The Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM)

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World opposition to Apartheid

Enforced racial segregation in South Africa began with the arrival of the Dutch and English colonisers.   Following its victory in the 1948 elections, the National Party (NP) dominated all White Government further entrenched its stranglehold over the Black (African, Indian and Coloured) population with an ever increasing plethora of oppressive laws, designed to suppress the majority of the population. The NP’s policy of Apartheid (literally ‘being apart’) controlled every aspect of the disenfranchised majority.

The General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) passed Resolution 395(V) declaring that "a policy of 'racial segregation' (apartheid) is necessarily based on doctrines of racial discrimination" on 2 December 1950.

On 1 April 1960, The Security Council of the UN, in its first action on South Africa, adopted Resolution 134 deploring the policies and actions of the South African government in the wake of the killing of 69 peaceful African protesters in Sharpeville by the police on 21 March. The Council called upon the government to abandon its policies of apartheid and racial discrimination.

The world stood united in its condemnation of the South African Government and its policy of Apartheid.  Governments, universities, churches, trade unions and civil society formations stood in opposition to Apartheid. As a result, anti-Apartheid organisations were formed in nearly every country around the world.

This feature deals with the history of the international anti-Apartheid movement.

Last updated : 02-Apr-2014

This article was produced for South African History Online on 19-Jul-2012