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How Far Was The South African Government Successful In Suppressing Opposition To Apartheid Between The 1950's And 1990's ?

909 words - 4 pages

Between the start of apartheid in the early 1950's and the end of it in the early 1990's, thousands of black native Africans and coloureds suffered at the hands of Nationalist followers and government policies. They were constantly undermined, tortured, discriminated against and suppressed. When it finally reached an end, the South African economy was suffering and millions of people were living in perpetual poverty. However, over the years there were many opposition movements against apartheid and Nationalist rule which the government tried consistently to destroy.One of the first rebellion movements was in 1995 in Sophiatown, a black township; the inhabitants were told that they had to ...view middle of the document...

Political prisoners started to be hung. When P.W Botha came into power, he strengthened security forces to deal with rioting townships and to dismantle the ANC, but by now the government realized they had to change their policies. This is best illustrated when in 1989, Cape Town had its biggest anti-apartheid march in 30 years and the government, instead of banning it, let it go ahead.Opposition began early on. The defiance campaign in 1952 managed to recruit a vast amount of members for the ANC and volunteers were deliberately breaking laws. The Freedom Charter was made, which although didn't have a lot of immediate effect made the ANC's aims clear and gave them new supporters. Also, the Treason Trial following this gained them a huge amount of publicity, nationally and internationally. The PAC was founded and in 1960 organized a 'peaceful protest' in Sharpeville. This turned into a huge massacre and although it was a failure, gained huge public sympathy and gained international support. Following this event, there were riots in the streets and a state of emergency was declared- an obvious step ahead for opposition movements. Mandela became a prominent figure in these times and although he was sent to prison (after an extremely influential 4 hour speech, which gained him international respect) kept organizing sabotage and strikes against the government. The MK was set up and in the early 1960s bombed prominent government buildings and white infrastructure. SASO and Biko raised black awareness, especially in youths, and made it clear that new generations were prepared to sacrifice whatever it took to...

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