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The compulsion of the apartheid regime, its demise and the advent of a new political dispensation in South Africa, 1948-1996

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dc.contributor.advisor Shamase, M.Z.
dc.contributor.author Jibril, Musa Ahmed
dc.date.accessioned 2015-08-13T10:31:42Z
dc.date.available 2015-08-13T10:31:42Z
dc.date.issued 2015
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10530/1364
dc.description A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Arts in fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of History at the University of Zululand, South Africa, 2015. en_US
dc.description.abstract The word apartheid refers to the racist belief that certain people are less human than others. In South Africa, the system technically began with the 1913 Land Act which set aside eighty-seven per cent (87%) of the most fertile land for white South Africans, leaving behind only thirteen per cent (13%) to be shared by the majority black Africans. This unequivocally generated a socio-political crisis in the country. Despite a plethora of literature on apartheid as such, there seems to have been some paucity of empirical studies on apartheid’s compulsion, its demise and the rise of a new political era during the period from 1948 to 1994. Puzzlement and curiosity within the public mind in South Africa and the world, about the gross violation of civil liberties perpetrated by the apartheid regime, prompted a scientific study of this nature. This study does not argue that the year 1948 marked the beginning of compulsive policies in South Africa On the contrary; there were various forms of compulsions that existed in South Africa prior to the period in question. The year 1948, however, serves as the point of departure for the study. The year 1948 ushered in the adoption and implementation of apartheid’s -social engineering by the ruling National Party- as an official State ideology. Between 1948 and 1988, a series of compulsive racial laws, which violated fundamental civil liberties, were passed by the South African parliament. Compulsive structures and strategies were devised and refined by the apartheid regime on the assumption of power in 1948 to safeguard and perpetuate the power in the face of a hostile and non-compliant majority. This led to a gradual, peaceful protest which later metamorphosed into various forms of political struggle. It was these forms of struggle that ensured the demise of apartheid and witnessed the advent of a new political dispensation in South Africa. From 1988 various political prisoners embarked on a hunger strike as a form of resistance to demonstrate their anger and rejection of apartheid compulsion. The hunger strike attracted the attention of the international community. This eventually led to more criticism and put pressure on the apartheid regime. As such, diplomatic and economic embargoes were placed on South Africa which greatly undermined its political and economic interests. What followed was mass disobedience and violent protests from different racial groups against the apartheid regime, thereby leading to the deaths of thousands of people, particularly those who vehemently opposed the compulsive racial laws. The victims that survived were either injured, imprisoned or forced to go into exile. Thus, the period between 1988 and 1990 was marked by intense resistance. In addition, the period in question destabilised the very foundation of 'apartheism' as an ideology in South Africa. It also signalled the demise of the compulsive segregationist policies in the country. The years between 1990 and 1994 played a vital role in the history and historiography of South Africa. They witnessed the release of the long-awaited political prisoner, Nelson Mandela, who championed the remaining campaigns against the compulsive apartheid tendencies. He was officially and unconditionally released from prison after spending about 10,000 days behind bars. The period in question was characterised by various apartheid strategies aimed at destabilising the liberation movement. The regime introduced improved survival strategies in arming the police and other security agents with more power to crush all forms of insurrection against it. In the space of four years, thousands of people lost their lives in regime-sponsored and politically related violence. South Africa was thrown into a state of anarchy characterised by, among other things, intense rivalry among political formations. The year 1994, however, witnessed a departure from apartheid to democracy. It paved the way for the emergence of Nelson Mandela as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. The period between 1994 and 1996 played a vital role towards consolidating a popular democratic political system in South Africa. The emerging government was faced with a plethora of administrative, social, economic and political challenges. In 1996, the Government of National Unity (GNU), as part of its policy for national reconciliation, established a commission of enquiry known as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The commission’s mandate was to investigate various crimes committed by both the regime and other opposition political organisations, including the liberation movement. The findings of the commission revealed that the apartheid regime and its agencies, the Inkatha Freedom Party, IFP, the African National Congress, ANC, and other political groupings had committed varying degrees of abuses on fundamental civil liberties in South Africa. It could be argued that South Africa’s democratic elections produced an outcome which closely paralleled the Namibian experience and not that of Angola. The advent of a new political dispensation was welcomed and accepted beyond the borders of South Africa. The tri-cameral parliament with its dominant white house, token houses for ‘Coloured’ and ‘Indian’ populations and total exclusion of African blacks, disappeared and was superseded by a democratically elected non-racial parliament. The homeland or Bantustan structures, i.e. the four (4) ‘independent’ and the six (6) ‘self-governing’ homelands melted away, capitulated or were deposed in the headlong and non-compulsive run-up to South Africa’s first democratic elections. Although the structures disappeared, their legacy lingered on in the form of a multiplicity of effects with which South Africa has had to grapple for years to come. Nominally the architects of apartheid’s compulsion survived the transfer of power to a majority government. Given their past record, they were extremely fortunate not to have been summarily banished to the political wilderness. This could be attributed either to the generosity of spirit displayed by the majority or to the good sense of the majority in pursuit of a compromise path to limit the possibility of violent conflict, or perhaps a mixture of both. A democracy, given the seminal role played by the security establishment as the instrument of compulsion and destabilisation, required security institutions for its continued well-being. Thus, the transformation of these institutions from instruments of compulsion to friendly protectors of civil liberties was crucial. Thus, from 1996 onwards, the new South Africa was substantially free from the kind of political violence which had resulted in deaths on an on-going basis. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher University of Zululand en_US
dc.subject Apartheid regime -- South Africa en_US
dc.title The compulsion of the apartheid regime, its demise and the advent of a new political dispensation in South Africa, 1948-1996 en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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