Apartheid and resistance essay.
“Creating unity amongst the population fighting against Apartheid was exceptionally important.”
The unification of different racial, political parties was key to the defiance of the Apartheid government. The political groups, the coloured people’s congress (CPC), the South African Indian Congress (SAIC) and the African National Congress (ANC) came together to form the Ddefiance Ccampaign. These parties were not strong enough to overthrow the government on their own and joined together to create the defiance campaign to go against the government as a unit.
After the National Party, idealistically lead by D.F Malan won the 1948 election, there was massive social restructuring, implementing new Apartheid laws and the stricter application of previous discriminatory laws. Specifically 6 unjust laws were enforced by the National Party, namely the mixed marriages, population registration, Group areas, separate representation of voters, pass laws and separate amenities acts, all of which the defiance campaign and several individuals strived to oppose. The group areas act implemented the physical separation of racial groups as part of the government’s aim to”divide and conquer” the nation, making the unity of the population all the more important in the creation of the defiance campaign and opposing all the other law acts.
Political, racial groups and individuals resisted laws in multiple ways, such as the use of exclusively “European” reserved facilities by “Non-European” peoples and vice versa. Parties such as the South African Indian Congress (SAIC) and the African National Congress (ANC) underwent multiple civil strikes in resistance to laws, a tactic which was then adopted by the defiance campaign. The separate Representation of voters act led to the removal of coloureds from the common voters roll, denying political representation and participation of black people at all levels of government and it was this that created the ascending tide of democratic resistance to Apartheid government by the population in the 1950s. Although Apartheid and its laws were continuously resisted, defied,and opposed by separate groups and parties it only led to arrest and further suppression of the people. It was only when the separate groups joined force, irrespective of race, did resistance truly start to have an effect or at least an imprint.
The Defiance Campaign was launched on 26 june 1952 after ” A day of volunteers” on 22 June. The campaign was conducted by a National Volunteer board, lead by Nelson Mandela and a National Committee lead by Walter Sisulu and Ismail Cachalia. All races, Africans, indians and a few whites and coloureds were united for the first time ever, in defiance of a common suppressor. During the defiance campaign over 8000 members were imprisoned for going against the laws and regulations and also showed the potential in African leadership and organisations. Although the overall aim to overturn the Apartheid laws was not accomplished by 1953 when all the defiers had all fallen and national campaign leaders been found guilty, the campaign was successful in gaining recognition from United Nations marked the start of non-racial resistance.
All that had been achieved by the defiance campaign from when it started in 1952 up until its end in 1953 would have not been possible had it not been for the unification of the different racial groups. The nation was divided and conquered by the National Party and when the nation united they conquered the National Party.