1950 – 1961
These freedoms we will fight for, side by side, throughout our lives, until we have won our liberty
– ANC leaders including Z.K. Mathews and Lionel ‘Rusty’ Bernstein
The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices: submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means within our power in defence of our people, our future and our freedom.
Leaflet issued by the Command of Umkhonto we Sizwe, 16th December 1961
Under pressure from the Commonwealth to change its racial policies the government staged a fraudulent referendum among the white voters and obtained a mandate to proclaim a White Republic on 31 May 1961. An 'All-in-African' Conference in Pietermaritzburg on 25-26 March called for countrywide demonstrations and a stay-at-home in opposition to the White Republic. The conference demanded instead a National Convention of all races.
The aftermath of the Sharpeville Massacre on 21-03-1960 which left 69 dead and hundreds injured after Black people had protested against pass laws. This massacre led to the end of non-violent protests against apartheid and led to the formation of the armed struggle.
Chief Luthuli was one of the many detained during the State of Emergency in 1960. He emerged from 5 months detention to the news that he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He travelled with Mrs. Luthuli and M. B. Yengwa (Secretary ANC (Natal)) to Oslo to receive his award.
Women were an integral part of the struggle for national liberation. The posters say: A woman's place is in the struggle. Keep my baby alive! Pay me R2 a day. Recognise my trade union. Support SACTU's Demands. SACTU Demands: - Living wages - The right to organise - The right to bargain with out bosses - decent treatment - shoter hours, 40 hour week We must eat more than mielie pap!