical context. Blacks were not only being oppressed, but the ancestral rights and traditions were being stripped away from them. Ancestral affiliations were also used in religious terms as a framing tactic used by the ANC. Religion, specifically Christianity, played a small, but still important role in mobilizing efforts of the party. Black millenarian Christianity frequently transformed white church doctrines of subordination into ideologies that emphasized the redemption of lost land and communities in order to enliven their congregations (Halisi 1999, 22). Especially in the early years of the ANC, the influence of Christian ideals was visible within its rhetoric. The twice President of the Congress, Reverend Mahabane, for example, often emphasized the Christian African's duty to uplift fellow South Africans in an effort to end oppression (48). The need for social justice and individual rights were often combined with religion in a broader appeal to morality. Moral obligation was often called upon by the ANC when attempting to gain Western support and was closely associated with Western belief in the rights to life and liberty. Culturally based efforts by the ANC were not limited to ancestral symbolism and religious empowerment. Solidarity and identity were expressed and created through music, art, and theater. Works were also presented internationally to gain external attention and support. In the 1970s, the ANC began several cultural ensembles through which the cultural unity and shared heritage of the "South African Nation" could be expressed (Gilbert 2007, 421). Although much of their work still spoke to traditional 16


African life, it was adapted to modern popular culture, which updated the cultural frames used by the party in an attempt to maintain its relevance (436). Besides linking ethnic struggles to popular culture, the ANC successfully connected the anti-Apartheid movement with both the American Civil Rights movement and international labor movements. American blacks became a symbol of both fruitful modernization and the ability to achieve political equality while maintaining a unique cultural identity. (Halisi 1999, 26) Countermovement Frames The ruling political party during Apartheid, the National Party of South Africa, made use of their own framing tactics in an effort to delegitimize ANC initiatives. Religion and the manipulation of traditional leadership tend to be the dominate methods through which the party countered ANC frames. Religion, especially Afrikaner Calvinism, played an instrumental role in the development of Afrikaner nationalism and consequently the Apartheid ideology. The Dutch Reformed Churches of South Africa were involved throughout the 18th century in a constant battle against modernism and modernity. They aligned with the conservative views of Abraham Kuyper, who emphasized God's authority over separate spheres of creation. These spheres included those drawn along racial divides. Afrikaner theologians worked from this foundation and defined a number of political, economic and cultural spheres that had their separate, independent destinies. The Afrikaner history was also reinterpreted through a Christian-nationalistic ideology. Paul Kruger, president of 17


Transvaal and a founding member of the Dutch Reform Church of South Africa, referred to it as "sacred history" with Afrikaners as the chosen people, and the Great Trek, the Dutch migration to the Cape, was seen as a religious exodus. As God's chosen people, Afrikaners had a theological obligation to keep the various cultural spheres separate (Prozesky 1995, 27-55). Religion was also a tactic used for spreading Apartheid from within the African community as well as a justification for it. Reverend John Philip of the London Missionary Society is quoted as saying that "Missions stations are the cheapest and best military post to defend its frontiers against the predatory incursions of savage tribes" (Boas and Weiskopf 1973, 425) With the spread of Christianity, traditional tribal religions lost salience among certain segments of the African population, demobilizing certain segments of the population. The social networks that may have helped mobilize people against the government were severally weakened. The importance of ancestral lineages was further lessened by the tutelage system implemented by white political officials. Although it was often the goal of National Party policy to weaken ethnic bonds, the chieftain system was embraced as a method of social control. Tribal chiefs who cooperated with authorities were deemed administrative chiefs, and thus co-opted into the state apparatus (Halisi 1999, 23). Controlling the threat of black insurgency through the use of "puppet" tribal leaders was often supported by the passage of highly discriminatory legislation (van der Westhuizen 2007, 143). In addition to acts which reduced black, coloured, and Indian representation, the National Party was able to push through legislation that increased the power of the state 18


to intervene in local affairs. For example, through the expansion of the Defense Act of 1957, South African military was given the power to suppress any local unrest within the country (van der Westhuizen 2007, 144). The legalization of discrimination and the use of counter-violence to repress any social unrest helped ease the moral qualms many soldiers had with the acts which they were ordered to commit. The legislative mechanisms that were largely responsible for white domination seem to have been backed by a sense of moral obligation. The belief in cultural and racial superiority found among whites led to economic practices which helped perpetuate such ideas. An economic fear underpinned much of the National Party's efforts. With blacks outnumbering whites in every province, their repression was seen as necessary in order to maintain economic control. The economic prosperity of South Africa was often seen as the product of white entrepreneurial efforts and domination; thus, the economic subjugation of blacks, coloureds, and Indians was merely an extension of political frames which preached a racial supremacy. The economic success of South Africa could only be maintained by the educated white minority. Take for example the view of Hendrick Verwoerd, South Africa's president in the 1950s and 60s: ... the white man, therefore, not only has an undoubted stake in and right to the land which he developed into a modern industrial state from denuded grassland and empty valleys and mountains. But according to all the principles of morality it was his, is his, and must remain his" (Gallagher, 2002) Understanding ANC Master Frames in a Global Context 19


The issue frames employed by the African National Congress were used in conjunction with each other. With the economic and cultural frames acting as "master" frames, the Congress was able to define its struggle in a way that was politically relevant and culturally accessible to the black majority within the country without ostracizing other minorities and sympathetic whites. These issue frames proved to be adaptive as well, responding to both countermovement frames and changes in the international climate. For example, adopting the same rhetoric as the American Civil Rights movement gave the ANC an existing support base abroad. It appears that these shifts and responses were well calculated, often orchestrated through mass "flyer bombings" and media campaigns, designed during formalized conferences and events. However, these decisions about frames do not discount the informal methods through which mobilization occurred, such as the community meeting or church service. Social movements go through "cycles of contention, followed by less intense mobilization or decline. These cycles of intense activism do not always correspond to international sentiments and perceived political opportunity (Tarrow 1998); yet, this does appears to have been the case with regards to ANC strategy. Moments marked with the highest levels of activism were preceded by the start of major international movements and ideological changes in the world. In the next chapters, the changing importance of the various frames within the African National Congress's campaigns will be analyzed and the evolution of each frame will be discussed in an effort to understand the transformative nature of social movement issue framing. Coupled with an analysis of framing 20


techniques and master frame will be an evaluation of the international climate surrounding major frame shifts. 21


Chapter 2: The Founding of the African National Congress and Its Early Years History of the ANC: Inception to the Defiance Campaign In order to understand the importance of the ANC to the anti-Apartheid struggle, it is necessary to grasp the political and social events the led to the creation of the Apartheid regime, South Africa's colonial history, and its first legislative initiatives as an independent country. These factors heavily influenced the formation of the ANC and the direction of its struggle. The Founding of the Congress The immediate circumstances in which the African National Congress was inaugurated were the political turmoil resulting from the unification of the various South African provinces and the intense concern surrounding the newly united Parliament's early legislation. In 1902, there was a distinct surge in the creation of African civic organizations in response to the Treaty of Verneeniging, which ended the South African War between Great Britain and the Transvaal and Orange Free State colonies. Many racial minorities in the then British colonies had come to believe that the war had been fought in an effort to establish non-racial justice throughout South Africa; this, however, 22


was clearly not the case. Clause VIII left the question of a voting franchise for nonwhites to be settled after the defeated Boers had been granted self-government, but voting rights were not fully defined until 1994. Thus, black Africans were left without the vote (except in the Cape state) when South Africa was officially unified in 1910 under the South Africa Act (Walshe 1971, 14-5). With the Cape being the only province within the republic to have non-racial enfranchisement, the drafting of the South Africa Act was dominated by the policies of the Transvaal, Orange Free State, and Natal; thus, nonEuropeans were denied the right to vote. The years immediately following the unification of South Africa were cause for great alarm amongst non-whites within the South African provinces. Several systematic statutes were passed in an atmosphere of increasing racial tension prior to World War I. The Native Labour Reform Act of 1911 1 made the breaching of a labor contract on the part of a black person a criminal offense, as opposed to a civil one. The Mines and Works Act followed, delegating the government power to restrict jobs to certain categories of employee, limiting the ability of Natives and Indians to obtain engineering and mining positions (Van der Westhuizen 2007, 19). The first two years of a unified South Africa had provided African leaders with sufficient cause for alarm. Major issues regarding Native policy were being determined by a very narrow, fearful minority. In 1912, four young lawyers, recently returned from overseas, took the initiative and convened an inaugural conference to launch what would later become the African National Congress, after a name change in 1924. Alfred 23 1 For a brief description of the acts discussed throughout this paper, please refer to the appendix.


Mangena, Richard Msimange, George Montsioa, and Pixley Seme were men of foreign education and represented an educated elite within African society. Upset with the racial injustices in their beloved country, these men gathered important African chieftains, religious leaders, and educated elite in Bloemfontein on January 8, 1912. Seme had hoped to transcend tribal divides that threatened African unity. Chiefs of royal blood and gentlemen of our race, we have gathered here to consider and discuss a scheme which my colleagues and I have decided to place before you. We have discovered that in the land of their birth, Africans are treated as hewers of wood and drawers of water. The white people of this country have formed what is known as the Union of South Africa a union in which we have no voice in the making of laws and no part in their administration. We have called you, therefore, to this conference, so that we can together devise ways and means of forming our national union for the purpose of creating national unity and defending our rights and privileges (Seme 1953). With unanimous support, those present at the conference moved to establish the South African Native People's Congress, appointed a committee to construct a constitution and made the chiefs of the seven major tribes honorary presidents. The unifying character Rev. John L Dube was elected official president (Walshe 1971, 35). Walshe argues that he was selected due to his position as an educator and his neutral position on many tribal issues. The remainder of the executive committee was composed of influential men from varying fields and origins. A balance among the four provinces was maintained, as each had at least one representative sitting on the committee (36-37). The Land Act, World War I, and Hertzog 24


By 1919, a prolonged debate surrounding the Land Act of 1913 had culminated in the rejection of an official Native policy in the South African Union. The Act restricted Native farming to a mere seven percent of the country's land despite the fact that native Africans comprised the vast majority. Towns became strictly European areas, and color bars made it difficult for young Native males to find urban employment, as most was reserved for Europeans (Prance 1936, 53-6). The World War gave Natives and Indians a false hope of impending social justice; however, these hopes were met with disappointment, as Native and Indian attempts to aide in the war effort were met with little gratitude and did nothing to improve their situation. Their participation in combat was prevented due to a fear that Natives fighting against any Europeans, even if they were a common enemy, would result in unnecessary political unrest within Native populations of South Africa (Plaatje 1997, 5-7). With many European men off at war and rising industrial costs, a decision was made by the Chamber of Mines to lift the status quo agreement between the Chamber and the European Trade Unions, which protected the mining industry from an influx of unskilled African and Indian labor (Walshe 1971, 76). Although this repeal did create an urban industry for poor African men, it created social discontent among Europeans, which led to the election of the Nationalist Party in 1924 under former General James Hertzog, who was strongly committed to maintaining the industrial color bar which reserved a high percentage of industrial jobs for whites (77). For the Congress, the outcome of the election represented a failure to influence events in the direction of nonracial ideals and economic progress. Congress was buffeted by increased ideological 25


tensions as it faced an acute dilemma. Either it had to organize its extra-constitutional resources for passive protest, or it had to work through the constitutional influence made available through separate government structures created to address black and Indian issues under the Native Affairs Act of 1920 (Van der Westhuizen 2007, 19). Hertzog's segregationist policies came swiftly. The first was the Coloured Persons' Rights Bill, which prevented Natives and Indians in the Cape Province from registering to vote. In lieu of their right to vote, they were given representation under the Representation of Natives in Parliament Bill, which reduced Native representation to seven European men that were to be elected by pr ominent Africans to represent them in Parliament during discussions of "Native Matters." The Native Land Bill removed the right for Natives in the Cape to purchase land outside of the demarcated homelands, which increased to just over twelve percent of the land in the country (Walshe 1971, 113). Although these bills were all introduced in 1925, it took almost a decade for them to be passed through the legislature, they were eventually enacted in 1936 in the form of two bills (117). The Native Land and Trust bill remained intact; whereas, the Representation of Natives Act was far worse. The number of representatives given to Natives was reduced from seven to four and Natives in the Cape who were already registered to vote could remain; however, no new names were to be added (118). The ANC's official reaction to the new Native policies was established in the Bill of Rights, adopted in 1925 by the National Conference. The bill called for equal rights to the land, equal representation in government, and recognition of the common humanity of all races, which emphasized their racial interdependence. In 1935, the All -African 26


Convention assembled in Bloemfontein once more to discuss the newly passed laws. Unable to come to a consensus on who to nominate for the positions in South Africa's Parliament, the Convention, which was a conglomeration of various Native organizations dedicated to working within the legislative apparatus, lost favor. The ANC found itself with a stronger base and a revived mission, as they acknowledged the Convention's inability to reach a consensus despite the need for action. People sought an organization with a coherent mission and structure; the ANC was the best option (Halisi 1999, 76-9). The ANC was able to build a solid membership throughout the next decade, although it remained disjointed and stifled by the complicated and vague Constitution of 1919. This problem was eliminated with the election of Dr. Xuma as Congress president in 1939. Xuma, a foreign educated doctor born in Transkei, tried to consolidate ANC control. The Constitution was shortened from twenty-nine complicated pages to a concise three-page document, clearly stating the organization's goals of achieving total enfranchisement, rights to land, and legislative equality (Schadeberg, 1987). In 1943, during World War II, young members of the ANC, critical of what they considered its passivity, formed their own organization, the Congress Youth League (CYL). Anton Lembede, president of the CYL from 1944 until his death in 1947, stressed that South Africa was "a black man's country," in which the concerns of Africans should take precedence. He argued that African society was socialistic, but, because he considered the conflict in South Africa to be primarily a racial rather than a class struggle, he repudiated any alliance with the Communist Party in bringing about "national liberation." The CYL manifesto of 1944 highlights the heightened nationalist tone that 27


surrounded the time period: "Africanism must be promoted, i.e. Africans must struggle for development, progress and national liberation so as to occupy their rightful and honourable place among nations of the world" (ANC Youth League, 1944). After the war and Lembede's death, and faced with the implementation of Apartheid, the CYL's leaders, Peter Mda, Jordan Ngubane, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, and Walter Sisulu, strove to take charge of the ANC. Overcoming the opposition of ANC president Alfred Xuma, the CYL succeeded in 1949 in electing James Moroka to the presidency, in seating three CYL members (Sisulu, Tambo, and Mandela) on the organization's national executive body, and in persuading the Congress formally to adopt The Program of Action (Walshe 1971, 273). The increase in mobilization would not come soon enough to prevent what was happening within South Africa. After the 1948 elections in South Africa, a coalition government was formed between the Afrikaner Party and the pro-Apartheid Reunited National Party, forming the National Party government under Prime Minister Malan (van der Westhuizen 2007, 41). The coalition government immediately began implementing Apartheid policies, passing legislation prohibiting miscegenation and classifying individuals by race. The Group Areas Act of 1950, designed to separate racial groups geographically, became the heart of the Apartheid system. The Separate Amenities Act was passed in 1953. Under this Act, municipal grounds could be reserved for a particular race. It created, among other things, separate beaches, buses, hospitals, schools and universities. Signboards such as "whites only" applied to public areas, even including 28


