A history of Apartheid in South Africa from 1930 until 1960

A history of Apartheid from 1930 until 1960

South Africa


– Representatives of India, Sir Muhammad Shafi and G.S. Bajpai hold informal talks with Prime Minister, General J.B.M. Hertzog.

– The Non-European Conference is held.

– Establishment of the Women’s section of the Communist Party, as a result of issues such as beer-brewing and food prices.

– Fifteen-year old Sarah Rubin, later Carneson, whose parents were founder members of SACP, joins the Young Communist League

– Anti-Indian Legislation: The Asiatic Immigration Amendment Act. Indians have to prove the legitimacy of their domicile in the country.

– Cracks within the African National Congress (ANC) appear and the organisation fails to organise its structures.

– Motherwell, a Scottish professional side, tours South Africa (and again in 1934).


– Pixley Seme outlines his reform scheme, desperately seeking to improve the financial matters of the congress.

– The Supreme Court removes Pixley Seme’s name from the Roll of attorneys.

– Hilda Bernstein becomes a member of the South African Labour Party League of Youth.

– The Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure Act and its subsequent amendments in 1934, 1935 and 1937 establish statutory segregation of Indians in the Transvaal end the state of uncertainty about their status in the Province that has obtained since the passing of Law 3, 1885. It is passed in 1935.

– Epainette Moerane (Ma Mofokeng Clan Name) Meets Govan Mbeki at Taylor Street Secondary School.

– The Native service contracts increased penalties for law breakers and tightens restrictions on movement by African labourers outside the reserves.

– Yusuf Dadoo attends the South African Indian Congress meeting where the Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure Act is discussed. He is convinced that the South African Indian Congress could only advance in their struggle if they cooperate with national organisations representing African and Coloured people.

– The South African African Football Association (SAAFA) is formed and it launches the Bakers Cup national tournament.

– During the Second Round-table Conference between the Governments of India and South Africa, the South African Minister of the Interior, Dr D.F. Malan, indicates the failure of Cape Town Agreement with regards to the repatriation of Indians and introduces the Colonisation (Emigration) Scheme. In terms of this scheme, a Committee will be appointed to investigate possible outlets or areas abroad, to which South African Indians can be relocated. This issue would later lead to a split in the South African Indian Community with the formation of the Colonial Born and Indian Settlers Association.

– Start of publication of Bantu World, European-sponsored African newspaper.

– Attempt to apply curfew regulations to African women in the Transvaal sparks discussions of passive resistance against passes.

– The Feetham Commission, led by Mr Justice Feetham, is appointed to enquire into the occupation of proclaimed land in the Transvaal by Coloured persons and to compile a register of persons in legal and illegal occupation. The Agent-General of India, Kunwar Sir Maharaj Singh, appeals to the Commission on behalf of South African Indians. The Commission is boycotted by the Transvaal and South African Indian Congresses (TIC and SAIC).


– Pixley Seme uses the votes of women to ensure his re-election as president of the African National Congress.

– Albert Luthuli becomes President of the African Teachers Association.

– General Barry Hertzog and Jan Smuts form a coalition government.

– The South African Bantu Football Association (SABFA) and the South African Coloured Football Association (SACFA) are formed.

– General Hertzog invites General Smuts to form coalition government.

– National elections. Coalition parties win overwhelming parliamentary majority. Fusion government formed with General Hertzog as prime minister and General Smuts as deputy prime minister.

– General Hertzog and General Smuts joined to form the United Party. A small number of Nationalists, under Dr. Malan, retained the Nationalist Party.


– The Slums Act is passed: This act enforces the demolition of slums and expropriates with the ultimate aim of segregation.

– Eighteen year old Sarah Carneson joins the SACP. She teaches workers to read and write at the SACP’s night school.

– The fusion of South African Party (SAP) and National Party (NP) results in the formation of the United Party (UP) with General Barry Hertzog as its leader.

– Nomzamo Zaniewe Winnifred Mandela is born at Bizana in Pondoland, Transkei.

