As a result of Ramaphosa's skilful management of the release and reception of Robben Island prisoners, he was now something less of an ANC outsider. He was still just a trade union leader with a limited UDF base, regarded as a 'Johnny-come-lately' by many exile and Robben Island grandees. Yet, Cyril was also suddenly everywhere, and often at the side of this man, Nelson Mandela, whom everyone wanted to see.
Season 1 / Episode 17
30 Mar 2021
Read by Alec Hogg
Government · History
The road to talks had been long and winding. Throughout the 1980's, powerful forces pushed by leaders of the ANC and the NP towards negotiation. By the time FW de Klerk seized the state presidency in late 1989, there had been a wide variety of contracts between liberation movement leaders…
At the end of the 1980's, popular unrest swept the country. In reaction, the besieged National Party (NP) desperately used state coercion to contain a growing crescendo of protest. Many of its leaders now recognised that a negotiated settlement, on its own terms, was the only way to avert disaster.
In this chapter, Cosatu was widely and immediately recognised by liberation movement exiles as a triumph. Resolutions adopted at the inaugural congress - including demands for the withdrawal of troops from townships, the release of political prisoners, the unbanning of illegal movements and parties, and the imposition of economic sanctions…
In this chapter, while the developments suggested that a change of regime would one day become inescapable, organised political opposition was required to close down the National Party's avenues for evasion and delay. In this 1980s endgame of the struggle against apartheid, domestic rather international actors played the decisive role.
This is the last of five chapters where biographer Anthony Butler focuses on his subject's successful mission to create a counterbalance to the Apartheid government. It details the events leading up to the fateful 10 August 1987 when 300 000 mineworkers went out on strike - forever changing the balance…