park benches (Walshe 1971, 287). Apartheid was solidified and it was now up to the ANC to mobilize the people in response. Specific Campaigns ANC often coordinated its mobilization efforts through mass campaigns. Each campaign targeted a specific aspect or policy of the Apartheid regime. In the process, many of these campaigns created new opportunities for mobilization and protest and prompted new responses from the government. The Programme of Action and the Defiance Campaign It was clear by 1949 that the South African government was set on an Apartheid policy and efforts to prevent such attempts had failed. At this point, the ANC shifted from petitioning the government to a more confrontational form of politics. The Programme of Action was adopted by the ANC annual convention on December 17 th 1949 and a new era of protest politics began. Designed to promote civil disobedience on behalf of full citizenship, economic equality, and access to education, the Programme had a clear nationalist undertone, despite the fact that nation and nationalism were left undefined (Gerhart 83). The specifics of the program were left vague and no timeline was provided, but the declaration was still a far departure from the more legalistic methods used by the founding members of the Congress. "Congress realises that ultimately the people will be brought together by inspired leadership, under the banner of African nationalism, with courage and determination" (ANC National Executive Committee, 1949). With a younger 29


generation taking control, a call to decisive action had been made and the international climate of the time could not be ignored. With the great debate between Stalinists and Trotskyists waging on in Western Europe, the CYL, who were ultimately responsible for the drafting of the Programme, seemed inspired by the principles of organized labor and mass mobilization. It placed a great emphasis on the nationalization of many programs in an effort to ensure fairness and equality, called for the distribution of mass media, and an organization of labor. Education and transportation were to become nationally coordinated. The need to maintain a culturally unified struggle was stressed by the last section of the Programme, which stated the ANC's intention of "To unite the cultural with the educational and national struggle". The Programme clearly emphasized the national struggle for identity and culture; but, perhaps the most important section discussed a coordinated national council, charged with: a. the abolition of all differential political institutions, the boycotting of which we accept, and to undertake a campaign to educate our people on this issue and, in addition, to employ the following weapons: immediate and active boycott, strike, civil disobedience, non-co-operation and such other means as may bring about the accomplishment and realisation of our aspirations. b. preparations and making of plans for a national stoppage of work for one day as a mark of protest against the reactionary policy of the government (ANC National Executive Committee 1949). This declaration by the ANC was solidifying the government as an opponent. Its policy of non-collaboration was made clear. The proletariat had been called upon, by an enlivened leadership, to take action. 30


Large-scale action was coordinated by the new leadership for the first time in 1950 after the Apartheid government introduced the Unlawful Organisation bill and later the Suppression of Communism bill, both aimed at repressing opposition to the government and preventing mass mobilization. The African National Congress, the Communist Party of South Africa, the Indian Congress and the African People Organisation organized a "Freedom of Speech Convention" in Johannesburg. The Convention was called to protest the bills and a ban imposed on Dr.Dadoo and Sam Khan, two prominent communist leaders, prohibiting them from speaking in certain cities. At the convention, it was decided that a series of protests marches and meetings would be held across the country culminating in a national "stay at home" on May 1st. In response to the call to "Stay at Home," the government banned all meetings and sent police reinforcements to Johannesburg. However, the protest continued and police attacked the various gatherings. For the first time since the Bulhoek Massacre 2 the police opened fire on the protesters killing eighteen and wounding thirty people (Walshe 1971, 366). The then ANC President, Dr J.S Moroka, called an emergency meeting of the ANC's National Executive Committee. The Committee decided that, for the first time in the Party's history the ANC would call for a day of mourning and a general strike on June 31 2 The South African government took action against a black sect of the population, the Israelites, under the leadership of Enoch Mgijima, who squatted in the Queenstown area of the Eastern Cape. Whites protested that members of the sect were allowing cattle to graze on neighboring land and had even started to steal livestock from farmers and other residents of the area. In response to the growing militancy of the sect, a police unit of about 800 men was sent to Bulhoek in May 1921. The police issued an ultimatum demanding that the Israelites evacuate the area and warning that if they failed to comply, their leader would be arrested and their homes demolished. Soon afterwards the Israelites launched an attack armed with clubs, assegais and swords. They were fired upon by the police and more than 180 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded (Giliomee and Mbenga 2007, 50).


26 th 1950 in protest of the May Day killings and the Suppression of Communism Act. This call was supported by the African People's Organisation (APO) and the South African Indian Congress (SAIC). The ANC was willing to embrace the multi-racialism championed by the South African Communist Party and acknowledge the need for unified workers' action. Africans, according to many Communist leaders, needed to overcome their racial chauvinism, in order to create a stronger class consciousness (Walshe 1971, 386). The increased need for inter-racial coordination was made clear by the limited success of the protests, and many ANC leaders felt that racial issues needed to take a backseat to the more immediate economic struggles of the era (367). The new collaborative attempts made by the ANC and the SAIC culminated in the 1952 Defiance Campaign. According to correspondence between the ANC and Prime Minister Malan, the Congress was prepared to cooperate with the government in an effort to establish "peace, harmony, and friendship" (Moroka and Sisulu, 1952) and equal citizenship for all citizens within the country. The Pass Laws, Stock Limitation, the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950, the Group Areas Act of 1950, the Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 and the Voters' Act of 1951 were in direct conflict with these intentions. An ultimatum was presented: the Unjust Laws were to be repealed or a campaign of civil disobedience, the Defiance Campaign, would begin on April 6 th 1952. Malan, in an attempt to reframe the Unjust Laws, argued that the acts were there for the benefit of the Bantu peoples and complete equality under the law was impossible due to the fact that there were inherent differences 32


between the European and Bantu peoples, which could not be ignored (Moroka and Sisulu, 1952). In response to Malan's dismissive reply, ANC leaders took a much more nationalistic tone. "The African people yield to no one as far as pride is concerned." They call themselves "a defenseless and voteless people," suggesting their racial unity and common identity while simultaneously gaining the sympathies of the international community. The international community proved to be an important consideration for the ANC, as it referenced its disapproval of the Apartheid regime (Moroka and Sisulu 1952). The SAIC wrote to Malan in an act of inter-racial unity, also referencing their cultural identity and "the land of their birth." On April 6 1952, exactly 300 years after Van Riebeeck and the first white settlers landed at the Cape, the first mass demonstrations were held in Johannesburg. (Nxumalo 1952) ANC and SAIC leaders called the people of the country to action, defying the Unjust Laws and reclaiming the rights that had been taken from them, The date was obviously selected for a reason, suggesting that the African people were not going to celebrate the day on which foreigners began to conquer their lands; in fact, they were consciously rejecting that day and, in turn, the customs of the current government. The date for the start of the defiance was set for June 26, 1952, the anniversary of the Day of Mourning. The importance of historical anniversaries is a common trend throughout the ANC's history and many oppositional groups throughout history. In selecting dates which already hold significance, they were reinforcing a common memory within the people; thus, a national identity was reinforced. A "Day of the Volunteers" on 33


Sunday, June 22, preceded the opening of the campaign. Volunteers signed the following pledge: I, the undersigned, Volunteer of the National Volunteer Corps, do hereby solemnly pledge and bind myself to serve my country and my people in accordance with the directives of the National Volunteer Corps and to participate fully and without reservations to the best of my ability in the Campaign for the Defiance of Unjust Laws. I shall obey the orders of my leader under whom I shall be placed and strictly abide by the rules and regulations of the National Volunteer Corps framed from time to time. It shall be my duty to keep myself physically, mentally and morally fit (ANC 1952). The first group of volunteers including Nelson Mandela, Yusuf Dadoo, Moses Kotane, J.B. Marks, David Bopape and Walter Sisulu defied Apartheid laws in Johannesburg and other major city centres. The defiers who began the campaign did so with a sense that history was being made. For the first time Africans and Indians, with a few whites and coloureds were engaging in joint political action under a common leadership. A national action committee, whose key members were Sisulu and Ismail Cachalia, and a national volunteer board, with Mandela as the volunteer-in-chief, conducted the campaign. Groups of volunteers went into action, small in numbers but high in spirits. During the campaign, acts of defiance were accompanied by freedom songs and the thumbs-up sign (introduced by the ANC in 1949 as a sign of unity), cries of "Afrika!" and "Mayibuye!" ("Let it Return!"). Many volunteers saw the campaign as a means of returning their birthplace to the people. Over fifty Africans and Indians, including Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and Ismail Cachalia, marched into Boksburg location near Johannesburg without permits. All were arrested. In Port Elizabeth, thirty people entered 34


a railway station through the "Europeans Only" entrance and were arrested. Others were arrested for entering the European sections of the post offices, sitting on benches marked for whites, or violating other Apartheid regulations. During the various stages of the campaign, organizers remained in direct contact with the rank and file Congress members. In the August, 1952 issue of Drum, an underground newspaper, Mandela spoke directly to the people of South Africa. He stressed the importance of volunteerism, inter-racial unity, and the need for national independence of the non-European people in South Africa. At this point, Mandela is clearly framing the African struggle as one for a national identity and independence. The wording of the statement is even more telling. Mandela uses words like "Comrade" to refer to non-African people who are united with the ANC in the campaign and "bondage" in reference to the Unjust Laws for which the campaign is protesting. It is possible that these are attempts to connect the anti-Apartheid movement to the international communist movement and reference the terminology used during the anti-slavery campaigns in the United States ( Mandela 1952 ). The Defiance Campaign marked the first carefully planned departure from the ANC's former methods of mobilization and the first deliberate attempts to increase membership. By the end of the campaign, in October of 1953, almost 9,000 volunteers had been arrested, Congress membership rose from 5,000 to 100,000 people and the government had passed the Criminal Laws Amendment Act, which sentenced people to up to five years imprisonment for incitement to break the law (Walshe 1971, 402). The government's oppressive response did not quell the efforts of the ANC. By 1955, the 35


National Action Council (NAC) of the ANC, which was created under the Programme of Action, had a new campaign well under way. The Congress of the People and the Freedom Charter In 1955, the multiracial Congress of the People was organized through a joint effort by the ANC and the SACP. The goal of the Congress was to establish the goals and demands of the people within South Africa, regardless of their racial or economic standing. These demands were to be compiled in the Freedom Charter a short document declaring the will of the people to be governed by a democratically elected government and have control over the country's economic enterprises; the Charter was to be ratified at the convention. In order to achieve the huge turnout desired by the NAC, grassroots mobilization techniques had to be implemented. A leaflet distributed by the council in early 1955 spoke to the Congress of the People's intentions. People of varying occupations and races were called to participate by electing delegates to represent them at the event and by submitting their demands to the NAC. Hoping to get the help of 50,000 "freedom volunteers" in the election and organization process, the NAC ended the leaflet with the encouraging suggestion of passing it on to a friend, instead of throwing it away (NAC, 1955). Symbolism ran rampant through the organization of the Congress of the People and it can clearly be seen in the leaflet. "It is made by four bodies, speaking for the four sections of the people of South Africa: by the African National Congress, the South African Indian Congress, the Congress of Democrats, and the South African Coloured 36


People's Organisation." The idea of a unified body representing the four major demographics in the country translated to the event itself; a four-spoke wheel became the symbol for the Congress movement and was erected on stage at the convention. In addition, ANC leaders were sure to included symbolic references in their attempts to build support for the movement. Chief Lutuli, the exiled President of the ANC during the time of the Congress of the People, for example, referenced the inalienable rights of the Declaration of Independence in his statement of support and ended the speech with "AFRIKA! AFRIKA! MAYIBUYE! Mayibuye!," a symbolic call for the return of South African lands to the native people. The Congress of the People that was convened on the 25th and 26 th of June in Kliptown, near Johannesburg, represented a crucial historical moment in establishing a new order based on the will of the people. Those present felt a connection to their land and a common struggle. The Congress brought together 2,844 delegates from all over the country. The Freedom Charter's opening sentence proclaims, ''South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white" and that "all shall be equal before the law. It pledged to continue the struggle until a new democratic order was put into place. Political framing is particularly pertinent to the Charter's analysis, as even its first line was met with controversy. According to Archie Mafeje, "the term African was, for the first time, in the history of the movement, extended to include all progressive citizens of South Africa" (Halisi 1999, 65). This nonracial inclusionism may have isolated many of the African nationalists, who felt that the congress movement should remain a nonEuropean entity. By including all those who opposed Apartheid, however, the ANC was 37


able to expand its membership base and its international support. The wording of the Freedom Charter worried more than just the African nationalists; there was also a clear socialist undertone to the document, which many ANC leaders felt compelled to defend. The national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people; The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the Banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole; All other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the wellbeing of the people; All people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions. (Freedom Charter 1955) Leaders like Mandela felt the need to dispel the myths of a socialist takeover under the guise of the Freedom Charter. It did call for the nationalization of many industries and services within the country and a right to unionize in the workplace; these are undeniably socialist qualities and were probably influenced by the Cold War political climate of the era. Mandela, however, in a 1956 issue of Liberation an ANC newspaper, argued that these socialistic elements were needed, as the visions of the people could not be achieved without a complete break-up of the political and economic structures, which were responsible for such oppression. He argues that if democratic political structures were put in place, without the economic nationalization called for in the Charter the economic strife of the non-European people would remain, as the racial minority would maintain control of the country's wealth (Mandela, 1956) Mandela, in his attempts to empower the people, emphasized their numerical majority and their vital economic role as South Africa's labor force. Although without using the term, Mandela turns the population into a proletariat, having them embrace their position as laborers and their need to control the 38


means of production. Mandela skates around the idea of socialism, saying that the Congress of the People is not a socialist endeavor, but this is probably an attempt on his part not to isolate the capitalist elements within the movement. In a November article of New Age an alternative magazine, an anonymous author reiterates the aims of the economic reforms articulated in the Freedom Charter "The Charter does not propose merely a reform of the present system, a patching-up of its worst evils, an amelioration of some of its conditions. This Charter proclaims that only a complete change of state form can result in the people achieving their aims" (New Age, 1956). According to this author, having a socialist aim is not an inherently bad thing, as it is the only means of achieving equality within the country. The Defiance Campaign and the May Day protests centered on the creation of an African identity and sense of unity among the oppressed people. Although this sense of common identity and increased nationalism was still an undercurrent in the Congress movement of 1955, it was very much overshadowed by the socialist dialogue and the prolabor campaigns used by the ANC and its allies. The Anti-Pass Campaigns and Women in the ANC The Congress of the People represented a nonracial approach to the fight against Apartheid; simultaneously, the women of South Africa were claiming their role in the struggle against oppression. From 1943, women were recognized formally as members of the ANC Women's League (ANCWL), but their role remained secondary throughout the various campaigns until April 17, 1954, at the founding conference of the Federation of 39