– The South African Indian Congress presents a statement to the Young Committee, requesting full citizenship rights for Indians in South Africa.

– The Young Committee publishes its recommendations on the proposed Indian Assisted Emigration Scheme. The Committee identifies British North Borneo, British New Guinea and British Guiana as suitable for Indian colonisation. However, the Committee’s findings are not not taken seriously and the Committee expires. Though a few Indians do emigrate, Scheme of Assisted Emigration continues, until suspended during WWII.

– United Party formed by majority of supporters of Nationalist Party and South Africa Party. General Hertzog is leader; General Smuts deputy.


– The National Liberation League for Equality, Land and Freedom launched with Mrs. Zaibunnissa (Cissy) Gool as president and James la Guma as general secretary. Its foundation conference adopts a programme and constitution pledged to ‘unite all individuals, organisations and other bodies in agreement with the programme of the League to struggle for complete social, political and economic equality of Non-Europeans in South Africa’, reflecting the need for unity against the white minority.

– The National Council for African Women founded at the All African Convention with Charlotte Maxeke as president. This organisation is concerned with women’s welfare and members are usually teachers and nurses.

– The first group of Indian girls matriculate in South Africa

– Albert Luthuli is elected Chief by the people of Groutville Mission Reserve, and he subsequently leaves Adams College.

– A Native’s Representative Council (NRC) is created

– Satyandranath (Mac) Maharaj is born.

– The Transvaal Inter-Race Soccer Board is formed by Africans, Indians, and Coloureds.

– The Suzman Cup, the first official inter-racial tournament between Africans, Coloureds, and Indians, is established.

– Joint Select Committee of Parliament table two measures: the Representation of Native Bill and the Native Trust and the Land Bill.

– Professor Davidson Don Tengo (D. D. T.) Jabavu, son of John Tengo Jabavu, Prixley Ka Isaka Seme, and President of the African National Congress (ANC), Africans from different political spectrum and from all sections of South Africa convenes at Community Hall, Bloemfontein. Under the chairmanship of Prof. Jabavu, delegates draft comprehensive resolutions on African grievances and resolve to constitute the All African Convention (AAC), as organised body, which intends to promote African rights through boycotts. The AAC chooses this venue because its historical significance, as it was here on 8 January 1912; the South African National Native Congress (SANNC) was founded. The SANNC was later renamed the African National Congress (ANC) in 1923. This happens at the same time that Afrikaners are celebrating the ninety-eighth anniversary of the Voortrekker victory over the Zulus at the Battle off Blood River in 1838.

– The CPSA calls for a united front campaign against the pass laws culminating in the burning of passes throughout the country on December 16, Dingane’s Day. Johannes Nkosi and 3 other African workers attending a demonstration in Durban are shot, stabbed and beaten to death by police.

– Afrikaners celebrates ninety-eighth anniversary of their victory over the Zulus.

– The All African Convention (AAC) demands reconsideration of oppressive laws such as the Riotous Assemblies Act, the Native Service Contract Act, Poll Tax Act, and the Pass Laws. John Gomas, a Cape Town Coloured Communist proposes that mass protest meetings be organised throughout South Africa in opposition in opposition of these Acts.


– FW de Klerk is born in Johannesburg.

– African voters transferred to a separate roll.

– Cape African Voters are removed from the voter’s roll.

– I. B. Mbelle alleges that Jan Smuts had said in 1926 that if Natives of the Cape were deprived of the vote, it would be a direct violation of the constitution.

– The Development Trust and Land Act no 18 of 1936: This Act compliments the Representation of Natives Act of 1936 in that it allows for a further 6.2 million hectares of land to be added to the African reserves under the 1913 Land Act. It also establishes the South African Native Trust, which became the Bantu Trust and then later the Development Trust. The function of the Trust is to acquire and administer all released land. This means that African people are not permitted to own land in their own right.

