apartheid in south africa essay

Apartheid in South Africa
Boycotts, sanctions and/or arms embargoes have significant humanitarian consequences accompanied at the same time by socio-political costs.  The comparison of the achieved humanitarian benefits to the respective political cost involved during the struggle for liberation is a very difficult process although in essence it is very significant.

Any struggle for liberation is aimed to remedy ills directed to humanity and ending the sufferings imposed to a specific oppressed group of individuals.  On the other hand the sanctions are aimed at reducing oppression and terminating the threats of the oppressors to the oppressed.  For the sanctions to be efficient the moral values of the citizens are trespassed.  The welfare issues of the citizens are threatened while the humanitarian rights are occasionally threatened (Adam & Heribert 2000).

The situation arises as a result of two opposing forces, on one hand the tendency of the oppressor to be adamant to end oppression and on the other hand, the persistence of the liberators to achieve their goals to win the struggle (Adam & Heribert, 2000).

The role of international anti-apartheid movement (AAM) in Apartheid
The international anti-apartheid movement, (AAM) made the following positive contribution of importance forwards the defeat of apartheid of South Africa: –

Participation in commonwealth: The membership of South Africa in the commonwealth was terminated.  AAM made all efforts to ally with countries from Asian and the Caribbean to oppose the western block in the inclusion of South Africa in the membership of the common wealth countries.  This was a very significant factor towards the defeat on apartheid (Troup & Freda, 1976).
Olympic games participation: South Africa was also barred from participation in the Olympic games.  Among the South Africa partner sporting countries, apartheid was highlighted as an issue deterring relationships with the country practicing apartheid. (Tutu, 1982).

 AAM also made great efforts to convince allies against participating in games with any teams from South Africa.  In 1962, Abdul, an AAM representative expressed the extent of racialism in the sports field in South Africa, which resulted to its exclusion from, further participation.  Due to the importance of this event the impacts were significant in the process of transition in South Africa to a democratic country from an apartheid country (Davis & Stephen, 1987).

Political Prisoners: All the existing treason trials and cases of detention of political prisoners were highlighted through the efforts of AAM to the United Nations, which also gave very desirable results in the fight against apartheid.  Issues related to political prisoners were accorded the greatest media coverage and publicity to solicit support.  The case of Nelson Mandela serves as a good example.  The impact created by this approach was that death penalties at the time were cancelled more so the ones affecting any political prisoner and at the same time the detainees of political offences were set free.  This also had significant consequences on the defeat of apartheid  (Doxey, 1961).

Economic Sanctions: AAM operating at London in the year 1964, played significant roles in the analysis of the possible economic sanctions that could affect South Africa, Britain and America as well as South Africans other protectorates who gave felt barriers to the termination of apartheid. AAM also analyzed the implications of the sanctions to these sanctions and their possible contribution to the war against apartheid.  Britain’s and America’s economy and the other protectorates feared the economic sanctions could adversely affect their economy.  It is out of this realization that the sanctions were very significant in the defeat for apartheid  (Forgey & Herma, 2000).

Through economic sanctions as advocated by AAM, nations of the world perceived economic sanctions to possess serious consequences to the economy of the affected country.  Further favourable weight towards defeat for apartheid was a result that the members of AAM had the opportunity to come into contact with the special committee of the United Nations dealing with issues of apartheid which was very influential towards the future relationships in the war against apartheid (Forgey & Herma, 2000).

Sanctions were further extended to cores election issues in Britain election of 1964.  Each aspiring candidate was exposed to an opinion test as regards the position regarding impacts of economic sanctions as a measure, among other primitive measures as a fight against apartheid in South Africa (James & Wilmot, 1987).

Academic Boycott: Apartheid was also seen to violate academic freedom, which prompted AAM to advocate for academic boycott in 1965.  The important approach followed by AAM was a peaceful method of seeking solutions (James & Wilmot, 1987).

Academic boycotts were also accompanied by cultural boycotts were by musicians were restricted performance in South Africa.  Further television programs were as well restricted in South Africa in efforts to fight apartheid.  The church was not also left behind in the war against racism.  All these important contributions of AAM had very significant implication in the war against apartheid in South Africa  (James & Wilmot, 1987).

International Solidarity and the Politics of Struggle
A struggle for social, economic and political justice is the right of the oppressed in any societal set up.  Oppressions have in the past been experienced in a situation whereby particular groups of people in the society are denied their rights.  Self motives drives the oppressors, to satisfy their needs at the expense of the oppressed groups (Seidman, Ann & Seidman, 1978).

In most cases international solidarity has always been very significant to prop up efforts of the oppressed to fight for their rights.  In most scenarios the solidarity groups consists of churchmen, churchwomen, legistrators, students, trade unionist, artists, writers, among many others  (Guma & Alex 1971).

They are very significant tools towards spreading the propaganda associated with the struggle at hand.  This is quite influential since the knowledge of the context of the struggle, the degree of oppression and the impacts the oppression has on the affected group is a healthy measure of checking oppression.  Once the information has been exposed, all the relevant parties are faced with the appropriate humanitarian challenges facing oppressors and oppressed alike.  Propaganda is a very important component of politics as it plays a vital role to highlight all the hidden issues that the oppressors’ takes advantage of (Saunders  & Christopher, 1983).

The support for the oppressed groups is solicitated through the active roles of the solidarity groups.  At international level, the solidarity groups act out of their experience of their past oppression.  Due to the pain the solidarity groups experienced once they were similarly oppressed, the political influence gains significant influence in the struggle of their allied groups.  The extent of their influence is associated with passion; intensity and the impact of their activities are profound.  The verbal influence to the international society is transformed into appropriate action while their rhetoric is likewise transformed into reality.  Their actions are thus very influential to the politics of the struggle to liberate the oppressed groups from their oppressors  (Lambley & Peter, 1980).