South African Women (FSAW), where the Women's Charter was introduced (FSAW 1954). The ANCWL, under the umbrella organization of the FSAW took an economic approach to its campaigns, but in a very different way from the ANC proper; there are traces of almost all of the frames within the charter. The Women's Charter adapted the culturally based frame of tribal affiliation and melded it with the economic frame of relative deprivation. According to the charter, "The tribal and kinship society to which they [women] belonged has been destroyed as a result of the loss of tribal land, migration of men away from the tribal home, the growth of towns and industries, and the rise of a great body of wage-earners on the farms and in the urban areas, who depend wholly or mainly on wages for a livelihood" (FSAW 1954). Women acknowledged their changing role in the home with the removal of the male figurehead, but linked it to their traditional roles and tribal affiliations. Thus, both those who objected to Apartheid for economic reasons and those who objected based on cultural or nationalistic grounds could sympathize with the women's goals. In much of the charter, the drafters refer to women as the wives and mothers of the country, further implementing the cultural frames that stress the traditional family unit and cultural obligations to kin. The chief concern of women, at this point, was the government's intention to issue them passbooks, previously only required for men. Black and Indian South Africans had to carry passbooks at all times, documenting their authorization to live or move within "white" South Africa. Separate passes were required to be out past curfew, work in certain areas, travel across townships, and even purchase certain goods (Walshe 1998, 40


311). Although there had been widespread anti-pass campaigns in the late 1940s, after passes were initially introduced, the results were anticlimactic. Efforts were disorganized and had no success (313). This time women's rights took the forefront and the results had a lasting effect on the movement. The first major protest of the Anti-Pass Campaign occurred on August 9, 1956. Women from across South Africa assembled in Pretoria in hopes of stopping the law's passage. Twenty thousand women were present, many of whom had been recruited through the door-to-door efforts of the FSAW and ANCWL. Songs of strength rang out from the crowds and the Zulu slogan of hint' abafazi, wathint' imbokodo: uzakufa !" ("You have struck a rock, dislodged a boulder you will be crushed.") was adopted, suggesting their determination and important role within the family (Mbeki 2006). Framing was as important to the August 9 th protests as it was for other ANC campaigns. According to interviews with ANCWL member, Amina Cachalia (Govender 2006), special attention had to be paid to the recruitment of women; for example, federation members asked Indian husbands' permission before discussing protest details with Indian wives, suggesting the organization's emphasis on the family unit and cultural sensitivity. Concerned with avoiding mass arrests, as depriving families of their mothers would not garner popular support from men, organizers had women bring individual petitions to the protest. Avoiding one large petition circumvented the Criminal Laws Act, as there was no clear proof of mass organization. Thousands of individual petitions were laid on the steps of the Union building in Pretoria as police watched, but no violence 41


erupted. ANC leaders recognized the steadfastness of the women as a result of the August 9 th protest, despite the fact that the laws were passed and women were forced to carry "reference books," the female version of a passbook. The large turnout of August 9 th later deemed Women's Day (Government of South Africa 2008), may not have prevented the passage of the new pass laws, but it did reignite anti-pass movements throughout South Africa and encourage the ANCWL to continue with its campaign. According to flyers distributed by the ANCWL in June of 1957, the government was suggesting black and Indian women purchase these "reference books" to enable them to work throughout the country. The flyer frames this purchase as modern slavery, guaranteeing the purchaser a ticket to prison (FSAW 1957). Similar to the Women's Charter, anti-pass propaganda stressed both the erosion of the traditional family unit and the relative economic deprivation caused by the pass system: PASSES MEAN PRISON; PASSES MEAN BROKEN HOMES; PASSES MEAN SUFFERING AND MISERY FOR EVERY AFRICAN FAMILY IN OUR COUNTRY; PASSES ARE JUST ANOTHER WAY IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT MAKES SLAVES OF THE AFRICANS; PASSES MEAN HUNGER AND UNEMPLOYMENT; PASSES ARE AN INSULT ( FSAW 1957) At the end of each flyer, women were encouraged to organize in protest. Although marches and sit-ins took place across the country, the status of blacks and Indians changed little over the next few years and the passbooks remained a requirement. Affairs took a drastic turn in March of 1960. The ANC had planned an anti-pass protest that was to begin in April of 1960, in which males were to leave their passbooks at home and face imprisonment without an intention to pay the fine. The Pan African Congress (PAC), a nationalist organization that 42


often disagreed with the tactics of ANC leaders, under leader Mangaliso Sobukwe, planned a similar campaign to start on March 21 st 1960 (van der Westhuizen 2007, 77). Disagreeing over the ANC's nonracial efforts, the PAC took a more militant, Africanist approach to their campaign, suggesting men needed to reclaim Africa (Sibeko 2008). Thousands of men responded throughout South Africa, venturing out without their passbooks, staying home from work, and gathering outside police stations to turn themselves in to authorities. These protests were to result in a demonstration of police brutality that would leave the international community stunned and breathe new fire into the efforts of the ANC. A few days before the massacre a pamphlet was circulated in the townships near Vereeniging (Sharpeville, Bophelong, Boipatong, and Evaton) calling for people to stay away from work that Monday. By 10 in the morning on March 21 st almost 5,000 protesters had congregated in the centre of Sharpeville, from where they walked to the police compound. Similar groups (about 4,000 in total) walked from Bophelong and Boipatong to the police station at Vanderbijlpark, whilst a larger gathering of almost 20,000 people formed at the police station in Evaton (Sibeko 2008). Protesters in Sharpeville were met with unmatched police brutality. At 10:00 am, fewer than twenty police officers were present in the station and the atmosphere was peaceful by all accounts. Police used low-flying Sabre jet fighters to attempt to intimidate the crowd into dispersing, a tactic that had been successful at a similar protest on the same day at Evaton, but it did not work. At 1:15 p.m., Saracen armored vehicles had been setup facing the protesters and police fired upon the crowd (Sibeko 2008). According to 43


police accounts, shots were fired after a rock was thrown at a police vehicle. In the end, sixty-nine protesters (including women and children) were killed and hundreds were injured) (Ellis 1991, 30). The Sharpeville Massacre changed the anti-Apartheid movement in several ways. Public outcry resulted and South Africa found itself in a state of emergency, as mass protests erupted. The National Party government took immediate action. On April 7, 1960, they formally banned the ANC and PAC under th e Unlawful Organisations Act No. 34, which stated that any organization threatening public order could be disbanded. ANC leaders, including Nelson Mandela, were forced underground; while, some, like President Lutuli, were prohibited from moving about the country without government permission. The international community finally took notice. As protests emerged in the United Kingdom and Germany, the United Nations was forced to take action. More directly, however, the ANC, along with its SAIC and SACP allies, realized that peaceable protest was no longer enough. As will be discussed in the next chapter, the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto weSizwe (MK ) formed as a direct resul t and a new era in the antiApartheid movement began (Ellis 1991, 32). 44


Chapter 3: The Militant Years Umkhonto we Sizwe and the "Free Mandela" Campaign Umkhonto we Sizwe meant "Spear of the Nation" and was to become the armed wing of the anti-Apartheid movement, the people's army. Also referred to as MK, this force was organized by the ANC in 1960 with Nelson Mandela, now in hiding, acting as its founding officer. According to Mandela's memoir, the name had strong symbolic relevance. The spear had been the weapon Africans had used to resist white domination for centuries; and, leaders hoped it would once again become the people's weapon of choice (Mandela 1994, 274). Unfamiliar with how to build an army, as the ANC had been a nonviolent organization up to this point, Mandela turned to the writings of famous communist leaders for direction. Mandela notes that Che Guevara, Mao Tse-tung, and Fidel Castro influenced his plans to engage in a guerilla war against the Nationalist government (Mandela 1994, 274-5). Reluctant to use violence in the first place, ANC leaders were wary of acts of terrorism and a complete revolution seemed impossible due to the organization's stifled resources and infantile army. Sabotage, according to Mandela was embraced as a strategy to "frighten National Party supporters, scare away foreign capital, and weaken the economy" (283). Attempts were always made to prevent loss of life, as the ANC was 45


trying to prevent the deterioration of its international image and domestic legitimacy as an organization attempting to improve the lives of the people. On December 16, 1961, the ANC announced the emergence of MK. December 16 th was a bittersweet day in South African Dingane's Day. Dingane was a Zulu leader defeated on that day in 1838 by the Boers. Afrikaners celebrated this day as a triumph over the African people, but Africans saw this as a day of mourning. By beginning its armed struggle on such an important day for both Africans and whites, MK announced that Dingane's fight was to be resumed and with great force (Mandela 1994, 285). MK soldiers detonated makeshift bombs in electrical power stations and government offices on Dingane's Day of 1961. The government was taken by surprise, according to most accounts, but this did not prevent them from reacting. The Special Branch of the national police force was charged with the sole purpose of capturing MK members for acts of sabotage, an atrocious crime in the eyes of the law. The National Party may have attempted to frame the perpetrators of the Dingane's Bombings as villains, but MK leaders were one step ahead of the propaganda (Merrett 1994, 58). Leaflets circulated in major metropolitan areas in mass numbers explaining the intentions of MK, its tactics, and its ideology. The manifesto framed Umkhonto we Sizwe not as terrorists, but as patriots trying to reclaim their nation, in the name of their people, from a racist regime which had chosen a path of violence and repression: We are striking out along a new road for the liberation of the people of this country. The government policy of force, repression and violence will no longer be met with non-violent resistance only! ... Twice in the past 18 months, virtual martial law has been imposed in order to beat down peaceful, non-violent strike action of the people in support of their 46


rights. ... The Nationalist government has chosen the course of force and massacre, now, deliberately, as it did at Sharpeville. Umkhonto we Sizwe will be at the front line of the people's defence. It will be the fighting arm of the people against the government and its policies of race oppression. It will be the striking force of the people for liberty, for rights and for their final liberation! Let the government, its supporters who put it into power, and those whose passive toleration of reaction keeps it in power, take note of where the Nationalist government is leading the country (MK High Command 1961)! Between 1961 and 1963, MK was responsible for approximately 134 acts of sabotage. Many of these acts only caused minor damage to the intended targets. For the people who carried them out, however, it marked a significant contribution to the greater cause (Mandela 1994, 286). Although the ANC restricted its formal membership to Africans, allowing other races participation through affiliated organizations, MK had no such restrictions. It was the ANC's nonracial branch and it was framed as a symbol of the anti-Apartheid struggle and the end to passivity among people of all races within the country. Unfortunately, the successful execution of the various acts of sabotage was not enough to impede the efforts of the National Party Special Branch from pursuing the ANC leadership. Mandela, leader of MK and member of the ANC executive committee, was still living underground during this time. He risked capture during the late part of 1961 and early 1962 in order to attend a Pan African Congress conference in Zambia. Mandela's return received much publicity, and the government was determined to capture him, or risk international mockery. Mandela was arrested at a roadblock in Natal on August 5 th 1962, after a tip-off by the American Central Intelligence Agency to the South African Police (Mandela 1994, 315). Mandela was charged with leaving the country 47


without proper documentation and intent to incitement to strike; he was sentenced to five years imprisonment ( New York Times 1962). Although his capture was a catastrophic setback for the ANC, Mandela's trial became a rally for African nationalism. He was seen not as the terrorist portrayed by the Nationalist government but as a hero. Thousands waited for the verdict outside the courthouse in Pretoria. Concerned with the possibility of mass rioting, the government immediately banned any meetings to protest political arrests or trials, only adding strength to the ANC's "us versus them" message. Mandela became a symbol for the ANC, unafraid of dying for his cause. His speeches and statements, although banned under the Unlawful Organizations Act and as a result of his banning, were published in several underground newspapers, circulating throughout the country with rapid speed. In order to "enhance the symbolism" of his role, Mandela represented himself in court and wore a traditional Xhosa kaross (a tribal robe). His wife, present in the courtroom during the entire trial, also wore traditional Xhosa dress (Mandela 1994, 317; 324). The international press began to take notice. He was dubbed the "black pimpernel" and press coverage suggested his place in South Africa's history as the first martyr for the movement (A.S., 1964). The call and response chant of Amandla! Ngawethu could be heard from inside the courtroom. Literally translated, this means "power to us" (Nzo, 1980). The campaign to free Mandela would become a major source of international support for the ANC and would not end for several decades. 1 It was at this point in ANC history that another transition began. Previously a nonviolent organization working 48 1 The Free Mandela Campaigns will be discussed in more detail in the following chapter.


within legal means, the ANC had shifted to violent tactics and was now beginning plans for a complete seizure of power. Albert Lutuli 2 Christianity, and the Nobel Peace Prize Political frames are often used in tandem, whether or not it is intentional. Ironically, the day on which MK declared its presence with makeshift bombs, Chief Lutuli, the president of the ANC, was returning from Oslo, where he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of 1960. Lutuli's influence on the ANC dates back to the organization's early history. Lutuli, became involved with the ANC in the 1940s, and was its strongest supporter of a nonviolent approach to resistance. Having spent many years as a teacher and member of the Christian Council of South Africa, he was responsible for imposing many of the religiously based frames used by the ANC. In a 1952 public statement, Lutuli made the connection between God and the struggle against Apartheid unambiguous. "Laws and conditions that tend to debase human personality a God-given force must be relentlessly opposed in the spirit of defiance shown by St. Peter when he said to the rulers of his day: "Shall we obey God or man?" No one can deny that in so far as non-whites are concerned in the Union of South Africa, laws and conditions that debase human personality abound" (Lutuli, 1952). His reference to St. Peter is interesting, as it may be a possible framing tactic. St. Peter, according to the King James Bible (Luke 5:10), was a common fisherman, chosen as a disciple of Jesus for that reason. He was of common origin, but still had the power to 49 2 Note: Luthuli's surname is very often spelled Luthuli, as it is in his autobiography, which was prepared for publication by non-vernacular-speaking friends. Luthuli himself preferred another spelling and signed his name without an "h".


influence people. For the more religious individuals, the reference to this Apostle may have been empowering. Lutuli was able to bring the anti-Apartheid movement to a higher level in the speech. The appeal to religion was an alternative to the nationalism and socialism used by the campaigns of the 1950s and connected it with other religious groups in the international community. The proof of Lutuli's international appeal came on December 10 th 1961, when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of 1960. Lutuli took his acceptance speech as an opportunity to spread the ANC's agenda of racial equality and fairness. The evils of Apartheid, as explained by Lutuli, were not reserved to the borders of his country, but were a plague on all of mankind. "I can only pray, friends, that The All Mighty will give me the strength to make my humble contribution to the peaceful solution of South Africa's, and indeed, the world's problems, for it is not just South Africa, or Africa, there are other parts of the world where there are tensionsMay the day come soon, when the people of the world will rouse themselves, and together effectively stamp out any threat to peace in whatever quarter of the world it may be found. When that day comes, there shall be peace on earth and goodwill amongst me', as was announced by the Angels when that great messenger of peace, Our Lord came to earth" (Lutuli 1961). God and the struggle of the ANC had entered the world stage through the words of Lutuli. Even the address given by Gunnar Jahn, chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee at the time of the award, acknowledged the ANC as an organization working for the common good of all humanity and Lutuli's strong opposition to violent tactics (Jahn 1961) South Africa, according to Jahn, was developed by the efforts of all races and was now being unjustly controlled by whites. Apartheid had been catapulted into the international spotlight through the peaceful preaching of Lutuli and the Nobel Prize 50


