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Eric ‘Stalin’ Mtshali: 1931-12th October 2018

Eric Mtshali at the 17th World Trade Union Congress, Durban, 2016

Last Sunday an official funeral was held for the late Eric ‘Stalin’ Mtshali, who passed away at the age of 87 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban. Nicknamed ‘Stalin’ for his admiration of the Soviet Union leader, Joseph Stalin, Mtshali was a committed member of the South African Communist Party (SACP), which he joined in 1957. […]

Pik Botha: 27th April 1932 – 12th October 2018

Pik Botha, former South African foreign minister, listens to questions from members of the TRC (truth and reconciliation commission) 14 October at hearings in Johannesburg. Botha, once the world longest-serving foreign minister, was a member of the State Security Council, the inner sanctum of apartheid's security apparatus devised to combat anti apartheid liberation movements and suspected of links to the killings of political activists. (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN / AFP)

Last Friday saw the passing of one of apartheid’s most famous ministers, Pik Botha. A younger Pik Botha, 1977 Roelof Frederik Botha, nicknamed ‘Pik’ (the diminutive of pikkewyn – a reference to the his perceived likeness in stance to that of a penguin), had an illustrious political career, but is most famous as South Africa’s longest serving Minister […]

uPhillip Kgosana: 1936 – 20th April 2017

Philip Kgosana in London

Akuwona wonke umuntu ongazinikela abe nesiphiwo sokuhola izinkulungwane ezingaphezulu kweziyishumi zabantu emigwaqeni yedolobha elikhulu, bezibeka engozini engabehlela esandleni samaphoyisa. Lokhu kwenziwa ngumholi we-Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), uPhillip Kgosana mhla zingu30 March 1960 ngemuva kwezinsuku ezimbalwa amaphoyisa adubula abulala abantu ababebhikisha ngosuku oselwaziwa nge-Sharpville Massacre. UKgosana udlule emhlabeni namuhla eneminyaka engu 80 ubudala. Wayeneminyaka engu 23 […]

The National Peace Accord & South Africa’s Peace Monitors

Cartoon by Len Sak, September 1991

On Saturday the 14th September 1991 something unprecedented happened. The National Peace Accord was signed by all the major political organisations in South Africa* at the Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg. The agreement called on political parties to lay down their weapons in order to create an environment conducive to free and fair negotiations. It was the first peace […]

The Apartheid Convention

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On the 27th February 1979 the United Nations Economic and Social Council (Unesco) released a report entitled “Implementation of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid”. The ‘Apartheid Convention’ (or ICSPCA), which came into force in 1976, was ratified by twenty countries, namely Benin, Bulgaria, Belarus, Chad, Czechoslovakia, Ecuador, the German […]

Fighting Fire with Paper

A few month’s back we wrote about the important role that musicians played during apartheid by encouraging the public to take action against the state. In a similar vein, political artworks printed on posters and distributed, sometimes in their tens of thousands, were instrumental in educating community members as to what was going on around them, and […]

Udaba Olungaziwa nge SS Mendi

A group of SANLC men in France, circa 1917

Lona ngunyaka we 100 selokhu kwenzeka inhlekelele yokucwila komkhumbi i-SS Mendi ngasogwini lolwandle lwase Isle of Wight lapho kwadlula emhlabeni abantu abalinganiselwa ku 650. Lena ngenye yezinhlekelele ezinkulu zolwandle ezenzeka emlandweni wamakhulu angamashumi amabili eminyaka (20th century) olwandle lwase UK, kodwa ambalwa abantu abaziyo ngalendaba. Abaningi bacabanga ukuthi kungenxa yokuthi ngobani ababegibele lomkhumbi ngesikhathi ucwila, […]

Biko & the South African Student Organisation

This evening the University of KwaZulu-Natal will host their annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture, to commemorate the 41st anniversary of Steve Biko’s death. On the 18th August 1977, Biko and his associate, Peter Jones, were stopped at a routine road block near Grahamstown. When the police recognised the men, they were arrested under the Terrorism Act […]

Otelo Burning

Otelo Burning, a South African-directed film that opened the Durban International Film Festival in 2011, has as its backdrop the township of Lamontville, and the political violence that erupted there during the 1980s. Much like Mpumalanga that we wrote about last week, Lamontville too was besieged by infighting during the 1980s as members of the […]