The period after the First World War was marked by strike action and the formation of unions. In the 1930's black Cape voters were removed from the common voters' roll, laws were passed to stem black urbanisation and force municipalities to segregate black Africans and white residents.The 1940's saw South Africa participating in World War II under the premiership of Jan Smuts. Strong opposition to the war by the Afrikaaners resulted in more support for D.F. Malan and the subsequent rise to power of the Nationalist Party.Meanwhile in 1944 the ANC Youth League was formed with Nelson Mandela as its secretary. The result being an almost 50 year long conflict between this organisation and the Nationalist Party.After the war came a time of rapid industrialisation, but skilled work remained with the whites.
In 1948 the Nationalist Party gained power which they would not relinquish until 1994. Separate Development (Apartheid) became the official government policy. The result was an increase of unity amongst resistance groups which included black, coloured, Indian and white organisations.In 1961 South Africa became a republic and left the Commonwealth. By the end of that year Umkhonto we Sizwe (The Spear of the Nation) started with acts of sabotage and the UN had called upon its members to institute economic sanctions against South Africa.Mandela, Sisulu and other leaders of the resistance groups were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.
In 1976 the youth of Soweto marched against unacceptable educational conditions, police fired at them and violence broke out. A state of emergency was declared.By the late 1980's under increasing international pressure the government had no option but to start negotiations with Mandela. In 1990 Mandela was set free and in 1993 after further negotiations an interim constitution was agreed to by 21 political parties.In 1994 the first democratic election was held and Nelson Mandela became president.The Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela retired in 1999. Thabo Mbeki, his First Vice President, became president of the ANC and President of the Republic of South Africa. The ANC got almost a two third majority of the votes in those elections.Mbeki's style of government was progressively seen as been autocratic. And his disastrous stand on two of the most pressing problems of the country, AIDS and the regime in neighbouring Zimbabwe, earned him critique in large parts of the population.
When Mbeki suspended his vice president, Jacob Zuma, who was facing prosecution for rape, corruption and racketeering, the resistance against him grew tremendously, especially among the youngsters in the ANC Youth League, who are Zuma's most ardent followers.At the ANC convention in Polokwane on December 16, 2007, the populist Zuma was elected new party president and thereby automatically as candidate for the presidency of the country. Some months later Mbeki was pressurised into resigning from the office of State President.In the meantime, an opposition party has formed under the leadership of former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota. Numerous intelligent people are gathered in its ranks, mostly from the ANC, who are willing to fight corruption and restore democracy.
They often appear in newspapers, but are virtually banned from TV.Jacob Zuma is our current president. He still has to stand trial on charges of corruption and racketeering. He gives the overall impression of regarding democratic values not highly. He is relatively uneducated, sucks up to the left wingers, at the same time leads a traditional life with a big collection of wives and is prone to violence talk and to bullying minorities.Many South Africans fear for the political future of the country.
Text of Gill Hefer( www.gillianhefer.blogspot.com)