Committee's acknowledgement. The condemnation received by the South African government from the greater World would be a strong influence on their policy and the ANC would use it to its great advantage. Although more attention was now being given to events within South Africa's borders, the National Party did not lessen its attempts to wipe out the ANC leadership and its influence. The Rivonia Trial and Robben Island The bustling suburb of Rivonia has grown up around the old Lilliesleaf farm house, but in the early 1960s it was an isolated farm location, and the perfect place for banned members of the ANC to hide-out from the ubiquitous and highly efficient police and security services. At that time, a security officer of the National Party, Johan Coetzee, had infiltrated one of his agents, Gerard Ludi, into Umkhonto we Sizwe. Acting on his information, police surrounded Lilliesleaf Farm in Rivonia on July 11, 1963. When the police burst in, they found virtually the entire leadership of the MK: Walter Sisulu, who had skipped bail after facing a six-year jail term, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mahlaba, Ahmed Kathrada, Lionel Bernstein and Dennis Goldberg, both from the Congress of Democrats, Raymond Mhlaba and Elias Motsoaledi members of the MK High Command, and Bob Hepple, a lawyer. At the moment the police came through the door, the men were studying Operation Mayibuye, an Umkhonto proposal for guerrilla war, insurrection and revolution (van der Westhuizen 2007, 98). Operation Mayibuye was perhaps one of the most incriminating documents that could have been found on the farm, as it explicitly laid out plans for an all-out war 51


against the state. The specific duties of the intelligence department of MK, along with a description of the military organization were written in great detail (MK High Command 1963). Unfortunately for the ANC, Operation Mayibuye was not the only evidence of planned warfare found at the farm; the personal diary of Nelson Mandela, who was serving his five-year sentence for the crimes already mentioned, was found among the over 100 documents hidden at the farm. The journal was filled with Mandela's accounts of MK's formation, his underground travels, and plans against the government (Mandela 1994, 350). The raid of Lilliesleaf Farm connected Mandela and other ANC leadership to MK, giving the government the ammunition needed to bring them all to trial. All present that day were arrested and, along with Mandela, were brought to trial on charges of sabotage. They all faced the death sentence. The Rivonia Trial, as it became known, was as much about political framing as it was about enforcing the laws of South Africa. For eleven months after the raid, the underlying question in the trial was whether or not they would be hung, which would have transformed them, from heroes of the African opposition into martyrs Perhaps it was the hope of the prosecution that the eleven leaders would deny their intentions and their beliefs, and be framed by the media as cowardly criminals; this was not the case. The men were able to elude the death penalty by claiming that Operation Mayibuye was a rough draft, not yet adopted by MK; they did not, however, deny their opposition to the government. During the trial, the accused took the opportunity to unambiguously state the policies of the government to which they were opposed. 52


At the trial, Nelson Mandela chose to make a statement from the dock rather than the witness stand. It provided the scope for a clear and uninterrupted statement of principle. In the opening passages of his defense, Mandela admitted much of the substance of the state's case. He had helped to form MK and he had helped to plan its sabotage campaign. 'Civil war', though, remained an optional 'last resort', one that had yet to be decided upon. The ANC had formed an alliance with the multiracial Communist Party, though the two organizations did not share 'a complete community of interests' (Mandela 1964). In his statement, Mandela defended the ANC's alliance with the Communist Party in what was certainly the most explicit commentary on this subject by an ANC leader to date. Mandela said he had been influenced by Marxism, but, unlike communists he retained admiration for the Western and particularly the British parliamentary system, 'the most democratic in the world'. MK was an African movement, fighting for dignity, for decent livelihoods, and for equal rights. Mandela ended his statement with an exposition of his personal standpoint: Africans want to be paid a living wage. Africans want to perform work which they are capable of ... Africans want to be allowed to live where they obtain work, and not be endorsed out of an area because they were not born there. Africans want to be allowed to own land in places where they work ... Africans want to be part of the general population and not confined to living in their own ghettoes. African men want to have their wives and children with them where they work... Above all, we want equal political rights ... I know it sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be African. But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all... During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and 53


free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die (Mandela 1964). This eloquent testimonial was reproduced in virtually every important newspaper world wide. It would remain for decades to come the definitive expression of liberal African nationalism, cementing Mandela's iconic status in South Africa and importantly for the ANC internationally. Both the African and Western press took to the defense of the men, all acknowledging both the wrongdoings of the government and the serious confrontations that would occur if a death sentence were handed down (Conley, 1964). On June 12, 1964, eight of the men who stood trial were sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela, Sisulu, Mbeki, Motsoaledi, Mahlaba, Kathrada, Mlangeni, and Goldberg were taken from the courtroom. All but Goldberg, who was white, were taken to Robben Island, the maximum security prison used to house black political prisoners (Karis and Gerhart 1977, 673). The country was outraged; the 2,000 protestors outside the courthouse sang African freedom songs and chanted Amandla !" and Mrs. Sisulu donned a Xhosa gown and headdress (Winnie Mandela was only permitted in the courtroom, if she promised not to wear such items.) (773-84). The outcry of support for the convicted leaders was a powerful unifier for the movement. Lutuli immediately released a statement appealing for the world's help; his message was one of peace: This is an appeal to save these men, not merely as individuals, but for what they stand for. In the name of justice, of hope, of truth and of peace, I appeal to South Africa's strongest allies, Britain and America. In the name of what we have come to believe Britain and America stand for, I appeal to those two powerful countries to take decisive action for full-scale action 54


for sanctions that would precipitate the end of the hateful system of Apartheid (Lutuli, 1964). Oliver Tambo, however, took a different approach. The younger and more militant leader appealed to the African people and warned the international community. He warned of a new phase in African history, "a phase which will embroil the continent of Africa and destroy the foundations of international peace"(Tambo, 1964). Again, there were two methods of framing at work within the same organization. Lutuli, as was his custom, took a more peaceful approach, whereas Tambo empowered the people through the use of stronger language, referring to the whites in South Africa as "bloodsuckers and tyrants." In flyers distributed both before and during the trial through the use of leaflet bombs (a device used to distribute flyers aerially) in large urban areas of the country, the militancy expressed by Tambo was mirrored. A flyer circulated in October of 1963 demands the release of the people's leaders and the return of the government to the native majority. Interestingly, the flyer also addresses the white people of the country, warning of the coming international pressures and the increased determination of MK. It even goes so far as to say, "WHITE MANTHE WORLD IS AGAINST YOU" (ANC, 1963). In another flyer, the ANC boldly declares that the African people are at war with the South African government (ANC, 1968). It seems as though everyone acknowledged that major changes within the ANC would be coming. The Morogoro Conference of 1969 Although ANC protests, sit-ins, and strikes occurred over the next few years, the major changes foreshadowed by Tambo and Lutuli became solidified on May 1, 1969, at 55


its annual conference in Morogoro, Tanzania. Certain goals and achievements were to be laid out at the conference, which was attended by over seventy delegates from the ANC, SACP, various Indian people's organizations, and the PAC (Ndebele and Noor 2005, 573). Several important frames were utilized during the conference. The ANC called upon frames emphasizing socialism, African unity, and nonracialism once more in an effort to strengthen the movement. In a document entitled Strategy and Tactics of the ANC which was officially adopted at the meeting, the frames were interwoven into a new organizational policy with interesting results. At this time in Africa's history, several countries were battling for their independence. The ANC urged Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique and the other organizations working within South Africa to unite against "imperialist regimes." There was to be a return of the land to its native people. The socialist frame was once again implemented at this point in the document as the ANC unapologetically pinned itself to the international anti-imperialist movement that was taking place abroad. The opening paragraph states, "The struggle of the oppressed people of South Africa is taking place within an international context of transition to the Socialist system, of the breakdown of the colonial system as a result of national liberation and socialist revolutions, and the fight for social and economic progress by the people of the whole world" (Strat. and Tac. 1968). Later in the document, the ANC criticizes Britain, the United States, Western Germany, and France for aiding the governments of Southern Africa in their imperialist quests. Ndebele and Noor argue that Strategy and Tactic s, along with the entire conference was centered on communist ideals (2005, 598) but this argument seems to 56


disregard the importance influence of multi racialism present at the conference and in the document. Both concepts seem to be equally important. One of the central issues within the ANC has always been the membership status of non-blacks. With the organization's increased emphasis on mass action, even war, there needed to be a united front in order to achieve success. The solution to the issue was a reduction in size of the National Executive Committee and the creation of a Revolutionary Council, which would coordinate the affairs of the various anti-Apartheid movements working both within and outside of the country (Ndebele and Noor 2005, 596). Membership in the ANC was finally extended to all those opposed to Apartheid. The organizations sentiments were stated eloquently in Strategy and Tactics: We are revolutionaries not narrow nationalists. Committed revolutionaries are our brothers to whatever group they belong. There can be no second class participants in our Movement. It is for the enemy we reserve our assertiveness and our justified sense of grievance." The importance of trade unions and the working class was also given due attention at the conference. The wealth of the land had to be returned to its people. The working class, according to the ANC, was imperative to this struggle (Strat. and Tac., 1968). Class consciousness and national consciousness were complimentary in South Africa. In order to be successful, the working classes of all oppressed nations in Southern Africa had to stand united. A few years later, in 1975, the NEC released another appeal from Morogoro. In the declaration, it asked for the help of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in its fight against the Apartheid regimes. The OAU was founded in 1963 to promote cooperation among the newly independent African nations. The "Bantustan policy 57


designed to dismember our motherland, break the OAU, and destroy the liberation movement" (ANCNEC, 1975) had to be economically isolated from the rest of the country and the world. In its call for isolation, the importance of the workforce and economic structures in the country were given significance and became key elements of the labor frames popularized in the late 1970s and into the 1980s. The ANC used the common cultural and nationalist frames when appealing to fellow African countries through its language of inclusion. Pronouns like "our" and the term "motherland" enforced the common heritage and unity that was vital to its success and increase racial consciousness. The South African Students Organization, Soweto, and Steven Biko Racial consciousness played a prominent role in organizing the student population of South Africa. In 1968, the South African Students Organization (SASO) was formed with Steven Biko, a charismatic student, acting as its president. SASO was founded due to the Apartheid regime's inability to provide adequate higher education institutions for the black, Indian, and coloured populations within the country. The organization quickly became affiliated with the international Black Consciousness Movement; although, "black," according to SASO, was used to refer to all oppressed races within South Africa in an effort to undermine the mechanisms put in place to ethnically divide the country (Franklin 2002). Robert Fatton argues that the student movement was given its theoretical framework from the Black Power movements in the United States, but points out that it was adapted for the South African situation (1986, 599). Blacks in South Africa 58


were a racial majority and could thus take more control than in the United States, but liberation was first necessary. SASO's tactics and aims were somewhat more militant than those of the ANC, according to Franklin (2003, 212), SASO resisted the involvement of any whites in the movement, because they were seen as representing the oppressive system. As a result, its protests were not often supported by the organization. The power of the black students to organize mass protests came to a climax in Soweto, Johannesburg on June 16 th 1976. Black students in Soweto protested against the Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974 which forced all black schools to use Afrikaans as an official language. Seeing Afrikaans as the language of the oppressive government, students became outraged. Resentment grew until April 30, 1976, when young students at Orlando West Junior School in Soweto went on strike, refusing to go to school. Rebellion spread to other schools in Soweto. Teboho 'Tsietsi' Mashinini proposed a meeting on June 13 th ,1976 where students formed the Soweto Students' Representative Council that organized a mass rally for June 16 th 1976 to make themselves heard (Franklin 2002, 211). On the morning of June 16, 1976, thousands of black students walked from their schools to Orlando Stadium for a rally to protest against having to learn through Afrikaans in school. The protest was intended to be peaceful and had been carefully planned by the Soweto Students' Representative Council's (SSRC) Action Committee, with support from the wider Black Consciousness Movement. The crowd of between 3,000 and 10,000 students made their way towards the area of the protest (Middleton 2002, 52). 59


Colonel Kleingeld, an officer on duty, began to feel threatened by the growing crowd, drew his handgun and fired a shot, causing panic and chaos. The first person to be shot was Hastings Ndlovu, followed by 12-year-old Hector Pieterson. The photograph taken of his body became a symbol of police brutality. The rioting continued and twentythree people died on the first day in Soweto. The violence escalated over the day as the students panicked; liquor stores and bars were targeted as many believed that alcohol was used by the government to control black people. The violence abated by nightfall. Police vans and armored vehicles patrolled the streets throughout the night. Protests would spread across the country and the country entered a state of emergency. The police cracked down with overwhelming force, killing over 174 blacks and wounding over 1,000 (Kessler, 1976). Soweto had become the new Sharpeville and would be carried in people's memories throughout the anti-Apartheid movement. Although not directly involved, the ANC took immediate action after events in Soweto. Mandela, who was serving his sentence in Robben Island, issued a statement, which took two years to reach the people, but his words are telling and frame the massacre with great care. That verdict is loud and clear: Apartheid has failed. Our people remain unequivocal in its rejection. The young and the old, parent and child, all reject it. At the forefront of this 1976/77 wave of unrest were our students and youth. They come from the universities, high schools and even primary schools. They are a generation whose whole education has been under the diabolical design of the racists to poison the minds and brainwash our children into docile subjects of Apartheid rule. But after more than twenty years of Bantu Education the circle is closed and nothing demonstrates the utter bankruptcy of Apartheid as the revolt of our youth. Those who live by the gun shall parish by the gun (Mandela 1980)! 60


In a leaflet bomb released on July 8, 1976, Soweto was likened to Sharpeville and the people were referred to as the sons and daughters of Africa, a clear call for nationalism. The leaflet ended with the statement, "VORSTER YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED! IZAKUNYATHELI AFRIKA ," which means "Africa will trample you!" (ANC Flyer, 1976). The rapid response of the ANC and the international community only outraged the government further. The Soweto Massacre generated a wave of protest both at home and abroad. In South Africa, it sounded the call for a younger generation of black activists to take up the struggle. Overseas, officials of the ANC pressed foreign governments to boycott South African goods and refuse to sell weapons to the South African police and military. On August 21, 1977, the South African police finally arrested Steven Biko, whom they held responsible for the discontent of black youth and the desires to overthrow the government. He was brought to trial on charges of importing and spreading "anti-white" values associated with the Black Power movement (Franklin 2003, 212). Biko died on September 12 th while in police custody of a head injury before his trial even began. Originally, police stated that he had gone on a hunger strike and later changed their story. He had become the movement's first true major martyr, often referenced in international media about Apartheid afterwards. The 1960s and 1970s as a Time of Transition The 1960s and 1970s marked a transitional phase in the Anti-Apartheid movement. Although the message of peace and friendship was still echoed by old guard leaders such 61


as Lutuli, the ANC took a much more combative approach to negotiations with the government. The Sharpeville Massacre had flipped the switch in the minds of many African youth and the result was the formation of MK, responsible for several bombings and acts of sabotage over the years that followed. Violence had become part of the ANC arsenal of tactics, although the organization managed to use framing in order to portray these acts not as terrorism, but as a forced form of patriotism. In fact, 1979 was declared the "Year of the Spear" by the ANC in commemoration of the centenary of the great battle when amabutho ka Cetshwayo won at the battle of Isandhlwana against colonizers. In a statement released by the MK High Command, the use of violence was movingly linked with the culture of the African people and the traditions of unity and courage. "Whilst basing ourselves on the positive traditions of our people we have to wage a bitter struggle against negative traditions and tendencies: laziness, complacency, "impatience", sectarianism and factionalism of any kind. This is the essence of the interconnection between revolution and tradition" (Year of Spear, 2009). Nationalism still remained a powerful force in the struggle, which was spurred on during this time by many charismatic leaders. The various trials that occurred over this time may have imprisoned important leaders, but this repression did not deter their activities. Working from behind bars, men like Mandela and Mbeki became symbols of the struggle, framing their lives as part of a nationalist effort to take back the motherland. Nationalist frames were critical to both the students movement and MK efforts; these frames took a new dimension due to the influence of the Black Consciousness Movement in the United States. The Morogoro 62


