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The Battle Against Apartheid Essay

1213 words - 5 pages

Long-denied rights and freedoms wouldn’t have been granted to the now multi-racial South Africa, if it hadn’t been been for two icons in black history who battled against Apartheid. The recurring theme in the articles “Steve Biko” and “Obituaries; Nelson Mandela” is that both strongly fought against Apartheid and worked to overturn the oppression of the black race to restore their basic human rights. Steve Biko started his career as an activist at the age of 20 and founded a movement called The Black Consciousness that grew quickly. Because of the growth, the government started to jail hundreds of members of the movement and had the police hack into his phone to watch his every move. ...view middle of the document...

To build a foundation of his career, he founded The Black Consciousness movement that would build a sense of fight for the freedom that kept the black race from being full members of society and having equal rights. From 1967-1977 as the movement gained momentum, the police shut down all demonstrations and strikes made by him and monitored everything he did. Although his life was now micro-managed, Biko was not willing to quit. He continued to write pamphlets that would be smuggled underground. He would now provide his speeches in secret code and invite black activists to his house one at a time to discuss the movement in substitution of attending public meetings. Steve was arrested 20 times and was released every time due of lack of evidence of crime, but decided to continue to occupy the leadership of The Black Consciousness movement. He would often stall the police as his wife hid illegal papers and documents. Fed up with his behavior, Biko was arrested with no charge of crime and took him to headquarters. There they grilled, beat, and interrogated him for hours, trying to get him to plead guilty of all sorts of crimes. On September 12, 1997, Biko died due to serious brain damage. The news of Biko’s death shocked the society and the black race would continue to be in an oppressive state. Biko’s Black Consciousness movement fulfilled the messages, only not the changes he was trying to get across to all citizens of South Africa. The hope of winning the battle of racial equality in South Africa now lied in the hands of Nelson Mandela, who was elected as the first black president of South Africa in 1994.

Prepared to die for the cause, Nelson Mandela fought for and won the battle of creating an equal multiracial South Africa. In 1943, Mandela found work at a liberal white law firm and joined congress of the African Nation hoping to win the privilege for blacks to vote along with other basic human rights. When nationalists won a whites-only election, the oppression of the black South African race grew. Intolerant with the country, Mandela opened up the first black law firm in 1952 with his college peer and friend, Oliver Tambo. As lawyers they worked against courts, and organized strikes and demonstrations to support the struggle. Then in 1960, the white regime killed 69 innocent demonstrators, Mandela abandoned his commitment by starting a bombing campaign against power stations, electrical towers, and empty government offices. He was then arrested in 1962 and sentenced to life in jail. During his labor in the jails...

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