Frances Baard speaking at the launch of the United Democratic Front, 1983


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Rashid Lombard

Many leaders from the 1976 uprising and late 70s were either imprisoned or exiled therefore the liberation struggle did not move forward much. The country realized that they needed flexible structures and leadership to survive in the future, as well as have a mass movement focus. This would facilitate the continuation of resistance even when the government imprisoned major leaders. One of the reasons why the 1980s became so violent and moved South Africa towards change, was because the opposition to apartheid became united and so active during this period. A very important organization during the 1980s was the United Democratic Front (UDF). The UDF was not so much one organization by itself, but rather a grouping of many different organizations all acting together. The UDF consisted of hundreds of women, student, church, trade union, cultural, sporting and other groups. The UDF was launched in Mitchell's Plain near Cape Town in 1983. About 600 delegates from more than 230 organisations and a crowd of about 13 000 people converged on the area.