Conference, on the other hand, focused on economic issues, borrowing heavily from the communist framework. The ANC's Strategy and Tactics acknowledged the importance of the working class as well as the importance of international solidarity, especially among other African Nations. The international community had become an important ally in the ANC struggle and would maintain that role throughout the coming decades. The newfound militancy within the organization would remain; however, the 1980s would see an increased emphasis placed on the workers of the country and economic policies abroad. If the 1960s and early 1970s were the years of radical activism, the 1980s would be the decade of economic campaigning. 63


Chapter 4: The Importance of the Working Class and Appealing to the International Community The Importance of Speaking Abroad and the Creation of International Solidarity As early as in 1963, the United Nations was taking action to formally support the anti-Apartheid movement. In that year, the Special Committee Against Apartheid was formed, which supplied anti-Apartheid organizations, especially the ANC, with resources and financial support (Thorn 2006, 292). The Organization for African Unity, a year later, encouraged its member states to actively support the efforts of the ANC through economic sanctions and an oil embargo. In 1973, referring to this earlier declaration by the OAU, the UN General Assembly declared the ANC an authentic representation of the will of the people and allowed its representatives to speak to the Assembly (UN 1994, 30). These major gestures of approval from influential international institutions were embraced by the ANC leadership and became significant aspects of their framing efforts in the later years. Throughout the late 1970s and the 1980s, ANC leaders took the opportunity to speak abroad. These speeches tended to take two different approaches. In several speeches, leaders addressed the struggle in communist terms and emphasized the economic stratification in the country. The other prominent frame used by the organization was that of a common right to freedom, a moral obligation to end Apartheid. 64


All of these trips abroad had the same goal of ending Apartheid through economic sanctions and outside political pressure. According to Hakan Thorn solidarity was the defining characteristic of the transnational anti-Apartheid effort (2006, 295) An imagined community of solidarity was created among churches, NGOs, and individuals through the boycotts and embargoes called for by the ANC; people were given the chance to participate in the movement despite their limited resources and constraints (296). In this way, people were able to pressure governments and corporations to implement the sanctions that would influence the National Party regime. Socialism, the Working Class, and the International Community Previous chapters have illustrated the importance of the socialist paradigm in the framing of the ANC struggle against Apartheid. This paradigm became an even stronger and more blatant influence in the late 1970s. A marked difference can be seen in the vocabulary used by leaders when addressing the international community, as opposed to the common South African citizen. New phraseology stressed international solidarity, a move Thorn (2006) considers having been necessary for the success of a movement. Oliver Tambo's speech to the First Congress of Angola in 1977 utilized the new lexicon of the ANC, with its stronger and more aggressive frames; Cold War influences can also be observed, as capitalism became associated with Western countries in a negative manner. Angola, which had recently been liberated from Portuguese rule by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), was a communist country and member of the OAU (Tvedten 1997, 29). Some of the key elements of Tambo's address 65


involved his creation of an imagined community built on socialist ideals. Tambo calls for "a future free of exploitation and the "anti-human system of capitalism" (Tambo 1977). According to the speech, the victory of the Angolan people is a victory for the entire socialist world, including the Soviet Union and Cuba. The creation of an international struggle against capitalism was heavily emphasized in this address. "The collective revolutionary experience of the peoples of southern Africa teaches us that where the enemy refuses to accede to this demand, then its realisation has to be fought for We have seen imperialist attempts to Balkanise and dismember Angola itself" (Tambo 1977). Connections between South America, Southern African, and Eastern Europe serve to link the people abroad with the ANC's cause. Tambo also began to associate the violent tactics of Vorster, the President of South Africa at the time, with capitalism and Western support. The South African government assisted the Angolan government during the MPLA revolution and they were, obviously, unsuccessful. Tambo suggested that the failure of Vorster's invasion would be indicative of his coming economic failures under the oppressive capitalist system. Despite the economic approach in this speech, Tambo managed to play on collective memories and sympathies; he referenced Soweto as being the symbol of Vorster's violence, no doubt an attempt to activate non-economic agitation with the regime. In terms of his choice of language, Tambo's speech is far less militant than those addressing the people of South Africa. Although still direct with his sentiments, his language is more elevated and the structure is more complex. By using terms like "proletarian internationalism" (Tambo 1977), Tambo differentiated the language of ANC leadership in the political community 66


from its language during grassroots, community-oriented campaigning. In speeches that followed, Tambo also used the term "black" to refer to all oppressed people in an effort not to contribute to the classification system of the National Party (Tambo 1981a). Anti-Western sentiments and support for other socialist African countries fighting for liberation was evident in Tambo's address at the meeting to observe the SACP's 60 th anniversary, which was held in London 1 Unlike statements made by Mandela and Lutuli, Tambo directly aligned the ANC with the SACP. He maintained their separate identities, but suggested that their goals were interchangeable. Without economic emancipation, political equality cannot be achieved. Tambo, speaking on behalf of the ANC, emphasized the importance of the working class and their right to strike, stating that employers who wish to punish workers, do so at their "own peril" (Tambo 1981a). The alliance between workers across the world and those in South Africa became a major network for mobilizing support. "These parties, together with other communist and workers parties around the world, are parties which we can always appeal to for solidarity in the conviction that they will respond" (Tambo 1981a). No longer stressing black consciousness and nationalism, Tambo shifted to more economic frames; however, he still managed to insert nationalistic statements, playing on collective identities. The 25 th anniversary of the Women's March on Pretoria and the 20 th anniversary of MK were mentioned, most likely to remind people of the ANC's long history and common struggle. 67 1 At this point in time, both the SACP and the ANC had headquarters in New York and London, as well as South Africa.


With regard to the United States under Ronald Reagan, Tambo accused it of violating the Geneva Convention with its invasion of Angola and its aid to insurgents opposing the MPLA. and suggested that is "when our people were butchered and assassinated" (Tambo 1981a). The ANC outright condemned the United States both for its assistance to the South African government and for other initiatives attempting to halt popular liberation movements in Africa. The ANC's attempts to frame the Reagan administration as its enemy were not new. A few months earlier, at a conference at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Tambo acknowledged that the ANC was classified by both the United States and Great Britain as a terrorist organization, but felt that this was an imperialist attempt to maintain international dominance (Tambo 1981b). At this point, Tambo reverted back to a racially motivated frame, creating a sense of solidarity between the racially oppressed people of South Africa and the formally oppressed African-American population, calling on their experiences of slavery to create a sense of empathy. The ANC's ability to connect its struggle to the rest of South Africa would continue throughout the decade. In 1989, at the Conference of the Socialist International and Frontline States of Southern Africa, for example, the organization acknowledged the success of Zimbabwe's liberation movements in terms similar to the way it did for Angola, but the statement was used as another opportunity to discuss South Africa's situation and create solidarity (Tambo 1989). The success of liberation movements around Southern Africa, especially since socialist regimes were often installed, seemed to be a major rallying point for the ANC and a major problem for the National Party regime. 68


Domestic Workers, Mass Strikes, and a State of Emergency The importance of working class solidarity across territorial borders only mirrored the importance which it held within South Africa and the ANC's campaigns. The 1980s was the decade of organized labor within South Africa. The right to organize and go on strike had always been championed by the ANC, proof of which could be seen in both the Freedom Charter and the Programme of Action. With this agenda, the organization found an obvious ally in the South Africa Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) in the early 1950s. SACTU eventually merged with the Council of Non-European Trade Unions (CNETU) and became the trade union arm of the ANC (Mandela 1994, 217). Such an alliance provided the ANC with an invaluable connection to the urban workforce, but the affiliation did have its shortfalls. SACTU was given aid by the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), which was heavily dominated by Communists (Thorn 2006, 294). This fact only served to isolate the SACTU, and to a lesser extent the movement headed by the ANC, from Western countries. A breakthrough was achieved in 1979, when black laborers were legally given the right to organize (S.A. Blacks Strije 1986). The ANC-SACTU alliance took on a new prominence and would find itself surrounded by new labor-based organizations. In 1983, the United Democratic Front (UDF) was formed. The plans for this new political organization were introduced by Reverend Alan Boesak at a conference of the Transvaal Anti-South African Indian Council Election Committee (TASC) on January 23, 1983, which protested the unjust election of council members. Trade unions were pivotal to the UDF. Union association with the UDF emerged early in the 1980s and became the basis 69


of UDF mobilization. UDF pursued a strategy known as "ungovernability," an effort to disregard any orders or regulations stemming from the white power structure (Seekings 2000). The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) was formed only two years later, in 1985. The three organizations, COSATU, UDF, and SACTU incorporated almost ninety per cent of black workers in South Africa were affiliated with a labor organization (Ellis 1991, 195). The black labor force within the country had found an organized voice in the 1980s; although ANC-organized wage strikes had occurred since the 1940s, what occurred in 1985 and 1986 was on a scale not yet matched. The ANC embraced the concept of ungovernability in late 1985. While still focusing on the economic incentives to mobilize, the ANC fostered and built on an increased sense of nationalism at this time, as major events in South Africa were occurring. The SACP had, for the first time in over three decades, flown its flag at the funeral of a party member, many countries had imposed sanctions on South Africa, and membership in UDF and SACTU was rising (Merrett 1994, 113). With the distribution of a flyer that called for the creation of intentional chaos and the destruction of the rule of law, the ANC placed itself in the center of the turmoil: TAKING THE WAR TO THE WHITE AREAS MEANS : Strengthening our workers organisations and engaging in united action in the factories, mines, farms and suburbs. Spreading the consumer boycott to all areas of the country. Organised and well-planned demonstrations in the White suburbs and central business districts. Forming underground units and combat groups in our places of work and taking such actions as sabotage in the factories, mines, farms and suburbs, and disrupt the enemy's oil, energy, transport, communications and other vital systems. 70


* Systematic attacks against the army and police and the so-called area defence units in the White areas Well-planned raids on the armouries and arms dumps of the army, police, farmers and so on to secure arms for our units (White Areas 1985). With the distribution of this flyer and a mass workers' protest in early July, the Botha administration declared a state of emergency, allowing police to act with their own discretion. This decision was supported by the Reagan administration, which was consistent with its general policy of cosmetic reform within South Africa and classification of the ANC as a terrorist organization (Merrett 1994, 114). Despite censorship of the press, Tambo was able to respond to events within forty-eight hours on Radio Freedom an underground broadcast. His address called both the U.S. and the Botha administration fascists and called the people to "break down and destroy the old order, make Apartheid unworkable and our country ungovernable" in an effort to restore the country to the people (Tambo, 1985). The use of the word fascist was a direct result of Communist influence. The speech also made reference to the vital role whites played in the struggle; they were cast as vital assistants in the effort to bring down the "enemy." Tambo subtly invoked nationalism in this speech as well. He used possessive pronouns in references to the country, but not the government. The government is referred to as "they" or "it," reinforcing the sense of otherness. The state of emergency was ended in January 1986 and the strict censorship of media was relaxed (Merrett 1994, 114), but the lull in government repression did not last long. The much hated Pass Laws were abolished in April 1986 under the Botha administration, but this change was not met with celebration, as they were replaced with 71


increased police powers, including the ability of police to raid homes without a warrant and prevent unrest in black townships through the use of force (Gargan 1986). Concern over the repeal of the Pass Laws and the new police powers were coupled with COSATUANC plans for mass protests on May 1 st in an effort to make May Day a public holiday. About 1.5 million black workers stayed away from their jobs on May 1, 1986 and seemed to reflect the growing readiness of militant labor unions to become embroiled in political activism. Many black schools were deserted as pupils boycotted classes in support of the strike. The stoppage was nearly total in some areas, forcing whites to undertake tasks normally done by blacks, such as cooking in restaurants and pumping gasoline (Dallas Morning News 1986). With such success, the ANC demonstrated the economic power of the black people. Fearing the downfall of the Apartheid system despite its recent concessions, President Botha declared a state of emergency in South Africa on June 12 th (Merrett 1994, 114-17). This declaration only added fuel to the ANC's arguments about the exploitation of the black workforce at the hands of the white minority. In the June issue of Dawn ( 1986 ) the journal published by MK, Tambo assured the people that the state of emergency was a last attempt by the government to save a "tottering" system. He was also able to spin the declaration into a positive source for media attention. By making the declaration just four days before the tenth anniversary of the Soweto Massacre, Botha caused the international media to turn its gaze to the country. Assuring the people that the international community supported their efforts, Tambo issued a call for the "revolt of the enslaved." 72


Let June 16, 1986, be the take-off to new heights of struggle for a new South Africa in this decade of liberation, the decade of the 80s. The time has come for a showdown with the forces of oppression, repression and exploitation. Fighting with us are the peoples of the world. International pressures are being mobilised at this time as never before, precisely around the tenth anniversary of the Soweto Uprising (Tambo 1986a). Although style was still sophisticated, the language used by Tambo in this domestic publication was much less subtle. It spoke more of revolution and called more on the emotions of the people. The nationalistic undertone was much more prevalent. He referred to those who died at Soweto as heros and South Africa as "the soil of our Motherland." His descriptions were much more vivid, no doubt an attempt to mobilize collective memories, which may not have been as salient to the international community. The Capitalist World and the ANC Nationalist language may not have attracted the sympathies of Western leaders, but the language of God and morality seemed to be a viable alternative. In a 1980 statement to the World Council of Churches, Tambo takes a softer approach to framing the ANC struggle. There is no take of armed struggle or revolution as there was in speeches delivered to communist organizations. The language was softer, playing more to a sense of common humanity and religious obligation. Tambo's religious argument stemmed around the proclamation that Christianity was based on the equality of men, all of whom were created in his image; thus, true Christians were hypocritical if they were not to adamantly oppose Apartheid. At no point in his speech, however, does Tambo rescind his contempt for certain Western countries: 73


