+1443 776-2705 panelessays@gmail.com
  

 Please review the two attached readings and video and answer the two questions. thank you.

After reviewing this week’s material, answer the following questions:

1. Briefly describe the “total strategy” that was implemented in the late 1970s/early 1980s.  Why do you think the implementation of “total strategy” led to an intensified fight against apartheid?

2. Like we saw in the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-apartheid movement relied on coalition building among various organizations and on the mobilization of the youth.  Why was it so important for there to be collaboration of different anti-apartheid groups and why was it imperative that youth be included in the fight against apartheid?  

 Nelson Mandela: The Freedom Fighter – Video – Films On Demand (indstate.edu) 

6

The Decline and Fall of Apartheid

In the course of the late 1970s and the 1980s the rigid Verwoerdian
model developed during the heyday of apartheid began to break down.
The National Party government experimented with a number of reforms
designed to adjust apartheid to changing economic and social circum-
stances, while still retaining a monopoly of political power. But the spiral
of resistance and repression intensified. By the mid-1980s virtual civil
war existed in many parts of the country, with the army occupying black
townships and surrogate vigilante groups adding to the conflict. The
state retained control with military power, detentions and increased repres-
sion; but the vast majority of South Africa’s population was alienated
from the state to an unprecedented degree. Meanwhile, international
condemnation grew and economic sanctions began to bite. The impasse
was broken only when the exiled ANC and PAC were unbanned in 1990
and the new State President, F.W. de Klerk, made a qualified commitment
to meaningful change. Negotiations between the state and the newly
unbanned movements, although accompanied by violent conflict and
widespread suspicion of state intentions, finally led to the creation of a new
democratic constitution, and the election of an ANC-led government in
1994. The collapse of apartheid and the avoidance of a prolonged racial
bloodbath was one of the major success stories of the late twentieth century,
although economic and social problems remained overwhelming in
magnitude.

The Making of Modern South Africa: Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy, Fifth Edition.
Nigel Worden.
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Worden, Nigel. The Making of Modern South Africa : Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated,
2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/insu-ebooks/detail.action?docID=822664.
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132 ThE DECLINE AND FALL oF APArThEID

‘Total strategy’

In the late 1970s a number of factors led to a change in the policy of the
South African state (Moss 1980). First, highly capitalized manufacturing
industry now dominated the economy, using complex technology and
requiring semi-skilled permanent workers rather than unskilled migrant
laborers. In these circumstances, segregation and apartheid, so crucial to
the earlier development and growth of industry, were no longer appropri-
ate to the needs of South African capitalism (Lipton 1988; Feinstein 2005:
188–93).

Economic change also affected the class base of support for the National
Party. Afrikaner business interests were now fully integrated into the
monopolistic structure of South African industry, while full-scale mecha-
nization of white agriculture produced ‘check book farmers’ linked to busi-
ness interests rather than struggling producers competing for a limited
labor force with urban employers. The cross-class Afrikaner nationalist
alliance of the 1940s and 1950s was fracturing: many English-speaking
middle-class voters now supported the National Party, while Afrikaner
workers and small-scale traders and farmers were marginalized. After
Vorster’s resignation in 1978, following major government financial scan-
dals, the new Prime Minister, P.W. Botha, introduced changes favoring
business interests and widened the divisions in the traditional support base
of the National Party. The split came with the formation of the right-wing
Conservative Party under Andries Treurnicht in 1982, which drew many
white working-class and blue-collar supporters away from the government
(Gilioinee 2003: 606–7). In these circumstances, Botha was obliged to forge
a new kind of strategy.

Thirdly, the labor and urban resistance of 1973–7 had caught the gov-
ernment unprepared. It became apparent after Soweto that repression was
not enough. Attempts were made to recapture the initiative through reform,
particularly by encouraging the development of a black middle class and
attempting to win over township residents from African nationalist or
radical sympathies.

