Turning Points in History: Bk. 5: People, Places and Apartheid

The Turning Points in History project has invited four leading academics to locate the primary document presented here - Nelson Mandela's statement from prison on being offered conditional release - within its historical context. The four writers have each examined a different aspect of the period from the 1970s through to the beginning of negotiations in 1990. In Chapter 1, Malegapuru William Makgoba provides insight into both the internal and external resistance movements as well as the motivations of the apartheid government. He introduces us to some of the younger leaders such as Steve Biko and Rick Turner, and also those who had been pivotal in the 1950s, such as Trevor Huddleston and Oliver Tambo. Most importantly, he acknowledges the crucial importance of the emerging trade union movement. In Chapter 2, Phil Bonner gives particular insights into what led to the major revolt in Soweto in 1976 - an uprising of students that inspired the oppressed all over the country. In Chapter 3, Sean Field takes up the story in the Western Cape context and describes the uprising of the coloured communities in that part of the country. In Chapter 4, Noor Nieftagodien describes the uprising in the Vaal from September to November 1984 as a crucial turning point in the resistance. These four pieces provide the reader with different slivers of South African history. Together, these slivers create a compelling overview of some of the key events and trends of this momentous period.