South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid

Glossary

AIDS Consortium - Established in 1992 by Justice Edwin Cameron, the consortium is a network of more than 300 organizations and individuals who work to provide access to information about HIV/AIDS and to eliminate the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

ANC Women’s League - The Bantu Women’s League (BWL), a forerunner of the ANC Women’s League, was formed in 1918 in response to a government plan to reintroduce pass laws for women. It fought for the rights of black women and participated in civil disobedience campaigns. In 1943, the ANC accepted women into its membership and in 1948, the ANC Women’s League was formed.

Africa Fund - U.S. organization affiliated with the American Committee on Africa that engaged in public education on African issues.

African National Congress (ANC) - Founded in 1912 as the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), the ANC initially worked within the law to eliminate racial oppression. The ANC was banned in 1960 by the Afrikaner government, but continued to function in exile and underground inside South Africa. In 1961, the previously non-violent ANC adopted a policy of armed resistance, establishing Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) or MK. F. W. de Klerk removed the ban on the ANC in 1990 and ANC leaders engaged in negotiations with white leaders which led to the 1994 democratic elections. The ANC is the dominant political party in South Africa, having won more than two-thirds of the vote in the 2004 national elections.

African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) - Founded in 1944 to represent the radical views of young members of the African National Congress who favored mass protests. Key members of the ANCYL included Anton Lembede, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and Oliver Tambo.

African nationalism - The belief in and promotion of an African cultural identity and African political and economic power.

Africanization - Due to economic fluctuations in the price of gold, mine owners sought to keep profits high by replacing expensive white workers with black laborers. The changes frustrated working class whites, who petitioned for greater job security and further segregation. By the 1930s, much of the labor in mines, industry, and domestic work was preformed by blacks.

Afrikaans - A language derived from Dutch that developed among the white, Khoisan, and slave populations of the Cape Colony. Afrikaans was recognized as an official language in 1925 and was further developed with the rise of Afrikaner nationalism and apartheid.

Afrikaner - Dutch term for “native of Africa”; refers to whites who speak the Afrikaans language.

Afrikaner Broederbond - A secret society established in 1919 that promoted Afrikaner ethnic nationalism in South African society. Many Afrikaner politicians (including every prime minister during apartheid), military personnel, churchmen, academics, journalists, and other professionals were Broederbond members. It is still in existence today.

Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) - Afrikaner Resistance Movement, an extra-parliamentary group of ultra-conservative Afrikaners formed in the 1970s. It advocated the creation of an independent Afrikaner state.

Amandla - Nguni word meaning “power.” When shouted, it is answered by “ngawethu,”or “It is ours.” Together, the words mean “power to the people.” It is also the name of an ANC musical group that raised international awareness of apartheid’s atrocities.

American Committee on Africa - An American organization established in 1953, dedicated to supporting liberation movements in Africa and informing the American public about African affairs.

Amnesty - A complete and full pardon, removing all legal memory of an offense.

Anti-apartheid movement - A general name for the international movement to oppose white minority rule in South Africa. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and West Germany, there were national organizations by this name. In the United States, the anti-apartheid movement comprised many national and local organizations.

Apartheid - Literally “apartness” in Afrikaans. A policy of racial segregation introduced by the National Party after its electoral victory in 1948. It created a highly stratified society in which whites dominated politically, economically, and socially at the expense of blacks. See also Petty apartheid and Grand apartheid.

Australopithecines (Australopithecus) - A group of early hominids closely related to humans that lived 4-2 million years ago. Remains of Australopithecus Africanus have been found only in southern Africa.

Azanian People’s Organization (AZAPO) - A Black Consciousness organization established in 1978 focused on creating a socialist state. Azania is used as an African name for South Africa. AZAPO never gained a large membership.

Baas - “Boss” in Afrikaans.

Bantu - A term used to describe a family of languages spoken mainly in southern and eastern Africa. It comes from the stem for the noun–ntu (person) (pl. abantu, meaning people). During apartheid, the term “Bantu” was used as a derogatory term for black Africans.

Bantu Education - Educational system for Africans designed to fit them for their role in apartheid society. Designed by H.F. Verwoerd and made law with the Bantu Education Act of 1953, Bantu Education placed the apartheid government in control of African education. Financing for Bantu Education was removed from the general government budget and linked instead directly to the taxes paid by Africans, which resulted in far less money spent on educating black children than white children. Though this system was put in place to isolate Africans and keep them from “subversive” ideas, indignation towards the inferior educations they received led to large-scale resistance to Bantu Education, the most notable example being the Soweto Revolt.