A final factor explaining the reforms was the unfavorable international
response and the threat of sanctions in the aftermath of Soweto, as well as
the change of governments in states bordering South Africa, from allied
interests to potentially hostile opponents: Mozambique, Angola and
Zimbabwe, with a similar threat in Namibia as conflict grew between South
African forces and guerrilla troops of the South-West African People’s

Worden, Nigel. The Making of Modern South Africa : Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated,
2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/insu-ebooks/detail.action?docID=822664.
Created from insu-ebooks on 2020-10-27 21:32:22.

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ThE DECLINE AND FALL oF APArThEID 133

organization (SWAPo). In these circumstances the South African state
needed to reassess its public image and its policy strategies.

The outcome was a series of developments between 1979 and 1984
which collectively formulated the policy known as ‘total strategy’. Some hint
of reform had been given earlier. Prosecution for pass law offences had
dropped in number after 1973 at the request of business organizations,
including the Afrikaanse handelsinstituut, although the principle of
African labor regulation remained intact (hindson 1987: 81). Funding
for African education had also increased, although insufficiently to prevent
student dissatisfaction in 1976. But ‘total strategy’ went much further. Its
rationale was that South Africa was the target of a ‘total onslaught’ by revo-
lutionaries from inside and outside the country, who could only be com-
bated with a ‘total strategy’ that ‘combin[ed] effective security measures
with reformist policies aimed at removing the grievances that revolutionar-
ies could exploit’ (Swilling and Phillips 1989: 136). It also aimed to restruc-
ture society in ways required by industry, thus combining the economic
interests of business, the political interests of the Botha administration, and
the security interests of the military and security forces: ‘an attempt to
reconstitute the means of domination in terms favorable to the ruling
groups’ (Swilling 1988: 5).

Formal links between the National Party and big business were estab-
lished at the 1979 Carlton Conference in Johannesburg, where Botha
pledged his government to support free enterprise and orderly reform. The
discourse of free market enterprise was increasingly used by the state in
place of overt racial domination, partly as a means of combating the per-
ceived Marxist ‘onslaught’ but more importantly as a means of establishing
ideological hegemony with business support (Greenberg 1987). It marked
a major shift from the anti-capitalist rhetoric of the early Afrikaner nation-
alist movement, and bore little relation to the intense intervention of the
state in the political economy of South Africa.

Two government commission reports in 1979 proposed changes to favor
stable business development. The Wiehahn report recommended that
African rights to trade union membership and registration be recognized.
This was done to try to prevent repetition of the wildcat strikes of the 1970s
and to formalize, and so control, the labor movement. The riekert
Commission advocated that white job reservation should be dismantled
while influx control was still rigorously applied. In this way it maintained
the division between permanent city residents and temporary outsiders.
Employer demands for greater access to a permanent workforce were thus

Worden, Nigel. The Making of Modern South Africa : Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated,
2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/insu-ebooks/detail.action?docID=822664.
Created from insu-ebooks on 2020-10-27 21:32:22.

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134 ThE DECLINE AND FALL oF APArThEID

met, although the principle of controlled African urbanization remained.
The pass laws were not abolished until 1986, by which stage a combination
of employer needs, the spiraling costs of the immense bureaucratic admin-
istration and the belief that repeal would appease international criticism
of apartheid persuaded the government finally to remove urban influx
controls (Maylam 1990: 80).

The need for semi-skilled black labor was also reflected in the de Lange
report on education, published in 1981 (Chisholm 1984). This called for
compulsory primary education for all as well as black technical training at
secondary and tertiary level. Although the recommendation of a single
education authority for all races was rejected by the government, multira-
cial private schools were permitted. In this, as in other aspects of ‘total
strategy’ policy, the aim was to ‘intensify class differentials while reducing
racial ones’ (hyslop 1988: 190). This policy was further seen in the removal
of many ‘petty apartheid’ restrictions. Public amenities in large cities, such
as hotels, restaurants and theatres, were no longer compulsorily segregated
and many opened their doors to all – that is, all who could afford them.

