IN MEMORY OF NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA, 1918 to 2013
Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Inkhosi Albert Luthuli’s 5 year banning order imposed by HF Verwoerd’s National Party regime expires. Luthuli is the president of the African National Congress, and a zealous proponent of non-violence and peaceful means of protest against racial oppression and the apartheid laws of South Africa.
He is immediately served with a stricter order.
Later, the founding leader of the African National Congress’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, Nelson Mandela, is sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Eiland off the coast of Cape Town at the foot of the beautiful Table Mountain, a wonder of this world.
The government’s Criminal Procedures Act is enforced to allow a period of 180 days detention without trial, and the option to extend that incarceration indefinitely towards persons required to give evidence of political offences against the regime.
In the same year, Verwoerd declares that the All Black rugby team of New Zealand may not include Maoris in their squad to face the Sprinkboks.
Steven Bantu Biko enters university to study medicine.
Much later that year, Verwoerd is murdered by a troubled parliamentary messenger, Dimtri Tsafendas. The poor man immediately goes on trial for his deeds, and Verwoerd is replaced by BJ Vorster as prime minister of the new Republic of South Africa.
Vorster signs into law three oppressive acts.
The first bill restricts the number of black South Africans that may be employed in an industrial concern.
The second is designed under the guise of population registration and will have a disastrous effect on the Coloured population.
The third demands compulsory military service from the white males of the country.
In the same year Albert Luthuli dies mysteriously.
South Africans are prohibited to marry across racial and ethnic lines.
Vorster’s government bans African professor A Mateje from taking up his post in the department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town. The students revolt.
Lone opposition member of parliament, Helen Suzman asks for a commission of inquiry into the efficacy of the death penalty. No other member supports her motion.
Later that year Winnie Mandela is arrested and detained for 5 months.
BOSS, the Bureau of State Security, infiltrates a group of British anti-apartheid activists and squashes a plan to rescue Nelson Mandela from Robben Eiland.
All black South Africans are required to become citizens of a self-governing territorial authority and are further suppressed from taking up residency in the urban areas of the country.
Winnie Mandela is placed under house arrest.
Thabo Mbeki and Max Sisulu are sent by their organisation to the Soviet Union for political training.
At Zoo Lake, Johannesburg, Robert McBride joins a group of children, playing with a fish in a bucket. He is kicked in the groin by an eighteen year-old white youth.
Robert Sobukwe’s request to have his ban and exile to Kimberley lifted, is denied.
Later, eleven bombs explode in South Africa’s four major cities, scattering ANC propaganda leaflets in the aftermath.
The Black Consciousness Movement, later to be led by Steve Biko, is formed.
The Chief Executive Councillor of Kwazulu, Chief Buthelezi, condemns plans to consolidate Zululand in terms of the 1936 Trust and Land Act.
Mthuli Shezi dies after being pushed under a moving train for standing up for the dignity of black women who were drenched with water by a white station cleaner.
The Minister of Justice defends the banning orders on eight black leaders on the grounds that he is preventing acts of terrorism worse than any previously experienced. The opposition queries why, in such a case, the leaders are not taken to court.
A Whites-only team defeats a Blacks-only team 2-0 in a soccer match at the Rand Stadium.
The British Lions rugby team leave London to begin a controversial 22 match tour of SA and Rhodesia, ignoring threats by the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa to sever all sporting links with Britain.
Later, New Zealand imposes a blanket ban on virtually all visits by sports teams from South Africa.
Lillian Ngoyi’s banning order is renewed for five years.
Mamphela Ramphele founds Zanempilo Community Health Centre in Zinyoka, outside King William’s Town.
Lindiwe Sisulu is detained. After her release she joins MK and works underground. She undergoes military training and specializes in Intelligence.
The Women’s Committee at Crossroads plays a central role in resisting threats of eviction and pass raids
During the Soweto students’ uprising against the oppressive regime’s introduction of a law requiring them to study Afrikaans as a primary medium of education, a young boy, Hector Petersen, is murdered.
Steve Biko is murdered
Robert Sobukwe – the founding leader of the Pan Africanist Congress who led a mass, peaceful protest against the repressive use of pass books by black South Africans in Sharpeville, 1960 – died, exiled, isolated and lonely.
After the information scandal forces former Police Minister Vorster to resign, he is replaced as prime minister by Defence minister PW Botha.
Botha, draws up a comprehensive national strategy, reappraising the apartheid policy and reiterating his aim of establishing a “constellation of independent African states.”
He becomes the apartheid regime’s first prime minister to visit Soweto. Later, Colin Eglin is replaced by Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert as leader of the Progressive Federal Party, the official parliamentary opposition to Botha’s regime.
1980 is declared the Year of the Charter, marking the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom charter in 1955. But massive school boycotts rock the black ‘townships’ once more. Even so, attendance at segregated African schools increased by 89% in comparison to 1965.
Fatima Meer builds schools in Umlazi, Port Shepstone, Inanda, establishes Tembalihle Tutorial College and a Crafts’ Centre in Phoenix.
In Fietas, Johannesburg, July Allan, the so-called ‘China Man’, an owner of a sweet shop, is forced to leave Pageview. He moves to a northern suburb of Johannesburg with his sister, Ming, but finds the transition very painful, remarking on the difference in treatment he receives from his new customers, who ridicule him for being Chinese and take products from his shop without paying.
1982 is declared an international year of mobilisation for sanctions against South Africa.
