Collaboratively Produced Study Resource for Burger’s Daughter: Timeline of Apartheid and the Communist Party

Image Credit: Ernst Cole, Apartheid Museum
  • 1905, January 22. The Russian proletariats gather in St Petersburg about some 150,000 people to present a petition to the Tsar, hoping he would be sympathetic to their cause: to cut the work day to eight hours, for the right to protest, and for there to be voting rights. However, the group didn’t reach the palace where Nicholas didn’t reside at the time. His ministers blocked the march; violence broke out as soldiers fired the first shots. The marchers were charged at men, women and children. Many suffered, about two-hundred died and eight-hundred were hurt. This event caused people to undermine the Tsar and many more uprisings throughout Russia occurred shortly after. Cavendish, Richard. “‘Bloody Sunday’ In St Petersburg.” History Today 55.1 (2005): 54-55. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 June 2014. Yeva Zobova
  • 1905, August 9: Moses Kotane, was born in South Africa. He would later become a staunch Marxist, General Secretary of the Communist Party of South Africa and Treasurer General of the African National Congress. In      1928, he joined both the African National Congress (ANC) and the African Bakers’ Union. In 1929, he joined the CPSA, or Communist Party of South Africa, rising through the ranks to become the general secretary      until the party’s eventual exile and the banning of the Communist Party. He remained an active member of the Communist Party in South Africa and Tanzania until suffering a stroke. Afterward, he remained in Moscow      for treatment until his death in 1978. “Moses M. Kotane.” Ciara Kahahane.
  • 1906: April 19. In 1905, in Kwazulu-Natal, the government induced a poll tax on huts and dogs. In 1906 the Zulus, lead by Chief Bambatha, refused to pay the tax. The Bambatha rebellion marked the end of the African resistance to colonial rule for nearly fifty years. ( Dustin Nakayama
  • 1912, January 8: The African National Congress (ANC) was founded. First it was called South African Native National Congress (SANNC) and was later renamed ANC in 1923. The main goal for this South African political party and black nationalist organization was to maintain the voting rights for black Africans and mixed race people. In the 1940’s it was the leader in fighting apartheid (“the official South African policy of racial separation and discrimination)” (Encyclopedia Britannica) From 1960-1990 the ANC was banned by the white South African Government, but still operated underground.  ( (“African National Congress (ANC)”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.    Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 16 Jun. 2014; <>. ) — Analiese A.
  • 1916, Rosa Luxemburg established an underground organization called the Spartacus League that published illegal socialist newspapers and letters. The newspaper encourage strikes and revolutions. Daniel
  • 1918, Rosa luxemburg established the German Communist party. Daniel
  • 1920, June: Lenin writes “The Draft of Theses on National and Colonial” questions for the Second Congress of the Communist International. -Paige
  • 1921-1971. The South American Communist Party (SACP) lasted for fifty years and sought to stop British imperialism and capitalism, seeing it as a source of oppression and discrimination against the Afrikaner. Segal, Aeron. “The American Political Science Review.” JSTOR. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014.<
  • 3Bchaprel%3Da#bibInfo>. Yeva Zobova
  • 1936-1938: Moscow Trials – 3 trials were held: Trial of the Sixteen, Trial of the Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Center, and the Trial of the Police.  Dealth with former officials of the Soviet Secret Police, and conspiring with western powers to assassinate Soviet leaders, including Stalin. Summer Strommen
  • 1942, Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo, an Indian South African active in the South African Communist Party, led the Defend South Africa Campaign. Daniel
  • 1942: War Measure 145 outlawed strikes by Africans, exposed strikers to the savage maximum penalty of a 500 pounds($850), or three years imprisonment. ( Kallen Yamasaki
  • 1946: African mine workers of the Witwatersrand went on strike demanding higher wages. 1,248 workers were injured by the police and 9 were killed. In result they impacted the political thinking within the national liberation movement. ( Dustin Nakayama
  • 1948, May: fictional character Rosemarie Burger born in Nadine Gordimer’s Burger’s Daughter (Gordimer 94). Kristine K.