Lack of political representation remained an obstacle to black accept-
ance of such reform strategies. A second phase of ‘total strategy’ therefore
proposed constitutional changes in an attempt to co-opt sections of the
population previously excluded from government. The 1983 ‘tricameral’
constitution created separate parliamentary assemblies for white, colored
and Indian Members of Parliament. Each house controlled its ‘own affairs’,
such as education, health and community administration, but all other
matters were still monopolized by the white house of Assembly, which
retained the overall majority of seats, and the new office of State President,
held by Botha, acquired wide-ranging powers.

The tricameral constitution was clearly a means of ‘sharing power
without losing control’ (Murray 1987: 112). Consequently, it was boycotted
by the vast majority of colored and Indian voters. Measures which the lesser
houses did promote, such as the abolition of the Immorality and Mixed
Marriages Acts, were already acceptable to the ‘total strategy’ policy and
indicated the clear move away from the racial control of the 1950s. As with
the desegregation of public amenities, they did little to challenge the exist-
ing political and social order.

The tricameral constitution made no provision for African participa-
tion. The principle remained that constitutional representation for Africans
was confined to the homelands. however, recognition of the permanent
status of some black township residents had been given in 1977 when

Worden, Nigel. The Making of Modern South Africa : Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated,
2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/insu-ebooks/detail.action?docID=822664.
Created from insu-ebooks on 2020-10-27 21:32:22.

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ThE DECLINE AND FALL oF APArThEID 135

Vorster introduced Community Councils to administer township affairs
under the aegis of white government officials. In 1982, Botha extended this
system by the Black Local Authorities Act, which gave Community Councils
greater powers of administration. Elected by local residents, councilors
were responsible for township administration on budgets raised by local
rents and levies. Coinciding with tricameralism, this scheme hoped to
create a class of willing collaborators ‘in a rather crude effort to defuse black
claims to national political power through the substitution of power at
grassroots level’ (Murray 1987: 123). As with the tricameral elections, town-
ship Community Councils had little popular appeal.

Attempts to bolster allegiance to these policies were accompanied by a
conscious effort to upgrade townships for those with permanent residence
rights. The Urban Foundation, founded with business capital but sup-
ported by the state, backed programs to improve housing and other facili-
ties. In both townships and the rural areas the army was often deployed in
community schemes in a campaign to ‘win the hearts and minds of the
people’ (the WhAM policy), although this had a limited effect once the
security forces began to suppress opposition (see p. 141).

The role of the army was a further important component of ‘total strat-
egy’. Botha, previously the Minister of Defence, gave an important role to
the armed forces within policy making as part of security against the ‘total
onslaught’. The State Security Council (SSC), established in 1972 as an
advisory body to the Cabinet, now gained greater powers under the new
Minister of Defence, General Magnus Malan, including that of control over
intelligence and security work. By 1980 it was observed that ‘in many ways
[the SSC] is already an alternative Cabinet’ (Murray 1987: 40).

In addition to the WhAM campaign to stem the ‘total onslaught’ within
the country, Botha attempted to defuse opposition from potentially hostile
countries in the wider southern African region. his hope of creating a
‘constellation of states’ linked to South Africa by trade was foiled by the
organization of the frontline states against South African influence, but
the security forces then mounted a campaign of deliberate destabilization.
Direct military incursions accompanied indirect support of dissident
armed movements such as rENAMo in Mozambique and UNITA in
Angola, while raids were made on centers which the South African state
claimed housed ANC guerrillas in Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and
Botswana. In Namibia, South African occupation continued and a bitter
guerrilla war was fought with the nationalist SWAPo (Davies and o’Meara
1984). In 1984 the results of this policy met some success with the signing

Worden, Nigel. The Making of Modern South Africa : Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated,
2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/insu-ebooks/detail.action?docID=822664.
Created from insu-ebooks on 2020-10-27 21:32:22.