"Even more disturbing is what seems to us a veritable offensive on the part of certain Western church circles to disengage the World Christian community from the struggle to combat racism; to separate and oppose one to the other, the temporal and the sacred, the material and the spiritual; to deny that the church has a task to create such conditions that mankind can, without distinction of race or nationality, "be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth and subdue it" (Tambo 1980). Tambo ends his speech with a call to the Christian churches of the world to unite against Apartheid in honor of the Freedom Charter's 25 th anniversary. This connection was undoubtedly made in an effort to recall collective memories of unity and nonracialism in order to counteract the political divides of the Cold War. Calls to nationalism were not ignored all together in this speech, as Tambo melds religion with nationalism by claiming that Botha uses "fascist repression to ensure that the people do not rise to regain their right to determine their political, economic and social destiny without let or hindrance" (Tambo 1980). The international religious community responded favorably to the ANC's religious image. An international day of prayer was organized by the World Council of Churches to pray for the end of Apartheid. It was scheduled for the 10 th anniversary of the Soweto Massacre (Day of Prayer 1986). Framing the struggle in religious terms dulled the harsh images brought to Western minds by socialism and talk of revolution in the social context. Entering Western institutions and agreements may have served the same purpose in the political realm. On November 28 th 1980, the ANC declared its adherence to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (Signing Declaration 1980). The ANC was no longer a rouge terrorist organization, but a civilized member of the international community, adhering to the norms of 74


international law. The act of signing the conventions legitimized the anti-Apartheid struggle and made it difficult to deny the importance of the ANC. ANC leadership went on the defensive in the 1980s against its reputation as a Moscow puppet with terrorist intentions. Speaking to an audience at Howard University in 1981, Tambo found a middle ground between the revolutionary militancy of his communist speeches and the appeals to humanity in his religious speeches. He again connected the South African struggle to blacks in the United States, arguing that the imperialism of the United States would lead to U.S. black oppression (Tambo 1981b). The ANC portrayed its struggle as an international battle against imperialism, with a united campaign of sanctions being the strongest weapon. This economic message was echoing that of Alfred Nzo's speech a year earlier (Nzo 1980). In a speech delivered in Geneva, Nzo stressed Apartheid's oppression of the working class. Regardless of race, policies in South Africa hindered the success of the people and unionization and economic pressures were the only solution. Nzo's call was simple. The people of South Africa had to unionize to find a voice and the international corporations had to extend their support through the revisions of their business policies within the country. A free South Africa, according to Nzo was profitable for both investors and the people. The harsh reaction of Botha to black protests in the mid-1980s, through the declaration of a state of emergency, may have caused Western sentiments to shift heavily in favor of sanctions against South Africa and produced sympathy for blacks. The ANC's calls to action were being heard. Although still publicly declared a terrorist organization by the British and U.S. governments, the ANC was allowed into the Commonwealth 75


meetings of 1985, where they were permitted to speak on behalf of the South African people (Thorn 1994, 291). Tambo, in his address, took the offensive against the U.S. and the Britain. Their use of the UN Security Council veto was criticized. Without international cooperation in the implementation of sanctions, the strength of the international community to take action was questioned ( Tambo 1986b ). Race did not play as much of a role in this argument, but the well-being of international institutions was vital. Coupling this argument with a description of the dismal economic and social situation in South Africa evoked change in EEC policy. After the conference, the EEC strengthened the Code of Conduct that had governed the conduct of European firms in South African since the late 1970s. Embargoes were placed on any items that could aid the South African police in repressing black protests and on oil (Kruetz 2005, 24). Although certain governments may have been reluctant to place sanctions on the Apartheid regime, NGOs and philanthropic organizations threw their support behind the ANC, showering leaders with awards and recognition. Throughout the decade, dozens of honors were bestowed on Mandela, Tambo, and Sisulu. At each acceptance, the ANC leadership took advantage of the spotlight. At a 1986 acceptance of the Third World Prize on behalf Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Oliver Tambo used nationalist frames to make a compelling speech against the Botha regime. The speech was appropriate given the organization presenting the award was mainly concerned with improving the quality of life in developing countries. Religion had been twisted, according to Tambo, to justify economic oppression and the U.S. extension of the Monroe Doctrine had crippled the 76


Third World, preventing the people from controlling the land which was rightfully theirs ( Tambo 1986a ). In a 1988 speech accepting the British Trade Union Congress Gold Medal on behalf of Mandela, Nzo utilized a different frame, which waas more fitting to his audience. "We are confident that the working class conscious of their responsibility to lead the struggle for national liberation, will never be cowed into submission" (Nzo 1988) Nzo took a labor/unionization framing approach in this speech. Asking for increased solidarity among SACTU, COSATU, and international affiliates, increased sanctions were requested, while little attention was paid to any sense of nationalism or natural rights to the land, as in Tambo's speech. These targeted speeches were commonplace in the late 1980s. Leaders were able to tailor their discussion of the struggle to activate the interests and sympathies of their audiences. The whirlwind international tour of acceptance speeches increased international media attention and political sanctions. The Botha administration was forced to respond. The Beginning of Negotiations and the Biopatong Massacre On February 10 th 1990, under President de Klerk, the South African government lifted the ban on the ANC, the SACP, and the UDF; in addition, the restrictions placed on the media were lifted, the death penalty was suspended, and Mandela, Sisulu, and Mbeki were released from Robben Island. Although viewed as positive steps in the direction of freedom, the National Executive Committee did not see these measures as sufficient. It 77


vowed for a continuation of armed struggle until free elections occurred and political prisoners were released (Ottaway 1990). The efforts to negotiate a power-sharing agreement began in May of 1990 and resulted in the Groote Schuur Minute a commitment between the two parties towards the resolution of the existing climate of violence and intimidation as well as the removal of practical obstacles to negotiation, including indemnity from prosecution for returning exiles and the release of political prisoners (Minutes and Accords, 1991). In August of that year, the ANC reluctantly agreed to the Pretoria Minute, which suspended MK activities and committed the ANC to a policy of nonviolence. Unfortunately, violence against the ANC did not end. Throughout the later part of 1990, violent attacks and assassinations were made against ANC leadership and de Klerk declared the country to be in a state of unrest, which weakened confidence in de Klerk's commitment to end racial oppression ( Houston Chronicle 1990). According to the Washington Post negotiations were suspended by the ANC after a three-day conference in December of 1990 until de Klerk's administration demonstrated its devotion to developing a Constitution of equality. De Klerk's response was telling, as he criticized the ANC for its tactics, which, he argued instigated violence. Negotiations would not resume until late 1991 at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) under the chairmanship of the judges Michael Corbett, Petrus Shabort and Ismail Mahomed. The first session lasted a few days, and working groups were appointed to deal with specific issues of a power-sharing agreement. Negotiations continued through a second round, CODESA II. CODESA II, however, was brought to a 78


brutal end with the Biopatong Massacre of June 1992. Forty-six people were killed by the militant Inkatha Freedom Party. In the eyes of the ANC, the perpetrators were aided by de Klerk administration, who were indirectly responsible (Biopatong Massacre 1992). The ANC took to the streets with a program of "rolling mass action." There was a renewed call for violent struggle similar to that in the early 1960s (Mandela 1994, 604), which was met with tragedy in the Bisho massacre in September 1992, when the poorly trained troops from the Ciskei homeland opened fire on 70,000 protestors, killing dozens and wounding hundreds. This violence brought a new urgency to the search for a political settlement (605). Almost immediately, the ANC, the National Party, and the other twenty-seven organizations present at the renewed negotiations agreed on the Record of Understanding, which banned the displaying of weapons at rallies and put in place a framework for the transitional government. Although negotiations were often interrupted by acts of protest and terrorism on the part of disgruntled activists, the Record of Understanding was the needed breakthrough in the peace process. Decisions about how to proceed were finally agreed upon in November of 1993 and an interim constitution was enacted until general elections were held. There was to be one general assembly, not two as the National Party had wanted, and there would be a "Government of Unity" for the first five years, when it would revert to a majority rule system (Mandela 1994, 606). There were to be two deputy presidents, who were appointed by the National Assembly and the President. In an effort to ensure a smooth transition, one deputy position was guaranteed to the NP during 79


negotiations. The deputy presidents were only to be consulted in matters of cabinet policy. They had no veto power and no specific duties (Mattes 1994, 18). Regionalism was also incorporated into the new Constitution. Championed by the NP as a means of maintain white control of certain areas, it would take a two-thirds Senate majority to change regional boundaries in the country. Regionalism also played an important role in placating Zulu chiefs. Chiefs were given special monarchical privileges and more autonomy in Zulu areas during the interim government. In addition, any political party which held twenty or more seats in the General Assembly was guaranteed a position in the cabinet (Mattes 1994, 16-18). This system of consociational representation was necessary for a smooth transition, The stage had been set for the first truly national election in South Africa and the Transitional Executive Council was created to oversee it. Inkatha Freedom Party and the National Party During the anti-Apartheid movement, the opposition had been clearly defined as the National Party government and those who had supported its racist policies. This distinction was not as easy to make once the ANC was no longer banned and was challenged to work with its former enemy. The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) was, perhaps, one of the most unexpected oppositions for the ANC during the 1994 election campaign. IFP was organized by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a former member of the ANC; the two organizations were initially very close and each supported the other in the antiApartheid struggle. However, by the early 1980s the IFP's militant black nationalism, 80


bordering on reverse racism, came to be regarded as counter to the aims of the ANC, which wielded much more political force through their alliance with the United Democratic Front (UDF), than the IFP and their Pan Africanist Congress alley (Halisi 1999, 138). Tensions between the two organizations escalated during the election campaign and the preceding constitutional negotiations. Although it had always claimed to be one of the most influential political organizations, the IFP showed only a few percent of national support in the early election polls (Mattes 1994, 13). The IFP had been left out of much of the negotiation process and as a result began to actively disrupt the election. Acts of violence between the IFP and ANC increased and an effort to reintegrate the party into the political process was seen as imperative (16). As a result of a lack of support from the black community due to the popularity of the ANC, the IFP had begun to dilute its nationalist approach in an effort to attract white support. The IFP took an economically conservative, capitalist approach to its policy, which would leave most of the country's wealth in the hands of the white elite. This policy enabled the IFP to gain white support, thus hurting NP membership and raising opposition to the ANC. IFP formed a conservative voting bloc with the Ciskei and Bophuthatswana governments, the Conservative Party, and the Afrikaner Volksunie, forming the Concerned South Africans Group (COSAG). COSAG merged with the Afrikaner Volksfront in October 1993, creating the Freedom Alliance (FA), which opposed the constitution process (Mattes 1994, 17). This alliance created fear among both the ANC and the NP. The ANC was concerned about the growing conservative 81


movement within the country and the NP worried about the FA's growing political support and its potential to overtake the NP in the upcoming election. The Election and The Victory The divide among the formerly allied black organizations caused the ANC to make a vital political choice: they could attempt to attract new support or mobilize their existing base. In what turned out to be an extremely smart decision, the ANC election commission took a grassroots approach, similar to that used in the Defiance Campaign. Volunteers, all of whom had gone through party training, would go door-to-door, educating people on the ANC's policies and the need to vote (Lodge 1994, 26). Compelled to master the skills of election campaigning with great speed, the ANC learned to use opinion surveys and focus groups. Borrowing from its own past experience, specifically the Congress of the People campaign, the ANC introduced the People's Forum prior to the 1994 election. The meetings were intended to be town hall style arenas. Citizens were given the opportunity to question the leaders of the ANC on any aspect of their platform. These forums demonstrated that the ANC was a people's party, willing to listen as much as it was willing to talk (Jordan 2004, 209). In an ingenious strategy, leadership invited individuals to forums through open letters in the press. Each letter targeted a different section of society (teachers, workers, elderly), but never explicitly excluded anyone. The tone of the letters was always personal and inviting. "We would like to hear your views" and "Come and tell us what you want from a new government" were among the common opening lines (Lodge 1994, 33). This 82


specific targeting allowed leaders to manipulate their responses to fit their audience (27). The gap between the educated leadership and the common citizen was shrunk in this grassroots campaign; people felt more connected to the political process. Tailoring responses and methods to the specific desires of interest groups was a major element in the ANC campaign. For example, Cyril Ramaphosa spoke at the University of the North on behalf of the party; when entering the stadium where he was to speak, calypso music played and people danced around him. The youthful audience was reflected in the nature of the party's presentation and jovial discourse. On the other hand, Mandela, dressed in a suite, visited the Johannesburg Stock Exchange; avoiding extravagances, he discussed economic policies in a sobering manner. At other rallies, Mandela would wear leopard skins and tradition headdresses (Lodge 1994, 36). In addition to the pomp and circumstance surrounding the various campaign events, the content of the speeches often invoked nationalist sentiments and collective histories. In one speech, Mandela spent ninety minutes simply recounting the names of fallen chiefs, tribesman, and kings who had fought Apartheid. Such speeches were often given in English and Zulu, no doubt in an effort to include everyone (36). Including every aspect of black society was another strategy pursued by the ANC. In the negotiations prior to the election, parties agreed to place pictures on the ballot, allowing the vast illiterate population the ability to vote (Lodge 1994, 35). T he ANC attempted to refrain from blaming the de Klerk administration and campaigning on past Apartheid atrocities, instead focusing on the NP's economic disenfranchisement of blacks, coloureds, Indians, and the poor. Having a platform based 83


on issues instead of racial tensions was an effort to attract both white voters and international recognition as a legitimate political party with a solid policy platform (Lodge 1994, 39). The party's strategy was a vast success, as it won sixty-two percent of the vote during the election on April 27 th 1994. The IFP's attempt at dividing the black vote among the two parties proved unsuccessful. The four percent of black votes that did not go to Nelson Mandela were likely IFP members themselves (Lodge 1994, 38). In certain regions, it even appears that the ANC received significant white support. In the Northern Cape, the ANC received thirty-three percent of the vote, but blacks only comprise nineteen percent of that population; thus, whites must have comprised the difference (39). Although the ANC ran chiefly a issue-based campaign, it is hard to deny the importance that grassroots mobilization had within the black communities, which have been responsible for such a great win. 84


Chapter 5: The ANC in Power Creating Unity and A New Identity The end of Apartheid brought new challenges to the nation-building objectives of the ANC. Obviously, whites who remained in power were eager to maintain the entrenched system of white advantage. The ANC, however, was most eager to contain the threat of rising protests and to increase the cohesiveness of the nation in order to prevent full-scale civil war. One of its primary objectives was the creation of a new South African identity that did not hinge on racial categorization. Earlier, the concept of national consolidation applied to blacks and whites separately; now, it had to transcend the racial divide (Marx 1998, 213). The glue for consolidating national unity was the common interests of economic growth, education, and an improvement of national living conditions. The ANC, now an official political party, took a more pragmatic approach to its framing efforts than during its years as a social movement organization and made an effort to address the interests of the increasing black middle class in its policies (210). The government made several efforts towards inclusiveness within the government. On an institutional level, the interim Government of National Unity, that included an array of parties, served to unify the nation-state by reaffirming popular loyalties towards it. Besides institutionalized inclusion, ideological concepts elaborated on a new national identity. Four of the ANC's major campaigns during initial initial years 85


of rule where concerned with the question of national identity in a post-Apartheid South Africa. By redefining the notion of nation and reshaping the collective memories of all races within the country, the ANC attempted to rebuild a state on new terms. The Rainbow Nation In May 1994, South Africa celebrated the inauguration of Mandela as president. Since his release from prison in 1990, Mandela had performed "imaginative gestures of reconciliation and empathy" with white South Africa (Lodge 2002, 14). He praised Afrikaans as a "truly African language" of "liberation and hope" (Johnson 1991). In 1993, he extended his support to the State of Israel, congratulating them on their efforts to negotiate peace with the PLO, an endeavor he likened to the ANC's efforts to negotiate with the National Party (Mandela, 1993). Perhaps the most important, and most prominent, effort made by Mandela was his advocacy for the "rainbow nation." Archbishop Desmond Tutu first introduced this term in a speech given at City Hall in Cape Town on September 13 th 1989. Addressing then president de Klerk, Tutu stated: This country is a rainbow country! This country is technicolour. You can come and see the new South Africa I want us to standCapetonians, South Africans, black, white, whatever, and hold hands They tried to make us one color: purple. We say we are the rainbow people! We are the new people of the new South Africa! (Tutu 1995) In his State of the Nation address on May 24 th 1994, Mandela drew upon images of past heroes and heroines to constitute the fledgling nation's identity: "The time will come when our nation will honour the memory of all the sons who, by their thoughts and deeds, gave us the right to assert with pride that we are South Africans, that we are 86


