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APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA OPPOSITION TO APARTHEID INSIDE SOUTH AFRICA (1) BY NANDINI MAHARAJ
OPPOSITION TO APARTHEID INSIDE SOUTH AFRICA - Inside South Africa, opposition to the system was difficult. - Anyone who objected including whites - or broke the apartheid laws, was accused of being a communist and was severely punished under the Suppression of Communism Act. Africans were forbidden to strike, and their political party, the African National Congress (ANC), was helpless. - In spite of this, protests did take place. Chief Albert Luthuli, the ANC leader, organized a protest campaign in which black Africans stopped work on certain days. In 1952 Africans attempted a systematic breach of the laws by entering shops and other places reserved for whites.
Over 8000 blacks were arrested and many were flogged. Luthuli was deprived of his chieftaincy and put in jail for a time, and the campaign was called off. In 1955 the ANC formed a coalition with Asian and coloured groups, and at a massive open-air meeting at Kliptown (near Johannesburg), they just had time to announce a freedom charter before police broke up the crowd.
The charter soon became the main ANC programme. It began by declaring: 'South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and no government can claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people.' It went on to demand: 1. equality before the law; press, 3. the right to vote; .4. the right to work, with equal pay for equal work; . 5. a 40-hour working week, a minimum wage and unemployment benefits; 6. free medical care; 7. free, compulsory and equal education.
Church leaders and missionaries, both black and white spoke against apartheid. They included people like Trevor Huddleton. a British missionary who had been working in South Africa since 1943.
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