The solidarity groups at the international level also reveals the brutality directed to the oppressed making the issue to be of an international concern and a cause of intrusion from concerned agencies.  Massacres also associated with oppression are also highlighted by the solidarity groups with a similar effect.  The groups are also significantly influential towards denouncing the existing injustices associated with oppression.  Through the contribution of international solidarity the entire world is exposed to the bitterness experienced by the oppressed group and the real cause of their struggle for justice.  The bitterness, when fully understood is an important justification for struggle of justice (Le May, 1971, Thompson & Leonard, 1985).

The correct realization of the true state of affairs is further a significant aspect to strengthening the struggle movement leaders in the efforts towards liberation.  The strengthening of the leaders in any struggle is simultaneously accompanied by the weakening of the oppressors.  This in turn helps to save the lives of the people by reducing to significant magnitudes the number of deaths that occur during the struggle for liberation.  International solidarity is quite influential to the addition of pressure to the oppressors which is very crucial towards the averting of blood bath associated with the struggle for liberation.  The groups responsible for struggling therefore acquire immense benefits as a result of the actions of the solidarity groups (Luthuli, 1971, Wilson, 1971).

International solidarity is rooted from humanitarian grounds.  All members of the society have the relevant rights for justice ranging from social, economic to political justice.  The rights should never be violated at whatever costs and this is the basis of the actions of the international solidarity.  They need not be legal entities to qualify for action.  The solidarity groups have in the past learned about the consequences of oppression and therefore, they are experienced with the relevant techniques of supporting the oppressed groups in their struggle for liberation (Nkomo & Mokubung, 1984).

The role of international solidarity
The role of the international solidarity should extend further beyond following the requests of the official leaders of the struggle for liberation.  They should play an active role aimed to support any groups or individuals who have expressed concern about the oppressed groups.  For those who might be in need of taking arms against the oppressors in an effort of resistance, the international solidarity should be of immense help.  The international solidarity should also engage resistance volunteers in training and the relevant coordination of importance towards the success of the activities relevant in the struggle for liberation  (Magubane & Bernard, 1979).

International solidarity should also make use of diplomatic relations to support the struggle for liberation.  International, trade, international flights and arms supply to the military of a country affected by liberation struggles should be checked as a means to support the oppressed groups achieve their objectives of the struggle (Mandela, 1994).

Due to the pressure exposed to the leaders of specific liberation struggle, there are high chances that some of their decisions are bond to be irrational.  Once put forward to the international solidarity, the healthy approach from the group is therefore to primarily analyze and digest the contents of the request before taking measure of action upon the request.  In essence therefore the international solidarity is duty bound to refine the requests of the leaders of the struggles, make any necessary alterations, formulate the relevant policy measures towards the implementation of the issue and work out the applicable execution processes aimed to assist in the efforts of the liberation struggle.  The solidarity groups posses the upright decision making capacity to act on behalf of the oppressed groups  (Michelman & Cherry, 1975).

Liberation struggle poses some social economic and political threats to the citizens of the affected nation.  The effects extend further to cover the international community since one nation is an interdependent of other nations.  International solidarity is always realized in any struggle for justice out of humanitarian grounds.

The most recognizable role of the international solidarity is the empowering of sanctions, arms embargoes and boycotts aimed to influence the oppressors against their deeds and empower the fighters to achieve success in their struggle for liberation.


Adam, Heribert (2000), Modernizing Racial Domination: South Africa’s Political Dynamics.  University of California Press. 5th Ed. New York, 88 – 125.

 Davis, Stephen M. (1987), Apartheid’s Rebels: Inside South Africa’s Hidden War. Yale University Press, New Haven, 58-73.

 Doxey, G. V.  (1961), The Industrial Colour Bar in South Africa. Oxford University Press, Cape Town and New York, 102-145.

 Forgey, Herma (2000), South African Survey 1999/2002. South African Institute of Race Relations, Johannesburg, 68-89.

 James, Wilmot G (1987), The State of Apartheid. Boulder, Colo, 43-67.

  La Guma, Alex (1971), Apartheid: A Collection of Writings on South African Racism by South Africans. International Press, New York, 123-144.

 Lambley, Peter (1980), the Psychology of Apartheid. University of Georgia Press, Athens, 73-98.

 Le May, G. H. L. (1971), Black and White in South Africa: The Politics of Survival.  American Heritage, New York, 57-72.

 Luthuli, A. J. (1971), Let My People Go. McGraw-Hill, New York, 83-122.

 Magubane, Bernard (1979), the Political Economy of Race and Class in South Africa. Monthly Review. New York, 121-135.

 Mandela, Nelson (1994), Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Boston: Little, Brown.

Michelman, Cherry (1975), the Black Sash of South Africa: A Case Study in Liberalism. Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 95-133.

Nkomo, Mokubung (1984), Student Culture and Activism in Black South African Universities: The Roots of Resistance. Westport, Greenwood, 38-51.

Saunders, Christopher (1983), Historical Dictionary of South Africa. Scarecrow Press.

 Metuchen, New Jersey and London, 57-82.

 Seidman, Ann, and Neva Seidman (1978), South Africa and U.S. Multinational Corporations. Westport, Conn. L. Hill, 81-127.

Thompson, Leonard (1985), the Political Mythology of Apartheid Yale University Press.. New Haven, Conn., 74-103.

Troup, Freda  (1976), Forbidden Pastures: Education under Apartheid: International Defence and Aid Fund. London, 37-62.

Tutu, Desmond  (1982), Crying in the Wilderness: The Struggle for Justice in South Africa. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W. B. Eerdmans, 42-53.

Wilson, Frances (1971), “Farming 1866–1966”.   Oxford University Press. New York, 24-70.

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