Africans and that we are citizens of the world" (Mandela 1994b). He referred to a shared destiny of the nation, defined not biologically but as an "effect of our historical burdens." In addition to reframing the past as a strengthening experience, Mandela painted a glorious future for the country. Rather than emphasizing race, he drew on the liberal tradition of individual rights and citizenship. According to him, it is necessary to fight for a society that is able to restore human dignity and the "political and human rights of all our citizens." With reference to other nations, Mandela called for South Africa's participation in the OAU and the British Commonwealth, seeing them as representations of an "important community of nations" (Mandela 1994b). A year after his inauguration, Mandela renewed the tenants of the Freedom Charter: The community has given our nation outstanding leaders whose contribution and sacrifice for the ideal of a non-racial democracy have been immense Non-racialism is one of those ideals that unites us. It recognises South Africans as citizens of a single rainbow nation, acknowledging and accepting differences and diversity. (Mandela 1995) Mandela did not attempt to deny the multi-racial nature of the country; rather, he embraced its diversity, claiming that such differences are responsible for the country's unique culture. There was a clear effort to strike a balance between embracing racial differences and eradicating them. "We need, as a nation to strenuously combat racism De-racialising South African society is the new moral and political challenge facing our young democracy." Again, all the while he drew upon past achievements to generate feelings of national pride: "All the people, from whatever sector, feel the dignity and pride of a nation which freed itself" (Mandela 1995). 87


In his State of the Nation address two years later, Mandela linked patriotism to pride in the nation: "a new nation is being forged: a nation whose patriotism and sense of pride derive not only from ideas in our hearts, but also from concrete progress being made" (Mandela 1997a). Without mentioning racial categories, he again acknowledged that differences existed and should be handled delicately. These differences, never articulated with specificity, were argued to be the product of social and economic difference. In his statement, Mandela suggested regarding these differences for what they were a lack of access to resources. Thabo Mbeki: I am an African What exactly "being South African" means was one of the main questions the new government had to answer. According to Barber (2004, 124), Mbeki set out to develop a rallying cry for a benighted continent and, in the tradition of Mandela and Biko, foster a sense of pride and confidence. On the occasion of adopting the new constitution on May 8 th 1996, deputy president Mbeki gave an address to parliament. Drawing upon a common territory as well as a shared history, Mbeki explicitly rejected a cultural definition of African identity. According to Lodge (2002, 240), its inclusive definition of Africanism was the most visionary and poetic of any ANC leader. In his territorial definition, Mbeki alluded to South Africa's nature, calling his "native land" the stage on which politics is to act (Mbeki 1996). Situating himself in the tradition of non-racial nationalism, Mbeki defined everyone as "African" who considers the continent their home: 88


I owe my being to the Khoi and the San whose desolate souls haunt the great expanses of the beautiful Cape I am formed of the migrants who left Europe to find a new home on our native land In my veins courses the blood of the Malay slaves who came from the East I am the grandchild of the warrior men and women that Hintsa and Sekhukhune led, the patriots that Cetshwayo and Mphephu took to battle, the soldiers Moshoeshoe and Ngungunyane taught never to dishonour the cause of freedom. My mind and my knowledge of myself is formed by the victories that are the jewels in our African crown, the victories we earned from Isandhlwana to Khartoum, as Ethiopians and as the Ashanti of Ghana, as the Berbers of the desert. I am the grandchild who lays fresh flowers on the Boer graves at St Helena and the Bahamas I come of those who were transported from India and China, whose being resided in the fact, solely, that they were able to provide physical labour, who taught me that we could both be at home and be foreign, who taught me that human existence itself demanded that freedom was a necessary condition for that human existence. Being part of all these people, and in the knowledge that none dare contest that assertion, I shall claim that I am an African. (Mbeki 1996) Mbeki underlined that the people of South Africa were to define their "Africanness" in terms of their race, history, tribe, or origin. Reiterating the commitment made by those who wrote the Freedom Charter, he claimed "South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white." Mbeki represented a ideological camp that rejected the primordialist approach to nationalism, stressing the contingent nature of a nation. The ability of a nation to define its people and of a people to define their nation, according to Mbeki (1996), contradicted the primordialist argument of genetic inclusion and exclusion. Furthermore, Mbeki used religious imagery to assure the equal status of all Africans: "God created all men and women in His image." He also warned against feelings of national superiority and promoted the valuation of other nations by demanding to "draw on the accumulated experience and wisdom of all humankind" (Mbeki 1996). The last statement especially showed that Mbeki tried to frame the South African struggle 89


for identity with a broader, African identity. Accordingly, the first tendencies towards Mbeki's African Renaissance one year later can be noted: "Africa reaffirms, that she is continuing to rise from the ashes. Whatever the setbacks of the moment, nothing can stop us now! Whatever difficulties, Africa shall be at peace! However improbably it may sound to the sceptics, Africa will prosper" (Mbeki 1997). The African Renaissance The year 1997 proved to be important for the ANC's framing efforts, This was the year that Mbeki introduced the concept of an "African Renaissance" during his parliamentary address on June 10 th He posed the question whether South Africa really was a nation, as many proclaimed or whether it merely constituted "a collection of communities that happen to inhabit the same geopolitical space" (Mbeki 1997). To answer the question, Mbeki proposed to identify whether there exists a national consensus or interest based on a shared national agenda. In his view, a shared national agenda should be the constitution, the aim of which was to develop "a society characterised by equality, non-racialism, non-sexism, and human dignity" (Mbeki 1997). Without the needed consensus on the constitution, the country would be condemned to civil war. This belief underlines argument that their common interest in the stability of the country was the glue to national unity. In Mbeki's view, the discussions around various racial issues (like affirmative action, welfare, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission) demonstrated that a national consensus was not yet achieved; therefore, a nation within the existing geopolitical state must still be built. The inequalities of the 90


past had to be eradicated because "the new nation cannot be born on the basis of the perpetuation of the injustices of the past" (Mbeki 1997). The issue with the concept of the African Renaissance is that it remained very unclear. Although Mbeki claimed national sentiments were necessary for the success of South Africa and that they were not yet present, he left the people without an understanding of what those sentiments should be. Mbeki volleyed between stressing the importance of the past and the importance of starting anew with little direction on how to bridge the two. Furthermore, Mbeki reminded his audience that the success of South Africa depends on the existence of an international community. The economic prosperity of South Africa's neighbors and allies were important for its own stability and prosperity. Therefore, South Africa had "the obligation to contribute to the common African continental effort, at last to achieve an African Renaissance, including the establishment of stable democracies, respect for human rights, an end to violent conflicts and a better life for all the peoples of Africa" (Mbeki 1997). Mbeki went further to say, that this renaissance "will mark the recovery of our continent from an experience of many centuries some of whose distinguishing features have been the slave trade, colonial domination and exploitation, Apartheid, bad African governance and the identification of what is bad with the colour black" (Mbeki 1997). By the end of the year, the African Renaissance had become a strategic objective, incorporated into the program endorsed at the ANC's 50 th national conference (Mandela 1997b). Mbeki used the term broadly and flexibly to stress different aspects to different audiences. In a 1998 radio broadcast, he spoke of the violence and instability of the 91


African continent due to the corruption of African leaders (Barber 2004, 125). In a 2001 university address, he stressed the importance of "self-definition of Africans by Africans" and the need to combat prejudice. He called upon the historic tragedies of the Khoi and San tribes, both of which were destroyed after colonization (Mbeki 2001). In addition to the tragedies of the African past, he recalled memories of collective pride like the independence movement and Africa's unique culture. Although celebrating a new internationalism, Mbeki's African Renaissance movement stressed the importance of fighting cultural imperialism. This was especially interesting due to the fact that he had previously refrained from defining "African;" he now asserted that "we [Africans] have to cultivate our value system and through the production and sharing of literature, films, the products of creative art and the outcomes of sport that portray us correctly and differently than the dominant cultures conveyed by today's mass media" (Mbeki 2001). This clear assertion that Africans share a unique culture that was being penetrated by other cultures was slightly different from the "I am an African" effort. The Renaissance movement put a greater emphasis on the differences between African and non-African culture. The Africanness discussed is often regional rather than racial, as whites born in Africa are included in the definition, but there was still a clear sense of an "other" culture. The "I am an African" effort, on the other hand, stressed an embracing of cultural difference and a nonracial society. The uniqueness of African culture was acknowledged; however, the existence of other cultures was not seen as antagonistic. (Vale and Maseko 1998, 274). 92


The notion of being African is given a mystical quality and there is an idealized sense of African history and the future of both the country and the continent (Barber 2004, 127). This view of the Renaissance allows individuals to interpret it either as a nationalist or pan-Africanist movement. Whichever way one chooses to assess it, the open-ended, identity-inducing speeches and campaigns throughout the African Renaissance were able to build unity without attacking the existing power structures within South Africa, as the specifics of government reform were withheld and it was left as a cultural agenda. A Country of Two Nations In a statement entitled "South Africa: Two Nations" delivered in May 1998 during the debate on nation-building and reconciliation Mbeki defined nation-building in a very direct manner, suggesting that such a goal had not yet been acheived by the country: Nation building is the construction of the reality and the sense of common nationhood which would result from the abolition of disparities in the quality of life among South Africans based on the racial, gender and geographic inequalities we all inherited from the past Accordingly, our answer to the question whether we are making that requisite progress, towards achieving the objective of nation building, as we defined it, would be no! ... We therefore make bold to say that South Africa is a country of two nations. One of these nations is white, relatively prosperous, regardless of gender or geographic dispersal. It has ready access to a developed economic, physical, educational, communication and other infrastructure. The second and larger nation of South Africa is black and poor, with the worst affected being women in the rural areas, the black rural population in general and the disabled. (Mbeki 1998) It is evident from his speech that there was growing dissatisfaction within certain sectors of society with their responsibilities as a result of the reconciliation effort. The reluctance 93


of elites to pay taxes, a distain for affirmative action programs, and the continued racist activities of security forces were all cited by Mbeki as causing continued disunity. Once again, however, Mbeki is careful not to naturally equate being black with being poor and being white with being wealthy. He asks, "are the relatively rich, who, as a result of an Apartheid definition, are white, prepared to help underwrite the upliftment of the poor, who as a result of an Apartheid definition, are black" (Mbeki, 1998). Although the speech does make reference to skin color, it is not likened to biological or cultural characteristics; rather, racial definitions are given a historical context and origin. He emphasized that the existence of a wealthy white minority and a poor black majority is the result of Apartheid and not racial differences. It seems as though Mbeki was seeking to transfer the blame and hatred surrounding Apartheid to the pages of history instead of the actual citizens of South Africa. The inequalities of Apartheid were not inherited by only blacks; it is framed as an injustice felt by all people within the country. Mbeki allows citizens to acknowledge their common past without the fault being delegated to the white minority. Some have argued that Mbeki's "Two Nation" concept was contrary to aims of unification, as the divide between black and white is not only acknowledged, but heavily emphasized. Lodge argues, however, that this was merely a demonstration of the ANC's eagerness to bridge the economic gap and embrace redistributive social reforms (Lodge 2002, 250). In order to understand whether Mbeki's speech took a racially motivated approach to nationalism, it is important to analyze the years leading up to it. Prior to the ANC's 50 th Anniversary Conference, the party issued a discussion paper urging blacks to create a 94

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black bourgeoisie in order to blur the economic divide between the races (Jordan 1997 ). Africanizing the middle class was a strategy embraced by the ANC as a means of diluting racial tensions and integrating the economic realm, while simultaneously strengthening the ANC by increasing the resources at its disposal (Jordan 2004, 207-09). Economics, Alliances, and Practical Matters: The RDP Once in power, creating a new national identity was only half of the battle for the ANC. There needed to be concrete examples of the ANC's dedication to peace and increasing economic prosperity. One of the first examples of such dedication came in the form of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). The ANC's chief aim in developing and implementing the RDP was to address the immense socioeconomic problems brought about by Apartheid and the struggle against the Apartheid regime (RDP 1994). Specifically, the RDP set its sights on alleviating poverty and addressing the massive shortfalls in social services across the country -something that the document acknowledged would rely upon a stronger macroeconomic environment. Basic necessities such as clean water, electricity, housing, and access to health services were the backbone of the program. Achieving poverty alleviation and a stronger economy were thus seen as deeply interrelated and mutually supporting. Hence, the RDP attempted to combine measures to boost the economy such as contained fiscal spending, tax reform policy, debt reduction and trade liberalization with socially minded social service provisions and infrastructural projects (RDP 1994). 95

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A program such as the RDP was a political fail safe; it addressed the various issues that plagued the country as a result of Apartheid, but spread the political risks. The ANC framed the program as a joint effort between the ANC and COSATU. In the notes from the meeting between the two groups, both parties "re-affirm [ed] their commitment to the program" (Department of Information 1994). The aims of the program spoke to almost every aspect of economic and social policy; however, the resolutions and objectives still maintained the vagueness needed for political malleability. A balance had to be struck between the perceived need to reassure local business elites and foreign investors and the placation of the working class and the poor. The program was cryptic about the costs of such reforms and was often translated into populist promises of "a better life for all" (Lodge 1994, 32). Whatever their shortcomings the ANC's RDP proposals had "the merit of being simple, vivid and seemingly plausible" (32). Just enough detail was supplied to make them seem pragmatic without guaranteeing too many specifics. A dedication to pragmatism seems to accurately reflect the policy and goals of the ANC throughout their initial years in power. Their policy proposals are sweeping; yet, they lack the specifics necessary to create complete government accountability. In an effort to generate a national identity, the party alternates between embracing differences as positive attributes, while acknowledging their racial origins and an appeal create a culture based on nonracialism. In both situations, there is an appeal to even out the undeniably uneven racial economic environment and relative deprivation of the black majority. 96

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Chapter 6: The Evolution of Frames and Their Consistencies Over the course of five decades, the African National Congress transformed itself from a fledgling political organization to a militant oppositional force in South Africa, and once more into a legitimate ruling party. This transformation was the product of several shifts in the organization's leadership and tactics, as well as responses from both the international and domestic political community. Frame shifts can be seen throughout the ANC's history, many of which point to the key trends and strategies of the organization. Throughout the process, however, there were certain consistencies in each frame. Key historical moments and nationalist practices were constantly being called upon by leaders to activate collective memories and strengthen the ANC's support base. The charts below detail the specific frames used in the events discussed in this study. Table 6.1: Frames Used During the Events Discussed 1950-1960 Programme of Action May Day Defiance Campaign Congress of the People Freedom Charter Women's Charter Women's March of 1956 Anti-Pass Campaign of 1960/ Sharpeville Relative Deprivation Socialism/ Communism Labor/ Unionism Historic Memory Religion/Morality Nationalism/ Tribalism Music/Cultural Uniqueness 97

