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The Defiance Campaign against Unjust Laws
was presented by the African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...
(ANC) at a conference held in Bloemfontein, South Africa in December 1951
-March:* 30 March - The Group Areas Act which was passed in 1950 becomes law-May:* 14 May - The cabinet voted for the removal of the Coloured people from the voters roll...
The ANC decided to implement a national action the following year based on non-cooperation
Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power. Civil disobedience is commonly, though not always, defined as being nonviolent resistance. It is one form of civil resistance...
with certain laws considered unjust and discriminatory. The conference in the course of a lengthy public statement on this historic decision stated:
- All people, irrespective of the national group they belong to and irrespective of the colour of their skin, who have made South Africa their home, are entitled to live a full and free life
- Full democratic rights with direct say in the affairs of the government are the inalienable right of every South African - a right which must be realised now if South Africa is to be saved from social chaos and tyranny and from the evils arising out of the existing denial of the franchise of vast masses of the population on the grounds of race and colour.
- The struggle which the national organisations of the non-European people are conducting is not directed against any race or national group. It is against the unjust laws which keep in perpetual subjection and misery vast sections of the population. It is for the creation of conditions which will restore human dignity, equality and freedom to every South African.
Demonstrations in support of the Defiance Principles were organised for April 6, 1952, the 300th anniversary of white settlement in the Cape of Southern Africa.
Of approximately 10,000 people who protested the unjust apartheid laws, around 8,500 of them were imprisoned, including Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...