TransAfrica Forum Issue Brief

(Vol. 3, No. 5)
by TransAfrica Forum
Washington, DC, United States
October-November 1984
6 pages
Type: Newsletter
Coverage in Africa: Angola, Namibia, South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States, Cuba
Language: English
Contents:  INTERNAL RESISTANCE IN SOUTH AFRICA • REAGANWATCH: SUPPORTING. APARTHEID, UNDERMINING AMERICAN INTERESTS • INTERNAL RESISTANCE IN SOUTH AFRICA: AN HISTORICAL PROFILE • South Africa is facing three interrelated sources of challenge: internal, regional, and global. This ISSUE BRIEF, focused on resistance within South Africa, begins with an interview with Zwelakhe Sisulu, son of Walter Sisulu, who, like Nelson Mandela, is serving a life sentence for opposing apartheid. The younger Mr. Sisulu - journalist, union leader, and political activist - was himself "banned" from 1980 to 1983, as was the union he headed. The ISSUE BRIEF also traces the history of internal resistance and the Reagan administration's policy of "constructive engagement." Reagan’s policy has meant substantial concessions to and collaboration with the Pretoria regime, without any discernible success in moderating apartheid. As a result, America's image and interests in Africa have been damaged. The Reagan administration made three key policy changes as inducement to South Africa. One dealt with the U.S. arms embargo and the ban on sales of commercial goods to the South African security forces. Another broadened the definition of "commercial" to include nuclear-related equipment and lifted the ban on sales of commercial goods to Pretoria's security forces. The third relaxed restrictions on sales of aircraft and computers. These decisions sent a powerful message to U.S. business regarding acceptability of supporting apartheid; indeed, U.S. investment in South Africa has grown dramatically. In 1984, South African armed forces raided homes of innocent civilians in the Black townships of Tembisa, Vosloorus, Sebokeng, Soweto, Sharpeville, Boipatong, Tsakane, Katlehong, and Daveyton. Hours after Reagan was reelected, Pretoria responded to the November 5- 6 strike by killing 18 people, detaining 35 others indefinitely without charges, firing 95 percent of the black workers in one organization (SASOL) and charging five organizers with "subversion." Many anti-apartheid organizations in South Africa are banned and then quickly replaced by others. People are organized in women's groups; political, civic, and community groups; unions; and student organizations. The newsletter mentions Black Local Authorities, the African National Congress (ANC), the Congress Alliance of the 1950s, Gatsha Buthelezi, Bantustans, multi-racialism, non-racialism, the tricameral constitution, international pressure, multinationals, the Black middle class, opening of a trade promotions office in Johannesburg, the South African Defense Force (SADF), the U.S. Coast Guard School on Governor's Island, AMVER, sharing of sensitive NATO and U.S. military information, the Simonstown Naval Station, linking Namibian independence with the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola, the Western Contact Group, sale of 25,000 shock batons, Control Data, the Cyber 170/750 computer, the Nkomati Accord, Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldridge, James Roherty, the Naval War College, the South African Air Force, Shackleton planes, the Lockheed P-3C Orion, the Internal Security Act, the OAU (Organization of African Unity), MNR (Renamo), UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), anti-colonial wars, settler expropriation of land, the Khoikhoi, the San, civil disobedience, the 1952 "Campaign of Defiance Against Unjust Laws,” SACTU (South African Congress of Trade Unions), the Freedom Charter, the Women’s March, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), Sharpeville Massacre, armed resistance, Umkhonto We Sizwe ("Spear of the Nation"), international sports organizations, and TransAfrica Forum staff Niikwao Akuetteh, Cecelie Counts, B. Atewe Osifo, Menda Ahart, and Randall Robinson.
Used by permission of TransAfrica Forum.
Collection: William Minter Southern Africa Papers