The National Union of Mineworkers is formed.
Barbara Hogan is arrested for High Treason, and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for belonging to the banned ANC. Ruth First is killed by a letter bomb.
In the same year FW de Klerk is unanimously elected the new leader of the Transvaal National Party.
Zulu Chief Buthelezi meets Transkei President Matanzima to dedicate their’ homelands’ to opposing Botha’s constitutional proposals which exclude black South Africans.
But on 21 March, a publication of declaration for the release of Nelson Mandela and all other South African Political Prisoners is signed by over 4,000 public leaders. The declaration was initiated by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston in co-operation with the Special Committee against Apartheid.
PW Botha becomes Executive State President of South Africa.
1985 is the 30th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.
The first of a number of states of emergency is announced by PW Botha. PW Botha announces a proposal to release Nelson Mandela, but with conditions. That he renounce violence as a means to an end.
Madiba turns down this offer.
Mr Mandela is taken ill whilst in prison. His comrade, Walter Sisulu, visits him.
The love of his life returns home once more and reignites her political activism against the oppressive Botha regime, earning her the title “Mother of the Nation”.
Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert, leader of the official opposition in parliament, resigns, stating that it has become incapable of bringing about the desired reforms.
The highest number of strikes recorded thus far in South Africa, occurs in this year. It is the ANC’s 75th anniversary. But its president, Oliver Tambo rules out the possibility of negotiations with Botha’s regime. Tambo meets United States secretary of state, George Shultz, in Washington DC.
Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Mpilo Tutu, meets with the ANC in Zambia, but fails to convince them to abandon the armed struggle.
Things start to happen.
Major General Bantu Holomisa, family friend of the Mandelas, ousts Stella Sigcau in a bloodless coup and becomes Transkei’s military and government boss. Botha opens parliament, but ignores the country’s violent crises in his address. Boputhatswana ‘president’, Lucas Mangope, is overthrown by his own militia. Seventeen political and union organisations, including the Congress of South African Trade Unions, are banned.
Botha amends his state of emergency regulations, allowing his minister of ‘law and order, Adriaan Vlok, to restrict the activities of any or all organisations and people.
Desmond Tutu is arrested after peacefully presenting a petition to parliament.
Church services are held countrywide to call on Botha’s government to stop its confrontational path to destruction. Members of my own Roman Catholic congregation walk out in protest and ignore the Archbishop’s Diocesan appeal.
Alan Paton, founding leader of the Liberal Party and author of Cry, the Beloved Country, dies.
Albie Sachs, banned ANC member, is critically wounded in a bomb blast in Maputo. Botha’s agents are blamed.
Anti-apartheid Afrikaners, led by Van Zyl Slabbert, meet with the ANC in Frankfurt to discuss a post-apartheid South Africa.
Botha reviews and perpetuates the state of emergency.
More than a million black South Africans stay away from work to commemorate the twelfth anniversary of the Soweto uprising.
Nelson Mandela is admitted to Tygerberg Hospital to be treated for a lung infection.
Barend Hendrick Strydom massacres six black South Africans on the streets of Pretoria.
Harry Gwala, Zephania Mothopeng, Zwelakhe Sisulu, Ebraim Rasool and Trevor Manuel are released from prison.
But Patrick Mosiua “Terror” Lekota is sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.
After recovering from tuberculosis in a private hospital clinic, Nelson R Mandela is moved to a private house on the grounds of Victor Verster Prison near Paarl.
Walter Sisulu is moved to Mandela’s old cells at Pollsmoor Prison near the white suburb of Tokai.
Later, the Rivonia trialists are released from prison.
State President PW Botha is incapacitated due to a ‘mild’ stroke. Frederick Willem de Klerk makes his move and leads a cabinet coup against the former defence minister and forces him to resign.
FW de Klerk replaces PW Botha as the apartheid state’s last president. He immediately expresses the need for change in the country.
Umkhonto weSizwe begin the process of closing military bases outside of South Africa.
Patricia de Lille is elected as a national executive member of the Pan Africanist Congress.
The United Democratic Movement (UDF) and COSATU distance themselves from Winnie Mandela’s private militia. In the meantime, the book, Uprooting Poverty, The South African Challenge, is released by Professor Francis Wilson and Dr Mamphela Ramphele of the University of Cape Town.
After their hunger strike, fifty political prisoners are released.
The last white general elections are announced, the Democratic Party is formed, and Helen Suzman announces her retirement from parliament. But a three year-old state of emergency is renewed for yet another year. The National Party wins by a landslide for the last time.
Seven senior ANC leaders are released and de Klerk disbands the National Security Management System.
On the 13th Decemember, 1989, FW de Klerk and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela meet to discuss the country’s future. Five political prisoners, including Mosiua Lekota, are released from the Robben Island prison.
Freedom is coming.
2 February 1990
President FW de Klerk opens parliament.
He announces the unbanning of all political organisations, including AZAPO, the Pan Africanist Congress, the South African Communist Party and the African National Congress.
He announces the release of all remaining political prisoners with immediate effect.
It is unconditional.
He announces that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is to be released.
ON THE 11TH OF FEBRUARY 1990, NELSON MANDELA IS A FREE MAN. AND CONTINUES HIS LONG WALK.
HAMBA KAHLE! MADIBA.
HAMBA KAHLE! OLD MAN.
I miss you deeply.
May your soul always rest.
LET US NEVER FORGET.