Bantustan - Ethnically defined areas for Africans created on the basis of the “Native Reserves” (Land Act, 1913). Constituted only 13% of South African territory. Bantustans were to be given self-government and later independence in order to deny Africans citizenship rights in “white South Africa.” 3.5 million Africans were forcibly removed to Bantustans. Widespread poverty in these areas helped employers secure a supply of cheap black labor. Today, all South Africans have political rights in a unified country, and Bantustans no longer exist.

Barolong - An important Tswana clan in the north-west of South Africa, including Mafikeng.

Black Sash - Founded in 1955, this organization of white women began by promoting respect for the constitution and protesting the loss of voting rights for Coloureds. Members would stand silently in public places wearing a black sash as a symbol of mourning for the government’s treatment of the constitution. The Black Sash established Advice Offices in urban centers to assist Africans with many issues, particularly the pass laws. Black Sash members also became involved in protesting forced removals, monitoring pass courts, and being a presence at political funerals in the 1980s.

Black consciousness - Ideology that sought to liberate black people (Africans, Coloureds, and Indians) psychologically through the realization of black self-worth and positive action, including economic self-reliance and rejection of dominant “white” values.

Boipatong Massacre - In June 1992, armed members of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) living at Kwa Madala hostel attacked the residents of Boipatong, an informal settlement south of Johannesburg, killing about 45 people.

British justice - A set of beliefs that focus on human rights, legal representation, and the right to a fair trial.

Calvinism - A form of Protestant Christianity named after John Calvin. It is known for the Doctrine of Predestination and a belief in total dependence on God. Informed the theology and practice of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, which provided theological justification for apartheid.

Calvinist - A follower of Calvinism.

Chiefdom - The political organization of a community or groups of communities, all of whom recognize one person, called a chief, as the senior political authority of their group.

Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB) - A secret South African Defense Force unit created in 1986 with the purpose of disrupting anti-apartheid activities in South Africa and abroad by assassinating oppositional leaders and destroying ANC facilities.

Civil disobedience - Non-violent actions to refuse to obey unjust laws in an effort to change government policy or legislation without resorting to violence.

Color bar - Limitations on job availability and restrictions on which jobs (and what salary) one could work due to one’s race.

Coloured - Generally refers to people of mixed race. The term gained primacy in the 19th century and was an official racial classification under apartheid. This category is extremely fluid and not clearly defined, encompassing diverse peoples including Khoikhoi, free blacks, and people of mixed descent. In the 1990s, Coloureds made up about 8% of the South African population, the largest number residing in the Western Cape.

Communism - A political philosophy based on communal ownership of property. In the Communist Manifesto (1848), Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels argued that the workers of the world would overthrow the capitalist system to begin the process of building a communist state.

Conservatism - Political theory favoring existing laws and traditional institutions, resistant to sudden change and governmental activism.

Conservative - Favors existing laws and traditional institutions, is resistant to sudden change and governmental activism.

Conservative Party - An extreme right-wing party founded in 1982 in a split from the National Party. It boycotted the 1994 elections.

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa - Ratified in 1996, the permanent constitution provided the framework for a non-racial democracy.

Constitutional Assembly (CA) - A 490-member democratically elected body formed in 1994 to write a new constitution. The Constitutional Assembly was bound by the Constitutional Principles agreed upon by the Multi-Party Negotiation Forum.

Constitutional Principles - The 34 principles included in the interim constitution adopted in 1993 by the Multi-Party Negotiation Forum. The 34 principles were meant to provide an outline for the final constitution to be drawn by the Constitutional Assembly. The principles required South Africa to be a multi-party democracy with a Bill of Rights.

Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) - Negotiating forum established by most political organizations in 1991 to carry out the transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa. A second CODESA met in May of 1992. It was succeeded by the Negotiating Forum.

Council of Unions of South Africa - A coalition of unions formed in 1980 along Black Consciousness principles. It joined with the Azanian Confederation of Trade Unions to form the National Council of Trade Unions in 1986.

Customary law - Legal system for Africans instituted by British colonial rulers. It purported to be a codification of African jurisprudence and allowed the British to institutionalize segregation and rule by proxy through local chiefs and headmen.

Drum magazine - Popular black South African monthly magazine started in the 1950s, devoted to black popular urban culture, editorials and commentary on apartheid.

Dutch East India Company - Established in 1602 in the Netherlands to conduct trade in Asia. It established an outpost in South Africa in 1652 at the Cape of Good Hope that later grew into a European colony.

Federation of South African Trade Unions - A national, non-racial federation of trade unions formed in 1979 that affiliated to the UDF in 1983. It was organized mainly by black workers and later evolved into COSATU.

Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW or FSAW) - Organized in April 1954 as an attempt to create the first inter-racial women’s association. Active in the organization were a large number of teachers, nurses and other members of the small African professional class. A few trade unionists made an important contribution to the organization. The primary objective was to bring women together to mobilize for equal rights and recognition before the law. In August, 1956, it organized a march by 20,000 women on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest pass laws.

Freedom Front - Founded in 1994, an Afrikaner political party calling for Afrikaner self-determination and for the establishment of a separate Afrikaner state (volkstaat).

Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) - Liberation movement formed in 1962 in the Portuguese colony of Mozambique. It is now that country’s ruling party.

Garveyism - A form of black nationalism that took its inspiration from Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and African Communities League in the USA (1921). Its call for “Africa for the Africans, at home and abroad” Inspired racial pride and Pan-Africanist consciousness in South Africa, Africa, and the diaspora.

Goldstone Commission - A commission of inquiry into political violence chaired by South African judge Richard Goldstone and appointed by President F. W. de Klerk. It exposed the government’s support for a shadowy “Third Force” that instigated violence in black townships.

Grand apartheid - Refers to the government policy of the 1960s and 1970s that sought to separate the country into white “South Africa” and African “homelands.” Depriving Africans of citizenship rights in “white” South Africa and relegating them to rural reserves. Was part of apartheid’s “separate development” theory and practice (see “Bantustans”).

Groote Schuur Minute - Resolution of May 4, 1990 in which the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African government agreed to political negotiations and an end to armed struggle.

Growth, Employment, and Redistribution strategy (GEAR) - 1996 government macroeconomic strategy that replaced the Reconstruction and Development Program of 1994. GEAR was designed to find a balance between meeting the basic needs of the people and finding the resources to finance those needs. It included tax cuts, government fiscal and monetary discipline, financial liberalization, and privatization of parastatal corporations.

Homeland - (Also "Bantustan") Ethnically defined areas for Africans created on the basis of the “Native Reserves” (Land Act, 1913). Constituted only 13% of South African territory. Bantustans were to be given independence in order to deny Africans citizenship rights in “white South Africa.” 3.5 million Africans were forcibly moved to Bantustans. Widespread poverty in these areas helped employers secure a supply of cheap black labor. Today, all South Africans have political rights in a unified country, and Bantustans no longer exist.

Indaba - Nguni term literally meaning news; also used for discussion, subject, village council or meeting.

Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) - Founded by Clements Kadalie (from Malawi) in 1919 to unionize dock workers, rail workers and other municipal workers in Cape Town. The ICU became a leading resistance organization in the 1920s, with popular support in both urban and rural areas, as it focused on land issues, wages and pass laws.

Inkatha - A Zulu ethnic nationalist organization founded in 1975 by Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Based on an earlier Zulu cultural group from the 1920s, it became the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in 1990.

Inkathagate - Scandal resulting from the revelation in 1991 that Inkatha had received apartheid government funds to fight against the ANC and UDF.

Islam - A world religion that believes in Allah as the only God and bases its doctrine on the teachings and life of Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah. Islam was brought to South Africa by exiles, convicts, and slaves from Asia.

Job color bar - Law reserving certain types of work for people of a particular race.

Kgotla - Sotho term for a central court or meeting of a village, neighborhood, or chiefdom.

Khoikhoi - Pastoralists and hunters who first inhabited southern Africa along the Orange River and the highlands of the western escarpment. The Khoikhoi initially resisted the Dutch, but eventually were wiped out. Survivors were absorbed into colonial society as servants and formed part of South Africa’s racially mixed population (see also “Coloured”).

Khoisan - Composite term used to denote both the pastoralist Khoikhoi and hunter-gatherer San peoples - indigenous inhabitants of western South Africa who spoke click languages distinct from Bantu languages such as isiZulu.

Kholwa - An Nguni word meaning “believer”, used to refer to an African Christian or a person educated in mission schools.

Kwaito - A popular South African musical style developed in the 1990s, based on American house music combined with African lyrics and rhythms.

Legalism - Political theory that encourages strict adherence to the law.

Liberal - Favors the autonomy of the individual and emphasizes civil liberties.

Liberalism - Political theory favoring the autonomy of the individual with strong emphasis on civil liberties.

Liberation theology - Belief that Christianity preaches liberation of the poor and oppressed and that Christians should work for equality and social justice.

Lobola - Nguni term for groom’s gift of cattle (ilobolo) for a bride (i.e. “bridewealth”) as part of marriage ceremonies and family exchanges. Today, lobola can also be given in cash.

Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) - Guerrilla group founded in 1975 by the white-minority government of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to create a way to operate in Mozambique against Zimbabwean liberation movements. After Mozambique’s independence in 1974, the South African government gave significant support to RENAMO in order to destabilize Mozambique. Civil war continued until 1992, when a peace accord was reached with RENAMO. It is now the main opposition party in Mozambique. (See also “total strategy.”)

Muldergate scandal - In the 1970s, the South African Prime Minister John Vorster and Minister of Information Dr. Connie Mulder were implicated in plans to use government funds for propaganda purposes. A commission of inquiry concluded that Vorster "knew everything" about the corruption. He resigned in disgrace and was succeeded by P. W. Botha.

Multi-Party Negotiating Forum - On April 2, 1993, the Multi-Party Negotiation Process (MPNP) began in Kempton Park outside Johannesburg. It laid the foundations for an interim constitution that governed the country through the 1994 elections up to the adoption of a new constitution in 1996.

National Party (NP) - Afrikaner nationalist party founded in 1914 by Barry Hertzog. Came together with the Purified National Party to win the 1948 elections that ushered in apartheid. The party lost power to the ANC in 1994, returned in 1997 as the “New National Party,” and was then dissolved in 2005.

National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) - An Angolan political organization and military force that fought against the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). Led by Jonas Savimbi, it was supported financially and militarily by the South African and U.S. governments. In 2002, UNITA entered into a ceasefire with the Angolan government.

Nationalism - Strong adherence to one’s nation and national identity.

Pan-Africanism - The belief in a broad African identity, including all those of African descent in Africa and abroad, and the need for African unity to fight against slavery, racism, imperialism, and colonial occupation. Pan-Africanism also refers to a world-wide movement for the political unity of African states.

Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) - Founded in 1959 in a split from the African National Congress. The PAC rejected the ANC’s non-racial policies and promoted African Nationalism and more mass action. It formed a militant wing, called Poqo, after the Sharpeville massacre and worked both in exile and underground within South Africa.

Pass - (also known as a dompas) Identification papers for African men and women with racial classification and other personal information, including employment status and history. The government used passes to restrict movement of black people. Passes criminalized millions of ordinary South Africans.

Pastoralism - An economic system based around the raising and herding of livestock.

Petty apartheid - Describes the era of the 1950s when laws similar to “Jim Crow” laws in the United States prohibited inter-racial sex and marriage and strictly segregated residential areas, schools, trains, buses, beaches, toilets, parks, stadiums, ambulances, hospitals, and cemeteries. Brutally enforced by police (see “pass laws”).

Pluralism - Toleration in a society of various ethnic, religious and cultural groups in relative harmony.

Pondo - Pondo people, an important section of the Xhosa nation, living in the Eastern Cape near the border with KwaZulu-Natal.

Pretoria Minute - Resolution of August 6, 1990 affirming the Groote Schuur Minute and setting out terms for further negotiations.

Purified National Party - Disputes over South Africa’s autonomy and the British Empire led to the formation of the Gesuiwerde (Purified) Nasionale Party in 1934-35. A coalition made up of both British and Afrikaner whites within the United Party organized this party.

Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP) - Progressive macroeconomic strategy established by the ANC-led Government of National Unity in 1994 to improve the quality of life for the majority of the population by expanding provision of housing, jobs, basic services, education, and health care.

Record of Understanding - In 1992, Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk signed the Record of Understanding: a promise to resume formal investigations. In addition, the document set a time table for the release of prisoners, a ban on dangerous weapons, fencing for hostels, and provided for the creation of an elected constitutional assembly to develop a new constitution for South Africa.

San - Indigenous, nomadic, hunter-gather peoples who inhabited the semi-arid regions of present-day South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana and the mountainous areas of the Western Cape and Drakensburg Mountains. As Europeans settled in the Western Cape, the San were overpowered and almost completely exterminated.

Sanlam - Afrikaner insurance company founded in 1918 to counter English dominance in big business and promote Afrikaner economic power. Today, it is a major holding company that specializes in financial services.

Satyagraha - The philosophy and practice of nonviolent resistance formulated by Mohandas Gandhi in the 1890s protest movements by Indians in South Africa and anti-colonial movements in India, and adopted by other social and civil rights movements. Satyagraha is composed of three parts: 1. Satya-Truth, 2. Ahimsa-refusal to inflict injury on others, and 3. Tapasya-willingness for self sacrifice.

Segregation - The classification and separation of people due to race. This separation pervades all aspects of life, including separate schools, housing, and public facilities.

Segregation - Policy of separation of people according to race, class, or gender.