– The All African Convention’s Executive Committee deputation led by Professor Davidson Don Tengo (D. D. T) Jabavu meets with Prime Minister Barry Hertzog and other government officials in Cape Town. Their discussion centres on the acts that were passed in South Africa in 1935. The Act segregates and limits African rights. Hertzog offers a compromise: the retention of the Cape African Franchise but the removal of all registered African voters from the common voter’s roll but, instead, they vote for the same candidates as the Whites, on a separate roll which would elect three White members to the Cape Provincial Council.

– Selby Msimang, Secretary General of the All African Convention (AAC) expresses his view in an article published in The Crisis. He argues that Parliament and White South Africans have disowned Africans of their belongings and flirted with their loyalty.

– The Minister of the Interior, J.H. Hofmeyr, introduces a Bill to give legal form to the Feetham Commission’s recommendations, namely the Asiatic Land Tenure Amendment Act. The Bill, as amended by the Select Committee comes up for a second reading. The Indian Agent-General, Sir Syed Raza Ali, fearing that a second reading will remove elements favourable to Indians, gives evidence in Parliament favouring voluntary segregation in an attempt to prevent second reading. The South African Indian community is outraged at the suggestion of voluntary segregation.

– The Asiatic Land Tenure Amendment Act, 30/1936 is passed. Act accepts policy of segregation. Indians to be confined to separate areas.

– Development Trust and Land Act No 18: expanded the reserves of the land in South Africa and authorised the Department of Bantu Administration and Development to eliminate “black spots (black-owned land surrounded by white-owned land).


– The twenty-fifth year of the African National Congress (ANC) marks the beginning of a transitional period in African politics. The ANC begins slowly to revive while continuing to employ tactics of representation through resolutions, deputations and meetings.

– Orlando Pirates is founded.

– The Native Administration Amendment Act, Act No. 9 of 1937 prohibits Indians and other persons of colour from employing whites.

– JJ Pienaar (United Party) and JH Grobler introduce 3 Bills: The Mixed Marriages Bill aims to prohibit marriage between Asiatics, Europeans and Africans. The Provincial Legislative Powers Extension Bill aims to refuse trading licenses to non-Europeans who employ white people. The Transvaal Asiatic Land Bill aims to deny right of owning property to any white woman married to a non-European.


– Cissie Gool represents District Six on the Cape Town City Council. She is the only woman Councillor for many years and the first coloured woman to sit on the council. She serves on the council until 1951


– The Non-European Front is formed.

– A mass meeting of Indians, organised by the Nationalist Bloc of the Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC), is held at Patidar Hall, Johannesburg, under the Chairmanship of E.I. Asvat, and attended by 3,000 people.

– The Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC) leadership calls another protest meeting and gangs of thugs appear with lethal weapons. They begin beating members of the Nationalist Bloc. Dr. Yusuf Dadoo escapes narrowly and one of his supporters, Dahyabhai (Dayabhai) Govindji, is disembowelled and dies on 8 June. Nine other persons are injured and four seriously injured and hospitalised.

– To show the solidarity of Natal Indians with the intended Passive Resistance Campaign in the Transvaal, a mass meeting is organised mainly by leaders of the Colonial Born and Settlers Indian Association (CBSIA). However, passive resistance is later postponed following the earlier request of Mahatma Gandhi, who believes that a honourable settlement can be achieved.

– Recruitment of Indians into the South African Defence Force (SADF) begins under Colonel Morris.

– General J.C. Smuts becomes the new South African Prime Minister after Parliament narrowly approves his motion that South Africa should enter the Second World War on the side of Britain and the Allies.


– Walter Sisulu joins the African National Congress.

– The Inter Race Soccer Board organises a few games between the various racially divided soccer associations. A referee is killed by spectators at the Bantu Sports Club, Johannesburg.

– The Executive Committee of the All African Convention (AAC) and the African National Congress (ANC) meet and pass a resolution regarding World War II. They sympathise with the British Commonwealth and urge the South African government to give full recognition to the Africans participating in the war.


– The African Mine Workers Union is formed.

– ANC makes a resolution at a congress that the women’s section of the congress be revived.