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1960-1977 Umkhonto we Sizwe Free Mandela Lutuli Nobel Prize Rivonia Trial Morogoro Conference Soweto/ Student Movement Relative Deprivation Socialism/Communism Labor/ Unionism Historic Memory Religion/Morality Nationalism/ Tribalism ! Music/Cultural Uniqueness 1977-Current Speeches to the OAU Nations Speeches Capitalist Countries Domestic Speeches UDF Alliance Election Campaign I am an African African Renaissance Two Nations Relative Deprivation ! Socialism/ Communism Labor/ Unionism ! Historic Memory ! Religion/ Morality Nationalism/ Tribalism ! Music/Cultural Uniqueness ! The Evolution of Frames The 1950s was the beginning of the ANC's mass mobilization efforts against the growing Apartheid regime in South Africa. This was the decade where inclusionary frames were most prominent. Campaigns to include coloureds and Indians, such as the Congress of the People and the Defiance Campaign, illustrated the nonracial tone of the ANC. Nationalist frames were very salient; however, they did not have the exclusionary element present in later nationalist efforts. Nationalism was often framed in terms of protecting the traditional family unit, as opposed to the more racially charged definition 98

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used in the following decade. In fact, during both the Defiance Campaign and Anti-Pass Campaign, nationalism was left vague and undefined, most likely to avoid alienating potential activists. Socialist frames also heavily influenced the campaigns and propaganda of the ANC during this decade, often overshadowing nationalism. The Freedom Charter's call for the unionization of the labor force and the nationalization of industry were unmistakably socialist policies; the influence of the Cold War political climate could not be denied. Nonetheless, the ANC avoided being labeled a socialist organization by leaving its language vague and moderate. In addition, the simultaneous use of nationalist frames still offered individuals an alternative reason for supporting the movement. Nationalism received an overhaul in the following decades, as older leadership was replaced with a younger, more revolutionary group of individuals. The 1960s and 1970s became the years of militant action and increased violence, especially with the creation of MK. Many of the younger groups, such as the SASO, were heavily influenced by the United States Civil Rights Movement and adopted many of its definitions. Terms such as "black" and "African" were redefined, excluding the opposition. Efforts to work within the legislative system of the country were ceased. Imprisoned activists, including Nelson Mandela, became symbols of the struggle and their trials became sources of media attention and further mobilization. Militancy and violence may have been at the forefront of activities in the 1960s and into the 1970s, but these trends did not stamp all of the organization's activities. Albert Lutuli, former president of the ANC, received the Nobel Peace Prize during this 99

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time. Although seemingly at odds with the terrorism of MK and militancy of the SASO, being awarded the prize illustrated that the ANC was seen as a legitimate and representative voice in the international community. International pressures began to influence affairs within South Africa. Although international movements had previously guided the dialogue and frames of the ANC, this was the first time that the international community directly responded to the Apartheid regime. The years that followed saw a reduction in the ANC's militant propaganda. The MK still executed acts of sabotage; however, they took secondary importance in the ANC's framing efforts. Instead, the ANC focused on creating a sense of legitimacy both domestically and internationally. There was a reduction in formal mobilization and a greater reliance on publicity tours and speeches, possibly in an effort to reduce the organization's association with terrorism and the severe repression of everyday supporters. A duality existed in the ANC's campaigning. Socialist frames were often present in speeches and publications issued to Soviet sympathizers; whereas, frames shifted away from such language when appealing to Western audiences. In such cases, religion, morality, and the acceptance of international institutions were often used to gain support. Playing to all audiences was a strategy that eventually worked for the ANC, as they became South Africa's legitimate ruling party in 1994, after a power-sharing agreement with the National Party and the country's first democratic election. During the election, the organization was forced to once again redefine itself. After a rather unpleasant split with the IFP, the ANC was no longer the only party looking to represent 100

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the black vote in South Africa. Instead of focusing on undecided voters, however, the ANC took a strategy of mobilizing its existing support base, which proved to be a smart strategy, as they won over sixty percent of the vote. After having to redefine itself, the ANC attempted to redefine what it meant to be a "South African," and more broadly what it meant to be "African". Pragmatism was at the heart of the ANC's framing efforts once in power. In an effort to dull historical resentments, Apartheid was framed as a crime against all South African citizens. Racial differences were embraced as making the country's culture unique, while specific racial terms were often excluded from the dialogue. The specifics of the culture and the resentments were never explicitly stated, allowing the individual to decide what they meant to them on a personal level. As well as a redefinition of what it meant to be South African, the ANC's first years in power saw a redefinition of Africanism in general. PanAfrican sentiments stressed the unity of all the continent and put South Africa at the forefront of a movement to better the status of African countries in the international arena. The ANC and Its Response to Changes in the Political Climate It is clear that the South African government and the National Party were often forced to respond to ANC campaigns through both legislative and enforcement mechanisms, but that is only one side of the dynamic. Much of the ANC's framing came in response to NP legislation and behavior; thus, there was a constant give and take between the two organizations. The first of these responsive shifts came after the 101

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implementation of the Unjust Laws in the early 1950s. The ANC organized the Programme of Action and the Defiance Campaign in direct protest. As a result, there were mass arrests and the NP passed the Criminal Laws Amendment, which made incitement to break the law illegal. At first, Prime Minister Malan was unresponsive to the ANC's demands during the two campaigns; thus, the ANC changed its strategy. It took a more nationalistic tone and began to shy away from working within the legislative confines of the government, focusing more on mass mobilization. Furthermore, the passing of the Criminal Laws Amendment had a direct impact on later campaigns, such as the Anti-Pass Campaign. The issuing of passbooks to women brought about the next major responsive shift within the ANC strategy. Unable to circulate petitions throughout the country due to the Criminal Laws Act, the women of the Anti-Pass campaign focused on the individual and family units to mobilize the community. Nationalism was set in gendered terms and the need to protect the family unit. It was during this time that individualism was coupled with the mass mobilization of the ANC to create an internalization of the movement. The individual was responsible for mobilizing in protest, bringing the ANC's struggle to a very personal level. The response of the NP government was unmistakable. The Sharpeville Massacre, in which dozens of people were killed, became symbolic of government brutality. The ANC, once again, responded by adapting its frames to the circumstances. The police had fired upon an unarmed crowd and innocent people were injured. The ANC moved further away from the legislative arena and even from its passive resistance strategy. Sharpeville 102

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drove the ANC to form MK and embrace strategic violence as a means of achieving its goals. The creation of MK led indirectly to the arrest and imprisonment of ANC leaders, such as Mandela, Sisulu, and Mbeki. The trials of these men actually allowed the organization to respond to NP accusations of socialism, terrorism, and sabotage. The goals of Operation Mayibuye were unmistakable and instead of denial, the men embraced their roles in its creation and used the publicity to criticize the government, Apartheid, and the economic oppression of blacks and Indians. The outrage of the international media and the eloquent testimony of the accused may have saved them from death, but it did not save them from life imprisonment. Oliver Tambo was at the helm of the ANC's response, declaring war on the government of South Africa and preparing the world for the coming changes. The ANC was forced to take the defensive once again in the mid-1970s with the creation of the SASO and the issuing of the Medium Decree, which made Afrikaans the official language of black schools in South Africa. Protests against the decree culminated in the Soweto Uprising of 1976, in which several students were killed by South African police. Mass protests occurred throughout the country and across the globe. Fearing chaos, the NP declared South Africa to be in a state of emergency. The brutality of the South African police force was a demonstration of Apartheid oppression, further solidified by the death of SASO leader Steven Biko. The ANC responded not only to the actions of the government, but also to the changing social dynamics in South African and international society. It aligned itself with the United Democratic Front and COSATU in response to the growing working class in 103

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the country. The importance of trade unions, which were newly legal, and the urban laborer were changes within society that could not go ignored. The ANC adapted its framing to attract these demographics. The ANC embraced its UDF ally through accepting its policy of ungovernability. By advocating the economic boycotts and a disregard for the law, the ANC advocated the creation of turmoil. The government responded with the declaration of a state of emergency, the censorship of the press, and increased police powers. Censorship of the press did not hinder the ANC's ability to transmit its message to the people. The 1980s saw an increased amount of international publicity for the struggle and the ANC adapted to this publicity as much as it did domestic changes. Three main frames responded to changes in the international climate: socialist, nationalist, and religious frames. As a result of the Cold War atmosphere of the time, the use of the frames can be divided almost clearly between two audiences. Western audiences received speeches and statements directed at the moral and religious issues with Apartheid and South Africa's need to better the living standards of its people. Socialist countries were privy to speeches discussing the economically oppressive nature of the system and the NP's alliance with the capitalist countries of the West. Commonalities within the Frames of the ANC The frames of the ANC may have evolved over its years as an opposition group; nevertheless, several common themes run throughout all of them. Over the course of its history, the ANC constantly redefined what it meant to be South African. In the 104

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beginning, South Africans were any person opposed to Apartheid living within the country, but special credence was given to blacks, as its was their motherland. During the more militant years, the ANC defined South African in more racially exclusive terms; although, they still maintained their solidarity with Indian minorities within the country. Once in power, the definition of South African was left vague, allowing the individual to choose the definition that would best allow them to move past the country's hateful past. Giving the individual the choice among many options is another trend present in ANC's framing. Every campaign used more than one frame, as is evident in Table 6.1. The simultaneous implementation of frames allowed the ANC to focus on a certain audience, as one frame was usually dominant, while avoiding the isolation of another group. Take for example the Freedom Charter. Socialist frames dominated the document; however, that frame was coupled with a nationalist frame, allowing capitalist audiences to focus on those aspects without having to contradict their beliefs. Playing to its audience is another major feature of ANC framing. The specifics of language prove to be very important. This adaptation to audiences is an element of the ANC's efforts that is closely related to the theory of accessibility, availability, and applicability discussed in chapter 1 (Chong and Druckman 2007, 108). When speaking to the people of South Africa, words are simple and maintain a certain level of forcefulness. Sentences are shorter and the speeches are not complicated. Frames are made "available" to their audiences and comprehended at a level which allows them to be stored in the individuals memory. By frequently referring to past speeches and events, frames remain accessible in the minds of the people and are constantly called upon as a 105

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means of mobilization. Frames were deemed applicable to the people, because the ANC's kept its struggle relevant to the daily lives of its supporters and focused on improving their quality of life through increasing their rights. In the international community, there is more of an eloquence in ANC dialogue and a greater appeal to the technical mechanisms of state influence (boycotts, embargoes, sanctions) for assistance. The language is much more sophisticated and the high level of leadership education can be seen. Such language was most likely avoided domestically in an effort not to isolate the commoner. Keeping the struggle a movement of the people was a clear goal of the organization throughout the movement. Efforts to mobilize the common worker, women, student, and farmer were paramount. Even though the leadership, as is often the case, was highly educated and could have directed their appeals to elites, they focused on grassroots mobilization within the black community. This strategy served to increase ANC legitimacy among the people and its label as a peoples' organization abroad. The consistencies throughout the ANC's framing process suggest that framing is an important consideration for the success of any social movement. Frames were regularly used to create cohesion amongst activists by solidifying their commonalities and experiences. It was often the case that framing was actually used by the ANC to create the political space necessary for change. For example, the organization's campaigning abroad stressed the moral and economic injustices of Apartheid. As a result, there was a boomerang effect, through which international pressure was placed on the South African government, creating the domestic political space necessary for change. 106

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The ANC's ability to create political opportunity, rather than merely take advantage of it, is consistent with the work of Douglas McAdam (1996). Although the ANC did respond to government policies, it often took an active role in shaping the political climate of the country. Political framing is also an important element in connecting an organization with other social movement groups who share similar causes. Frames were often used by the ANC to create solidarity among international workers' organizations and civil rights groups. The specifics of each international struggle were different; nevertheless, frames allowed the ANC to bridge the gap and strengthen the anti-Apartheid struggle through its association with other movements. Domestically, political frames played a similar role by uniting the various racial groups against Apartheid. The use of significant dates and historical figures also kept the ANC in touch with the people of South Africa. Almost every campaign was scheduled on a date marking the anniversary of previous event within the struggle. Whether it was a day of mourning or of celebration, the ANC linked present anti-Apartheid efforts with those of the past, creating a collective history and memory for the people to call upon in times of mobilization. Along with important dates, the ANC cultivated a sense of martyrdom and heroism amongst the people. Men like Biko and Mandela became symbols of the struggle -men whose memories, words, and efforts were called upon to mobilize the community. 107

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Appendix: Chart of Relevent Apartheid Laws and Acts Name Brief Description Native Labour Reform Act of 1911 This act made the breaking of a labor contract by a black person a criminal offensive. For white individuals, however, it remained an issue for the civil courts. The Mines and Works Act of 1911 The 1911 Mines and Works Act, and its 1926 successor, reserved certain jobs in mining and the railways for white workers. The hiring of labor was to work on a quota system and prevented many blacks from finding jobs as skilled laborers. Land Act of 1913 The law created reserves for blacks and prohibited the sale of White territory to Blacks and vice versa. An annexation designated the territory preliminary allocated to Blacks. In effect, over 80% of land went to White people, who made up less than 20% of the population. The Act stipulated that Black people could live outside the reserves only if they could prove that they were in White employment. Native Affairs Act of 1920 The act established Native forums, which were overseen by white representatives, for the airing of grievances and further reduced black participation in the government. Representation of Natives in Parliament of 1927 (Passed in 1936) Act essentially stripped African people in the Cape of their voting rights and offered instead a limited form of parliamentary representation, through special white representatives called the Native Representative Council. The council functioned in an advisory position for Parliament and did not have any control over the passage of any laws. Native Land and Trust Act of 1936 The Act integrated land identified by the 1913 Act into African reserves, and thereby formalized the separation of white and black rural areas; the Act established a South African Native Trust (SANT) which purchased all reserve land not yet owned by the state, and had responsibility for administering African reserve areas. The SANT imposed systems of control over livestock and enforced residential planning. An elaborate system for registering and controlling the distribution of labor was introduced under the Act. The Group Areas Act of 1950 Solidified a physical separation between races by creating different residential areas based on race. This led to forced removals of people living in the "wrong" areas. 108

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Name Brief Description Suppression of Communism Act of 1950 The act outlawed communism and the Community Party in South Africa. Communism was defined so broadly that it covered any call for radical change. Communists were banned from participating in political organizations. The act strengthened the ANC/SACP Alliance. Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 This act provided for the establishment of black homelands and regional authorities, with the aim of creating greater self-government in the homelands. It abolished the Native Representative Council established under the Representation of Natives Act. The Pass Laws of 1952 Commonly known as the Pass Laws, this act forced black people to carry identification with them at all times. A pass included a photograph, details of place of origin, employment record, tax payments, and encounters with the police. It was a criminal offense to be unable to produce a pass when asked to do so by police. No black person could leave a rural area for an urban one without a permit from the local authorities. Criminal Laws Amendment/Act of 1953 The act made it illegal to fund any form of organized resistance and increased penalties for contributing to any type of protest or resistance activity Unlawful Organizations Act No. 34 of 1960 This allowed the Apartheid government to declare illegal any organization deemed to threaten public order or the safety of the public. It included a gross extension of police powers. The ANC and the PAC were immediately declared unlawful. Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974 The decree required the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in black schools instead of English or tribal languages. 109

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