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136 ThE DECLINE AND FALL oF APArThEID

of the Nkomati non-aggression accord with Mozambique, by which the
Maputo government agreed to expel ANC guerrilla camps from its territory
in return for the ending of South African support for rENAMo.

‘Total strategy’ was thus as much a reformulation of apartheid as a
reform. Its purpose was to maintain white political hegemony while
restructuring some aspects of the social and political order to counter the
threat of revolutionary opposition. This was abundantly clear to many of
the state’s opponents, who resisted ‘total strategy’ with renewed energy.

Resistance and repression

‘Total strategy’ was intended to defuse protest outbreaks of the kind that
had occurred in the 1970s, and to bring economic and political stability to
South Africa. It had precisely the opposite effect.

The economy failed to recover the growth rates it had shown in the
1960s and early 1970s. Despite a brief recuperation between 1978 and 1980,
subsequent years saw a fall in the gold price, a balance of payments crisis,
and dependence on loans from the International Monetary Fund and
foreign bankers. Inflation and unemployment soared in 1982, and again in
1984. The standard of living of all South Africans fell: black poverty became
even more acute than ever.

These circumstances did not favor a state campaign to ‘win hearts and
minds’. The recession was accompanied by heightened opposition to ‘total
strategy’ policies. Many of the Botha reforms produced consequences unin-
tended by the state (Friedman 1986). For instance, the relaxation of pass
controls led to an unprecedented move of Africans into the cities. This was
particularly evident in Cape Town, where the ending of legislated prefer-
ence for colored workers gave greater possibilities for African employment.
Large squatter camps grew up on the outskirts of the city, particularly at
Crossroads. At first, they were ruthlessly destroyed as the dwellings of
‘illegal’ incomers by the ironically named Department of Cooperation and
Development. But by 1984 the government conceded the rights of squatters
to stay in the region and plans were laid for the building of a large new
township at Khayelitsha. The attempt to distinguish between permanent
residents and temporary outsiders was collapsing here as in many other
cities.

Another unintended development was the emergence of powerful trade
unions. The proper recognition of African union negotiating mechanisms
led to a massive growth in membership, particularly among migrant

Worden, Nigel. The Making of Modern South Africa : Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated,
2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/insu-ebooks/detail.action?docID=822664.
Created from insu-ebooks on 2020-10-27 21:32:22.

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ThE DECLINE AND FALL oF APArThEID 137

workers hitherto excluded from union representation. Falling real wages
and poor working conditions produced a number of strikes in the early
1980s. But action went further than local factory issues. In 1982, spurred
by the death in detention of Neil Aggett, the Transvaal organizer of the
Food and Canning Workers’ Union, many unions came together to organ-
ize campaigns which represented broader political interests and protested
against state policies. Thus in November 1984 a major stayaway was
organized on the rand backed by union and community groups. Large-
scale union affiliations were being formed with political allegiances. The
largest was the Congress of South African Trade Unions (CoSATU),
launched in 1985 and following a broadly Charterist position. The Azanian
Confederation of Trade Unions (AZACTU) took a position more in tune
with Black Consciousness lines, and in 1986 the United Workers’ Union of
South Africa (UWUSA) was established under the aegis of the more con-
servative Inkatha movement. The point was that unions were now at the
forefront of the political struggle. Although there were debates within
the unions over the advisability of involvement in wider populist politics,
and fears that worker issues might thus be submerged, coordinated action
between the federated unions and student and community organizations
took place with increasing frequency from the mid-1980s. Far from taming
the labor movement, the Wiehahn reforms had politicized it (Webster
1988).

The context for this was heightened popular resistance and mobilization
on a scale which exceeded even that of the 1950s and 1976–7, and which
took new forms and goals. In 1980 colored school students in the western
Cape boycotted classes to protest against the use of army servicemen as
teachers, and to demand free education for everyone and not for whites
alone. Links were made with striking meat workers in Cape Town. Boycott
action spread to the rand and the eastern Cape, where it meshed with
demands for the ending of homeland citizenship. Although the boycotts
were broken by police action by the end of the year, these episodes provided
a link between the uprising of 1976–7 and the more widespread resistance
of the mid-1980s.

The catalyst to this was the tricameral constitution and the Black Local
Authorities Act. Both measures made it absolutely clear that the Botha
government was attempting to restructure apartheid rather than to dis-
mantle it, and that the African majority would continue to be permanently
excluded from central government. White control would be entrenched,
but the state hoped that the new system would be more acceptable both

Worden, Nigel. The Making of Modern South Africa : Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated,
2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/insu-ebooks/detail.action?docID=822664.
Created from insu-ebooks on 2020-10-27 21:32:22.

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138 ThE DECLINE AND FALL oF APArThEID

locally and internationally. New oppositional organizations emerged to
demonstrate the fallacy of this belief.

Early in 1983, the National Forum (NF) was established, bringing
together supporters of Black Consciousness in the Azanian People’s
organization (AZAPo) and the non-collaborationist tradition of the
western Cape Unity Movement. Its ‘Manifesto of the Azanian People’
opposed all alliances with ruling-class parties, demanded the immediate
establishment of ‘a democratic, anti-racist worker republic in Azania’, and
defined the struggle for national liberation as ‘directed against the system
of racial capitalism which holds the people of Azania in bondage for the
benefit of the small minority of white capitalists and their allies, the white
workers and the reactionary sections of the black middle class’ (Davies
et al. 1988: 454).

Such a policy was a rejection of the broader populist Charterist tradi-
tion, which was represented in the foundation of the United Democratic
Front (UDF) in the same year. The UDF called for rejection of the apart-
heid state, boycott of the tricameral system and acceptance of the Freedom
Charter principles (see p. 115). The campaign had dramatic results: only a
small percentage of colored and Indian voters cast their poll, and many
others refused even to register. The tricameral system was thus denied
legitimacy from the start.

Both the NF and the UDF were loosely knit confederations of commu-
nity, youth and trade union organizations that had proliferated across the
country in the late 1970s and early 1980s, rather than political parties. Their
differences lay in their ideologies, with the NF regarding worker interests
as paramount and criticizing the UDF for its ‘petty bourgeois’ leadership
and its populist multi-class character. The Black Consciousness strand in
NF thinking was apparent in the reluctance of some of its supporters to
admit white-dominated organizations such as the National Union of South
African Students (NUSAS). however, those from the Unity tradition
rejected any policy that recognized race. Indeed, the involvement of AZAPo
members in the NF showed how the Black Consciousness movement had
moved decisively towards workerist positions since the days of Biko.

The UDF acquired by far the largest number of affiliates and the highest
public profile, and was only really challenged by the NF in the western
Cape. The UDF drew on a wide range of local community organizations
across the country, and particularly in the Transvaal and the eastern Cape.
Swilling (1988) has argued that its Charterist position did not preclude
working-class membership, and indeed leadership. Certainly, as protest

Worden, Nigel. The Making of Modern South Africa : Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated,
2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/insu-ebooks/detail.action?docID=822664.
Created from insu-ebooks on 2020-10-27 21:32:22.

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ThE DECLINE AND FALL oF APArThEID 139

developed in the course of 1984–6, the organizations affiliated to the UDF
gave it an increasingly radical character, although it still lacked a clear
political program and was ‘only involved in issues if the relevant affiliates
sought its assistance’ (Seekings 2000: 291).

The UDF also worked more actively to recruit support to its affiliated
organizations at a local level. Its campaign to obtain a million signatures
for a petition against apartheid in the aftermath of the tricameral elections
in 1984 failed to attain its numerical goal, partly because of police harass-
ment and confiscation of signed papers, but ‘it did, for the first time,
provide township activists with a vehicle for some solid door-to-door
organizing’ (Swilling 1988: 101).

