Nonviolent Revolution in South Africa

by George M. Houser, Fellowship of Reconciliation
with Z.K. Matthews
New York, New York, United States
January 1953
Publisher: Fellowship Publications
30 pages
Type: Pamphlet
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
This pamphlet is sponsored by Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), Americans for South African Resistance, and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), with a Forward by Z. K. Matthews, President of the Cape Province Branch, African National Congress (ANC). The pamphlet describes the mass nonviolent civil disobedience campaign begun in June 1952, in which more than 8,000 Africans and Indians had been arrested for violating apartheid laws imposing segregation and discrimination. This is the first time the African people have been roused in a determined effort to radically change these unjust conditions; the campaign is gathering strength. Only four African countries have any degree of independent status--Egypt, Ethiopia, Liberia, and the Union of South Africa. Britain and France have the largest colonial empires in Africa, but Belgium, Spain, and Portugal control large sections. National revolutions will occur in Africa, following those in Asia. The nature of the struggle for freedom varies by country, with colonialism and white supremacy alternating as the principal oppressor. In most of the countries of Central and East Africa (such as Northern and Southern Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Tanganyika, and Kenya), ultimate power rests in the colonial office of a European power, and the presence of permanent white settlers with dominant positions in the colony gives African movements an anti-white character. U.S. media give little coverage to events in South Africa, and most stories have dealt with the constitutional crisis and struggle for political control between the Nationalist Party of Dr. D. F. Malan and the United Party headed by Field Marshal Jan Smuts. The pamphlet describes South Africa’s demographic groups, including Africans, Indians, so-called Coloreds, and Europeans of English and Dutch ancestry. The vast majority of the native Africans in South Africa live in three strictly regulated types of location; 40 percent live in “native reserves” in rural areas, 30 percent live as laborers on land owned by Europeans, and another 30 percent live in urban areas. The pamphlet discusses Manilal Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi, the British Commonwealth, Douglas Mitchell, the Cape of Good Hope, Afrikaners, the Boer War, General Herzog, civil rights, Colored voters in the Cape Province, the regular voters roll, Parliament, the Constitution, the Native Trust and Land Act of 1936, African labor tenants, European famers, the Native Service Contract Act of 1932, the Native (Urban Areas) Consolidation Act of 1923, Ellen Hellman, the Handbook of Race Relations in South Africa, Pass Laws, the Native Commissioner, the Mines and Works Act of 1926, the gold mines, Cape Town University, tax, the Nationalists, Parliament, Natives Representative Council, equal rights, 'City of Gold,' police raids, 'locations,' shanty-towns, unjust laws, Langa, the African National Congress (ANC), the Natal Indian Congress, the South African Indian Congress, Alan Paton, the Franchise Action Council, the Group Areas Act, the Separate Registration of Voters Act, Suppression of Communism Act, the Bantu Authorities Act, the Betterment Areas Proclamation Act, Dr. J. S. Moroka, W. M. Sisulu, the Minister of Native Affairs, the Joint Action Council, and the Torch Commando.
Used by permission of George M. Houser.
Collection: Africa Action Archive