– At age 23 Mandela rejects the bride chosen for him by the regent. This clash brings their family relationship to a head and he sets out with Justice for Johannesburg, then only 55 years old, but a major city in Africa. Mandela and Bambilanga find temporary accommodation on Crown Mines with a “home boy” who is an induna on the compound.

– Nelson Mandela is employed as a nightwatchman on mine compound. Exposed to exploitation there, but remains aloof from politics. Meets Walter Sisulu for the first time and starts to work in his estate agency.

– The African National Congress Youth League is formally constituted.


– Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki is born in Idutywa district in the Transkei.Thabo is the second child of Govan Mbeki and Ma Mofokeng.

– The ANC draws up a Bill of Rights based on the Atlantic Charter drafted by Churchill and Roosevelt.


– The ANC Womens League is formed.

– Nelson Mandela enrolls at the University of the Witwatersrand Law Faculty. He meets students of all races and is exposed to radical liberal and Africanist thought, as well as racism directed at him personally. He joins the bus boycott organized by Gaur Radebe.

– The ANC Youth League formed at an inaugural meeting in Johannesburg. Anton Lembede elected President and Nelson Mandela Secretary.


– The congress young radicals and the ANC Youth League take a different shift from the passive resistance tactics that were used in the past.

– Albert Luthuli joins the African National Congress.

– Nelson Mandela marries Evelyn Mase, Walter Sisulu’s cousin, a nurse and a ‘home girl’. They set up home with Evelyn’s married sister.

– Mandela is committed to ANC politics. Nelson Mandela, Anton Lembede, A.P. Mda, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu found the ANC Youth League and adopt an Africanist position and militant orientation which rejects participation in advisory boards and the Native Representative Council.

– The African National Congress sponsors the first soccer match at the Bantu Sports Club.

-The Johannesburg City Council meets and approves a detailed report regarding the Western Areas Scheme. This scheme involved the conversion of Newclare, Western Native Township and the southern part of Claremont to Coloured townships, and the removal of residents to Orlando, and the rezoning of Martindale and Sophiatown.


– Albert Luthuli is elected to the Executive Committee of the Natal Provincial Division of the African National Congress.

– The fifth Pan-African Congress is held in Manchester, England, shortly after World War II. This a critical event in exposing African scholars to ideas and strategies on seeking independence for African colonies using Black Consciousness ideology. The theme of the congress covers an end to colonial rule and political independence.


– African miners strike from the east to the West Rand, police open fire, kill and injure hundreds of workers.

– The Natal Inter-Race Soccer Board is established with the help of Albert Luthuli.

– Government of India announced that it had decided to terminate the trade agreement with South Africa.

– Mahatma Gandhi sent a telegram to Field Marshal Smuts asking him to withdraw the Asiatic Bill. He also issued a press statement describing the Bill as a challenge to Asia and Africa.

– Ramaswami Mudaliar the leader of the House in the Central Legislative Assembly of India, announced that the government of India would initiate steps to bring the issue of the oppression of Indians in South Africa before the United Nations.

– Indians observed complete hartal throughout the country. Mass meetings were held in many cities and towns. A mass meeting of over 15 000 people at the “Red Square” in Durban was addressed by Dr G.M. Naicker. After the meeting, a procession marched to the corner of Gale Street and Umbilo Road where the first batch of 17 Passive Resisters (including 7 women) pitched five tents on a piece of vacant municipal land in defiance of the Ghetto Act. More than a hundred whites raided the camp, pulled down tents and smashed camp stretchers. Some Resisters were injured in the scuffle, including women from the Transvaal. Police took no action.

– Police vans arrived in the evening and, for the first time, arrested 13 Resisters led by Dr G.M. Naicker: they included two women from the Transvaal, Miss Zainab Asvat and Mrs. Jamila Bhabha. Dr Naicker, speaking on behalf of the Resisters made it clears to the authorities that they would, accept bail, but would rather remain in detention. The Resisters were charged with contravention of Natal Act of 1874 (Law of Trespass), and found guilty but were cautioned and discharged. They went back to the camp and were again charged with trespass: the magistrate passed a suspended sentence of 7 days’ imprisonment with hard labour. Krishensamy (Krishnansamy) Pillai, a plainclothes policeman on duty, was attacked by a group of white hooligans in the vicinity of the resistance camp, beaten unconscious and thrown in a gutter.

– Dr Dadoo, Miss Asvat and Dr Naicker were the first sent to prison. A meeting of the Joint Passive Resistance Council of Natal and the Transvaal, held over the weekend in Durban, congratulated the national leaders of the Indian people, who were the first to be sentenced to prison, for their inspiring example of courage and sacrifice. It pledged the full support of the Indian people to the Anti-Pass struggle of the African people.

– A Cape Passive Resistance Council was formed at a mass meeting in Cape Town attended by 1 500 people. Among the first to volunteer were a number of Africans. It was announced that Councillor Z. Gool would lead a Cape batch of Resisters.

– Passive Resister reported that over 300 Passive Resisters were serving sentences ranging from 20 days to 6 months.

– African mineworkers’ strike led by J.B. Marks, leader of the African Mineworkers’ Union. About 60 000 miners went on strike. Government suppressed the strike by force. According to official figures, 9 were killed and 1 248 injured.

– 100,000 African miners strike from the East to the West Rand. Police, with bayonets drawn, charge and open fire, forcing the workers back underground. According to official figures, 9 were killed and 1,248 injured. The strike is broken by the lawlessness and ruthlessness of the state.

-The birth of Bantu Stephen (Steve) Biko.


– Mary Malahlela- Xakana becomes first female black doctor in South Africa.

– The soccer team Moroka Swallows is founded.

– Passive Resister reported that 1 586 Resisters, including 259 women, had been sentenced. Of these 242 men and women courted imprisonment for a second time. Total of sentences was 172 years, 5 months, and 2 weeks.


– The Nationalist Party comes to power, entrenching fascist domination of South Africa.

– A general election puts the National Party into power, and it introduces its policy of apartheid.

– Mahatma Gandhi, in a speech at a prayer meeting two days before his assassination, supported the new stage of the Passive Resistance Movement.

– Mandela is in Cape Town for the first time and stays three months. He views the isolated prison of Robben Island from the vantage point of Table Mountain.


– Walter Sisulu is made secretary-general of the African National Congress.

– Government introduces the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Bill in the Union Parliament. There is a minor rush in Durban for marriages between Europeans and Coloureds.

– ANC adopts Programme of Action which abandons traditional moderate approach of petitions and deputations in favour of mass action using the tactics of boycotts, strikes and civil disobedience


– The South African government bans Communism.

– Florence Matomela leads an anti-pass demonstration resulting in the burning of passes in Port Elizabeth.

– The Group Areas Act and its numerous amendments divides the South African population into racial groups for the purpose of segregating them into distinct areas.

– Defend Free Speech Convention of Transvaal was held in Johannesburg under the presidency of Dr. J. S. Moroka, President-General of ANC. There were 528 delegates and over 10,000 persons welcomed Dr. Moroka on his arrival. The Convention decided to proclaim May 1st as “Freedom Day” and called on all organisations to hold meetings and demonstrations on that day.

– A May Day stay at home is successful in Johannesburg. More than half the African workforce in Johannesburg stays at home. The day ends tragically however, when police intervention in clashes between returning workers and boycotting workers results in 19 dead and 30 injured in Benoni, Orlando, Alexandra and Sophiatown

– It became compulsory for people to live in an area designated for their classification group.


– Coloured people from the Cape are removed from the voter roll.

– Mandela is elected president of the Youth League.


– On 26 June 1952, defiant blacks pleaded guilty to ignoring apartheid laws, and chose to serve prison sentences rather than pay fines. Riots occurred accompanied by arson and murder in Port Elizabeth, East London and Kimberley townships.

– Mandela is arrested late at night after a meeting at the Garment Workers Hall in Johannesburg. He spends 2 nights in jail.

– The South African Football Association (SAFA) (representing Whites) is admitted to FIFA.

– The 1945 Urban Areas Consolidation Act was amended to specify that all black persons, men and women, over the age of sixteen were to carry passes and that no black person was to be allowed to stay in the urban areas longer than seventy-two hours unless they had permission to do so. Section 10, which governed who could stay in the urban areas, stated that black people who had been born in the urban areas and had lived there continuously since then, and those who had been in continuous employment for ten years or continuous residence in the urban areas for fifteen years, were the only categories of black people legally entitled to stay in urban areas. Powers of authorities were widened to include the ordering of the removal of blacks deemed to be undesirable even though they were lawfully in an urban area. If found guilty, a person could be sent to her/his homeland, to a rehabilitation centre or to a farm colony for a period not exceeding two years.

– United Nations recognition that South African issue is an international issue

– Chief A. J. Luthuli elected as President-General of ANC.

– Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo open the first Black legal partnership in South Africa.

– Walter Sisulu is sentenced to 9 months imprisonment, conditionally, suspended for three years.


– Criminal Law Amendment Act provided stiff penalties (fine, jail and lashes) for law-breaking by way of protest or incitement to protest. This brought the defiance campaign to an end. Many of its leaders were banned, including Chief Luthuli, President-General of the African National Congress.

– The Bantu Education Act is passed. The Act forces all schools for Africans to register with the government, resulting in almost all of the mission schools closing down. Likewise for most night schools.

– The Separate Amenities Act allows for separate public facilities for different races.

– A clandestine cell network and contact mechanism, the M-Plan, is devised by Mandela to deal with the impending banning of the ANC.

– Albert Luthuli introduces the campaign to make ordinary Black people more aware of their political situation and attempts to bridge the gap between the educated and the uneducated.

– Cape ANC leader Prof. ZK Matthews proposes the drawing up of the Freedom Charter whose main objective would be to instil political consciousness in the people and encourage their political activity.


– Blacks Resettlement Act No 19 established a Resettlement Board which would remove blacks from townships. This authorised the Sophiatown and other removals.


– The South African Government withdrew from membership in the UNESCO in protest against UNESCO’s activities against racial discrimination.

– Separate University Education Bill referred to Parliamentary Commission.

– Nursing Act creating separate racial registers.

– African National Congress decided to call a stay-at-home strike for 14, 15 and 16 April, the last day being the day of the General Election. The strike was a failure and was cancelled on the evening of the first day. It showed the great damage the Government had inflicted by its naming, bannings, arrests and legislation on African organisations.

– Patricia Jobodwana becomes the youngest black woman to enrol at a university when she enrols at the University of Fort Hare for a BSc in medicine at age 14.

– The Congress of the People is convened in Kliptown. 3000 delegates, including 320 Indians, 230 Coloured and 112 Whites, adopt the Freedom Charter.

– Mandela and his wife Evelyn separate. Mandela meets Winnie Madikizela.

– The government intensifies its bannings, by the end of 1955 forty-eight ANC leaders are banned, including Mandela.

– About 60 000 people are forcibly removed from Johannesburg Western Areas as part of the policy of Group Areas Act. These areas then became white areas and renamed Triumph.

– Founding of South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU), the first non-racial trade union centre. It adopted the Freedom Charter and becomes a member of the Congress Alliance.

Both the ANC and the PAC take up anti-pass campaigns.


– The Confederation of African Football (CAF) expels South Africa.

– African students prohibited from attending formerly “open universities” excepting the University of South Africa and Natal Medical School.

– Albert Luthuli warns White South Africans that resentment among Africans is building up.

– The PAC mounts its anti-pass campaign. Police at Sharpeville open fire on peaceful protesters killing sixty-nine and injuring 180. In the Western Cape, police open fire and kill two people. The PAC retaliates by calling a work stoppage that lasts for two weeks. Ninety five percent of the workforce goes on strike. PAC youth take control of the Cape Town townships of Langa and Nyanga, setting up roadblocks and distributing food. 30 000 residents of Black townships of Cape Town march on Caledon Square, led by Philip Kgosana, but the march is thwarted when Kgosana is tricked into calling it off on the promise of top level negotiators. The state calls in the military and the marines, the townships are cordoned off and the situation is brought under Nationalist control. A state of emergency is declared, thousands are arrested throughout the country and the ANC and PAC are declared banned organisations. Mandela is among those imprisoned.

– Ten thousand Indians and two thousand Coloureds ordered to vacate Pietermaritzburg.

– Boycotts of South African goods were being implemented in many countries: labour organisations refused to service South African cargoes.

– White South Africans voted that South Africa should become a Republic (850,000 in favour; 776,000 opposed). Prime Minister Verwoerd subsequently told British Prime Minister MacMillan that South Africa wanted to remain in the Commonwealth.


– The ANC took up arms against the South African Government, goes underground and continues to operate secretly.

– The ANC and the PAC establish religious and welfare front organisations. ANC and SACP members set up the armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe. There is a strict undertaking that life will not be endangered, only installations will be attacked. A central high command, with regional commands are set up under the direction of Mandela. The first explosion occurs on 16 December in Durban, followed by explosions in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The president general of the ANC, Chief Albert Luthuli is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a week before the first explosion.

– FIFA suspends the Football Association of South Africa (FASA).

– The United Kingdom voted for a resolution against apartheid for the first time.

– Following strong opposition in the Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers, Dr. Verwoerd announced the withdrawal of South Africa from the Commonwealth “in the interests of South Africa’s honour and dignity”.

– Twenty-eight persons, including Albert Luthuli and Walter Sisulu, on trial for high treason since 1956, are found not guilty and discharged.

– Robben Island turned into a prison.

– South Africa is declared a republic, independent and outside the commonwealth. C.R. Swart, the former Governor-General, is sworn in as the first President of the Republic of South Africa.

– While underground, Nelson Mandela writes a letter in which he states the famous words: “The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.”

– The government of Ghana imposes a total ban on the export of all Ghanian produce to South Africa and South West Africa, as a protest against apartheid.

– The Sierra Leone government imposes a ban on all trade and commerce with South Africa, as a protest against its apartheid policies. Ports and airports will be closed to all South African ships and aircraft; no white South Africans will be allowed to enter Sierra Leone; already in the country will not be granted re-entry visas.

– Wearing a Chief’s ceremonial garb, Albert Luthuli receives the Nobel Peace Prize in the presence of King Olaf of Norway, many diplomats and other dignitaries and is given a standing ovation. In his acceptance speech, Albert Luthuli declares: “I regard this as a tribute to Mother Africa, to all peoples, whatever their race, colour or creed”.


– Winnie Mandela banned under Suppression of Communism Act, and restricted to Orlando Township.

– Nelson Mandela secretly leaves South Africa to attend a Pan African Freedom Movement conference in Addis Ababa. He travels to other countries to receive military training and then comes back into the country to continue operating underground.

– Nelson Mandela, who had gone underground in 1961, was arrested near Durban. He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on November 7, 1962; then tried again, while in prison in the “Rivonia Trial” and sentenced to life imprisonment.

– Albert Luthuli and Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. issue a joint statement “Appeal for Action Against Apartheid”


– Sonia Bunting goes into exile and continues to work for the Communist Party. She becomes organiser of the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners.

– The FIFA executive lifts the Football Association of South Africa’s (FASA) suspension. FASA announces it will send an all-White team to the 1966 World Cup, and an all-Black team to the 1970 World Cup. FIFA president Stanley Rous gets FASA temporarily reinstated in 1963, but FASA is again suspended in 1964. It is expelled from FIFA in 1976.

– Walter Sisulu, former Secretary-General of the African National Congress is convinced of having incited African workers to strike in protest against the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act of 1961, and having furthered the aims of the ANC. He is sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.

– South African Airways is excluded from flying over the African continent, except for Portuguese territory.

– The Rivonia Trial ended in Mandela, Mbeki, Sisulu, Goldberg, Kathrada, Mhlaba, Mlangeni and Motsoaledi being sentenced to life.

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