By 1985 this was bearing fruit in a series of local campaigns, including
bus and rent boycotts, school protests and worker stayaways. Although local
circumstances varied, a common focus of township resistance was the
Community Councils and those councilors who accepted office and were
branded as collaborators in the apartheid system. Economic pressures also
undermined the position of the councils. Not only were they politically
unacceptable, but their dependence on local funding and their role as col-
lectors of rents and unpopular service charges made them vulnerable to
protests against increases at a time of recession. Tensions were heightened
by accusations of corruption and malpractice. Such issues mobilized town-
ship residents of all ages and meshed with student protests and boycotts.

It was primarily resistance to increases in rent and service charges that
led to a major rebellion in the townships of the Vaal triangle between
September and November 1984 (Seekings 1988). Protest spread to other
parts of the Transvaal, with attacks on councilors and their homes as well
as government buildings, homes of police and beer halls. A number of
councilors resigned under such threats to their lives, but the uprising con-
tinued with student and worker protests at the fore. By 1985 township
conflict had spread to the orange Free State, the eastern Cape and, finally,
to Cape Town and Natal.

State repression only fuelled further opposition. on Sharpeville Day,
1985, police opened fire on a funeral procession in Uitenhage in the eastern
Cape, killing twenty people in an episode that bore strong resemblance to
the events twenty-five years earlier. This provoked renewed school boycotts
throughout the country and clashes between township youth and police.
By July the situation had reached such proportions that the government
declared a State of Emergency in many regions, extending the power of
arbitrary detention without trial and indemnifying the security forces

Worden, Nigel. The Making of Modern South Africa : Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated,
2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/insu-ebooks/detail.action?docID=822664.
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140 ThE DECLINE AND FALL oF APArThEID

against any charge of malpractice. With a brief break in 1986, emergency
regulations were extended throughout the country and remained in place
until 1990.

The conflicts of 1984–6 marked a new phase in South African popular
resistance. In many townships throughout the country civil government
collapsed, to be replaced by alternative, unofficial organizations calling for
‘people’s power’. In many cases, as in 1976–7, the initiative was taken by
youth organizations, although they drew support from a wider sector of
the community than was the case previously. More effective links were
made between students and workers, particularly in the Vaal triangle and
in the eastern Cape. Street committees organized coordinated actions such
as rent boycotts and consumer boycotts of white businesses to persuade
their owners to support calls for desegregation and lessening of state
oppression. Moreover, this happened in hitherto unpoliticized small towns
and rural areas in platteland South Africa as much as in the large metro-
politan townships. In many cases, such actions by young men were only
reluctantly supported by their elders, who resented the overturning of
generational authority. Certainly, the events of the mid-1980s marked an
emergence into the political arena of a male youth assertiveness that had
previously been expressed through gangs (Glaser 1998).

In most of these cases, local grievances led to action; during the Vaal
uprising the UDF was ‘trailing behind the masses’ (Seekings 1992). It none-
theless played an important part in creating an alternative national political
culture that transcended local issues and gave a sense of common purpose.
In this its Charterist line was crucial. In many townships the ideals of the
Freedom Charter provided the focus for action and political organization.
A case study of Youth Congress activists in the Alexandra township near
Johannesburg shows that in practice this might not always have penetrated
very deeply, although debates over populist and workerist issues and clashes
with AZAPo supporters were part of the linking of local issues of rent and
school boycotts with a wider national framework (Carter 1991).

A further important development was the massive increase in support
for the exiled ANC, not only in its earlier regions of strength such as the
eastern Cape and the Transvaal, but also in the western Cape where histori-
cally its position had been weaker (Bundy 1987b). Songs of praise to
Mandela and Tambo, study of ANC underground liter