i.d.a.f. news notes

by International Defense and Aid Fund for Southern Africa
with Geoffrey Wisner (editor), Lucy Boling, Kenneth Carstens, Peter J. Gomes, Thomas Harris, Madeleine Leeds, Susan Pedersen, Stephanie Urdang
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
February 1982
Publisher: International Defense and Aid Fund for Southern Africa
8 pages
The newsletter reports on March 20, 1980, Representative Thomas Downey and Senator Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts and several other Members of Congress launched the Congressional Ad Hoc Monitoring Group on Southern Africa and its Political Prisoner Project, in which Members of Congress "adopt" South Africans currently detained, imprisoned or banned because of their opposition to apartheid. The project was conceived by former Rep. Donald Fraser. The newsletter says the number of black women detained, tortured or killed in South Africa and Namibia is growing; 42 women have been held without charge in a Namibian prison since the South African raid on the Kassinga refugee camp in 1978. Stephanie Urdang writes that 25 years ago this August, 20,000 women-mostly Africans-converged on Pretoria in a powerful protest directed against the imminent extension of the pass laws to African women; 20 years later, the Soweto uprisings ignited resistance campaigns throughout the country in which many women and girls participated. Many of them have been jailed or are fleeing into exile, joining liberation movements and taking their place with the fight for national liberation. South Africa is inevitably heading towards armed struggle, while in neighboring Namibia it is well underway. Striking victories began with the ousting of Portuguese colonialism from Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique and were followed by independence in Zimbabwe in 1980. The newsletter reports South Africa's Rabie Commission on security has recommended the addition of three new offenses and the creation of a new department of "Law and Order" to help cope with the "Communist" threat. The newsletter reports Neil Aggett, a 28-year-old physician and provincial organizer in the unregistered black Food and Canning Workers Union, was found hanged in his prison cell, according to South African police; Aggett was detained in November 1981, held incommunicado, and, according to an eyewitness account read in Parliament by opposition MP Helen Suzman, subjected to degrading ill-treatment. The newsletter reports nearly one-sixth of the MPs in the ruling Nationalist Party's caucus voted against Prime Minister P.W. Botha in what has been hailed in opposition circles as the most portentous division in the ruling party since it came to power in 1948; the 22 who voted against Botha are supporters of the Transvaal party leader Andries Treurnicht, who is even further to the right than Botha and opposes whites "sharing power" with Coloureds and Asians. The newsletter reports on the attempted coup in the Seychelles, involving about 50 white mercenaries from South Africa. Authorities announced that a hunger strike in the maximum security prison for black political prisoners at Robben Island has ended. The Israeli Defense Minister visited the South African defense force on the Namibian border last week. The newsletter discusses Thozamile Botha, the Port Elizabeth Black Civil Organization, IDAF Women's Committee, the 1980 World Conference of the U.N. Decade for Women, the African National Congress (ANC), Motlalepula Chabaku, Elizabeth Claire Franklin, Mankekolo Mahlangu Ngcobo, the South African institute of Race Relation, the Black Women's Federation of South Africa, the Soweto Action Committee, the Soweto Committee of Ten, People United to Save Orphans, the Azanian People's Organization (Azapo), the Terrorism Act, President Samora Machel, Teurai Ropa Nhongo, the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), the Steyn Commission, "Mad Mike" Hoare, Ciskei, UNITA, Jonas Savimbi, the British Council of Churches, South West African People's Organization (SWAPO), Alastair Sparks, Thozamile Gqweta, the South African Allied Workers Union, Sisas Nphelananere, the African National Congress (ANC), the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Dutch Reformed churches, the Nationalist Party, Minister of Defense Magnus Malan, the KaNgwane bantustan, Prime Minister Mugabe, President dos Santos, President Diof, President Kaunda, Mark Kaplan, the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), the Dutch Reformed Church, the Broederbond, Franz Paul Blakemere, John Vorster Square, Roelof Blesny, Winnie Mandela, Nelson Mandela, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), the UN Security Council, Alfred Nzo, the Pan Africanist Congress, Stephen Kitson, Michael Jenkins, Kathy Hunter, Daphne Smith, Lesotho Liberation Army, BCP (Basutoland Congress Party), International Year of Mobilization for Sanctions against Apartheid, KwaZulu, Dennis Brutus, The Very Reverend T.S. Farisani, Venda, Brand Fourie, US Secretary of State Haig, National Resistance Movement (MNR), the Lutheran Church, Lucio Lara, the Reagan Administration, the National Association of Lawyers for Human Rights, Bishop Desmond Tutu, the South African Council of Churches, Reverend Peter Storey, and Cuban troops. Contents: Political Prisoner Project • WOMEN IN SOUTHERN AFRICA • Women's Committee Founded • SPEAKERS BUREAU • The Fight for Liberation • As we go to press… • Southern Africa News Calendar December 1981 and January 1982
Used by permission of a former staff member of the International Defense and Aid Fund for Southern Africa, United States Committee.
Collection: International Defense and Aid Fund for Southern Africa, United States Committee (Geoff Wisner collection), Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections