Archive by Author

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

Unesco 2.png

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 […]

The United Democratic Front

Established in the early 1980s, the United Democratic Front (UDF) has an interesting, if somewhat dark, history in KwaZulu-Natal. A coalition of hundreds of organisations banded together with the common aim of non-racialism, the UDF’s first regional committee was from Natal, set up in May 1983. Officially though, the UDF was only launched nationally a […]

The Land is Ours

When eThekwini Municipality renamed a number of its roads a few years back, one of the city’s main arterial roads was changed from West Street to Dr Pixley KaSeme Street. The address of the Durban City Hall, a historic building and important site in terms of the liberation movement, changed as as result. The renaming of West […]

Ma Sisulu and the Marchers

Albertina Sisulu, march to the Union Buildings, August 1956

This year marks the centenary of the birth of both Nelson Mandela and Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu, referred to affectionately as Ma Sisulu. Albertina Sisulu’s life was intricately linked to that of Mandela’s. Not only were they born in the same year, but they shared family connections, and the lives of their partners mirrored each other over the […]