Sotho - Farmers and herders in the interior of Southern Africa part of a broader Sotho-Tswana language group. Basotho people live in or near the country of Lesotho, as well as in the Free State and Gauteng regions of South Africa.

South African Communist Party (SACP) - Known as the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) from 1921-1953, it initially focused on the cause of white workers. By the late 1920s, it was oriented to the needs of black workers. The CPSA was declared illegal in 1950 and reformed as the South African Communist Party (SACP) in 1953. The SACP is now part of the "Tripartite Alliance" with the African National Congress and Congress of South African Trade Unions (CASTU).

South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) - Founded in 1955 as a critical response to the decision of the Trade Union Congress of South Africa to restrict its membership to non-African unions. SACTU gained vast membership as the labor wing of the Congress Alliance.

South African Indian Congress (SAIC) - Established in May 1923 by a coalition of political organizations aimed at promoting Indian rights in Natal and the rest of South Africa. During apartheid, the SAIC cooperated with the African National Congress, jointly launching the Defiance Campaign of 1952 and joining the Congress Alliance.

South African Students Organization (SASO) - A Black Consciousness organization of black university students formed in 1969, with Steve Biko as its first president. SASO helped form the Black Peoples Convention in 1972.

Tabooed - forbidden

Total strategy - Policy of the apartheid regime developed in the late 1970s under the leadership of P.W. Botha. Aimed to respond to a perceived “total onslaught” on South Africa by Communists and the international community seeking to undermine apartheid. Military campaigns destabilized neighboring countries and armed force was used to repress dissent in South Africa. Botha also initiated some political reforms that tinkered with apartheid but maintained white supremacy.

Township - Black residential areas on the outskirts of South African cities created by the white government.

Trade Union Council of South Africa (TUCSA) - Largest federation of registered trade unions in South Africa, formed in 1954 along racial lines. In 1974 TUSCA allowed African unions to join with its white, Colored and Indian affiliates, but they remained under the direction of white unions. It disbanded in 1986.

Transitional Executive Council - A council formed in 1993 to oversee the transition from apartheid to democracy. This process included the formation of an interim government, setting the terms for the 1994 election, and changing the South African flag and national anthem.

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) - Social movement launched in December 1998 to campaign for greater access to HIV treatment for all South Africans. Led by Zachie Achmat, the TAC succeeded making anti-retrovirals (ARVs) available in public hospitals in March 2004, although widespread access to the drugs has not been realized.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) - Government body created by the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act of 1995 for the purpose of investigating politically motivated human rights violations committed from 1960-1994. Victims and perpetrators of human rights violations testified before the commission, often in public hearings. Amnesty was granted to applicants if two criteria were met: (1) the crimes were politically motivated, and (2) the applicant was fully truthful.

Tsotsis - Young black men in urban townships who participate in criminal activity and gangs.

Tswana - Farmers and herders of the Sotho-Tswana language group in the central and western high grass lands in the North West, Limpopo, and Free State provinces, as well as in Botswana.

Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) - Armed wing of the African National Congress established in 1961 to force the apartheid regime to the bargaining table through acts of sabotage and, if necessary, military campaigns.

United Democratic Front (UDF) - Founded in 1983 as an umbrella body that unified numerous unions, and youth, religious, civic, and sport organizations to oppose apartheid. It was initially founded to protest the introduction of the Tricameral Constitution. It affiliated with the ANC and led mass protests and boycotts throughout the 1980s. It disbanded in 1991.

Venda - Venda-speaking Africans who lived in the far northern territories of South Africa (today’s Limpopo province), where they were well-known ironworkers and copper miners.

Vlakplaas - Apartheid death squad based on a farm in Natal called Vlakplaas. It was established in the late 1980s and led by Eugene de Kock. Vlakplaas members committed many gross human rights violations against anti-apartheid activists.

Volkstaat - Independent Afrikaner state sought by right-wing Afrikaners in the 1990s.

Wiehahn Commission - Government commission (1977-79) to address black unions and industrial relations. Following the commission’s recommendations, the government legalized African trade unions and ended the job color bar.

Wildcat strike - A strike without formal union authorization, organization, or support.

Xhosa - Farmers and cattle-herders loosely organized into chiefdoms in the region now known as the Eastern Cape. The second most common African language in South Africa (isiXhosa, part of the Nguni branch of Bantu languages).

Zulu - Farmers and herders originally from today’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Formed a large militarized state under Shaka in the 1810s; lost its independence as a result of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. Most common African language in South Africa (isiZulu, part of the Nguni branch of Bantu languages).


AODL African Studies Center MSU Matrix NEH