| In the early years of apartheid
resistance was widespread, but it was not united.
By its nature apartheid was a divisive force. The effects of
apartheid were being felt very differently across the city's communities. For
Africans, influx control was the most difficult aspect, whereas for coloureds
the Group Areas Act was breaking up community life. Whites were privileged, and
few would risk taking part in protest action that might lead to arrest.
Opposition groups were thus divided and became critical of one another (more..)
The government's reaction to protest was to outlaw opposition.
The Criminal Law Amendment Act made it a particular offence to break a law 'to
protest, or in support of any campaign against the law'. Hence if one stood in
the wrong queue by mistake one may get away with a reprimand, but if this was
judged to be 'out of protest' then one could be liable to a large fine or five
years in prison.
The Public Safety Act was soon added, thus enabling the
government to declare a State of Emergency whereby it could act without
restraint in the name of curbing protest. The Suppression of Communism Act
(1950) had already given the government power to ban meetings and
Another law made it illegal for African workers to strike, and
while they were allowed to join trade unions their employers were no longer
obliged to negotiate with them.
Although draconian legislation suppressed and controlled
opposition organisations, alliances between organisations emerged under the
ANC-led Congress Alliance and united opposition began to emerge for the first
time in the mid-50s (more..)
The battery of security laws enabled the National Party to
repress the ANC's Defiance Campaign and in 1953 they secured a larger majority
in the national election. With a firmer platform, they went on to implement
further segregation and successfully deterred opposition.
In the late 1950s a radical breakaway party emerged called the
PAC, and their activities led to confrontation with the police, strikes and
riots in Cape Town. A state of emergency
was declared, opposition groups banned and a crackdown on security that lead to
what has become known as the 'silent sixties'.
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· Culture ·
In this period of Cape History: