This paper was submitted to the 1973 Durban Strikes Celebrating 50 Years Conference
While much scholarship considers the 1976 Soweto uprising as the pivotal moment that bolstered the anti-apartheid movement’s divestment campaign and turned world opinion against apartheid in South Africa, the 1973 Durban strikes sent shockwaves throughout the global business community three years prior. The collective power of Black workers in South Africa startled international business interests into considering workplace reform as a means to placate an increasingly militant Black working class. This paper views South Africa workers as internationalists, and considers the ways that they began forcing major U.S. multinational companies with operations in South Africa to consider the plight of the Black worker. In the aftermath of the Durban strikes, Black South African workers and trade unionists figured prominently in U.S. business and foreign policy concerns.