  • 1950: Population Registration Act – The Population Registration Act of 1950 made it so that every citizen in South Africa was classified by race.  The categories were Bantu (black Africans), Coloured (mixed race) and White. ( Gavin Nihei
  • 1950, 17 June:  The Suppression of Communism Act banned the South African Communist Party, and gave the government the power to ban publications that were pro-communism.  It also gave the government power to ban or punish any group or individual who were hinted at being affiliated to communism. ( Joshua Singer
  • 1951: Bantu Authorities Act – This act established designated leaders or Regional and Territorial Authorities for each specific groups in their respective reserves.  Tribal Authorities were also set up and were given to chiefs who then became responsible for allocation of land.  Uncooperative leaders would face harsh penalties and were often disposed. ( Gavin Nihei
  • 1953: Public Safety Act- The Public Safety Act (along with the Criminal Law Amendment Act) was passed by the government in the efforts to suppress the defiance of unjust laws campaign of 1952. The campaign was developed by ANC and SAIC to fight against unfair laws enacted by apartheid and was led by Nelson Mandela and many others. The Public Safety act gave the government power to suspend all laws when an emergency was declared and emergency regulations could be implemented, allowing emergency action to be taken by police if neccessary. The goal of this was to maintain public safety and order. (Phalen, Anthony. “South Africans Disobey Apartheid Laws.” Global Nonviolent Action Database. Swarthmore College, 11 June 2009. Web. 16 June 2014.) – Bella Lei
  • 1953: Criminal Law Amendment Act- Along with the public safety act that was passed, the Criminal Law Amendment Act was passed by the government. The act targeted any person who went against the unfair apartheid laws. This act deemed anyone to be guilty of an offense as long as they were involved in protesting with and supporting the campaign. This act also made passive resistance against the law an illegal act as well. The form of penalties for breaking the law included a combination of fines, imprisonment and whippings. “1953. Criminal Law Amendment Act No 8.” The O’Malley Archives. Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, n.d. Web. 17 June 2014.) – Bella Lei
  •  1956, March 16: The Riotous Assemblies Act prohibited outdoor gatherings that the Minister of Justice saw as a threat to public peace.  Banishment was included as a form of punishment. ( event/riotous-assemblies-act-commences) Kallen Yamasaki
  • 1956, December-1961, March: 156 people including Nelson Mandela were accused and tried for treason. Justice Rumpff stated that the state did not enough evidence to prove that the African National Congress or the Freedom Charter had any means or intent to overthrow the government through force or violence. (Online accessed 06/16/14, Online accessed 06/16/14
  • 1959,  6 April: Pan African Congress- Led by Robert Sobukwe, the Pan African Congress (PAC) promoted actions against the discrimination-taking place in Africa. The apartheid government continuously introduced new laws to deter the liberation struggle. But some members of the National Congress were unhappy with the miniscule progress occurring and PAC was formed. (Online accessed 06/16/14 Courtney Kipi
  • 1960: Black Consciousness Movement- Steve Biko led The Black Consciousness Movement. Biko believed that the oppression in South Africa was due to the problem of culture. The culture of black South Africans was looked down upon and shamed by westerners. Biko fought against the black struggle against apartheid. (Online accessed 06/16/14 Courtney Kipi 
  • 1960, March 21: Sharpeville Massacre – The PAC planned to have as much people leave their apartheid passes at home and to surrender themselves to the Sharpeville police station. Around 300 armed officers with live ammunition and armored cars were met with the 5,000+ people who showed up to surrender. The police then sprayed the crowed killing 69 people and injuring a hundred more. (Online accessed 06/16/14, Online accessed 06/16/14
  • 1960, April 19: SWAPO (South West African People’s Organization) Now called SWAPO Party of Namibia was founded by Andimba Toivo ya Toico and Sam Nujoma. It is a political party that started off wanting South West Africa, now Namibia, to gain independence from South Africa. ( (“SWAPO Party of Namibia”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.  Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 16 Jun. 2014     <>.) Analiese A.
  • 1960: Robben Island, and island in Table Bay, off the coast of Cape Town, is first used for housing political prisoners from South Africa.  First used by the Dutch as a prison in the late 17th century, it eventually houses Nelson Mandela for ten years of his twenty-seven year term. (Online accessed 06/16/14 Matt Fletchall
  • 1961, June: Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African national congress co-founded by Nelson Mandela, informs the South African government of it’s intent to perform retaliatory acts due to the lack of civil rights. (Online accessed 06/16/14 Matt Fletchall
  • 1962, 25 June : FRELIMO was a liberation, guerrilla, and communist movement.  It struggled against an anti-Communist faction known as RENAMO, but it received support from the then white-minority governments of Rhodesia and South Africa. ( Joshua Singer
  • 1963: The Publications and Entertainment Act established a core section of the government known as the Publications Control Board, whose job it was to decide whether or not a publication contained substance that needed to be censored. The censorship focused heavily on sexual frankness and pronograpy, which focused heavily on foreign publications, as well as contrasting political views that would go against the current government establishment, which focused heavily on South African Authors. “Publishing South African Literature in English in 1960’s” Research in African Literatures. Walter Ehmeir
  • 1963, June 12.  Nelson Mandela sentenced to life in prison for sabotage and promoting revolution.  “Nelson Mandela” The Economist.  Matt Homer.
  • 1963 July: The Secret Branch, which are a group of secret police, are given the ability to detain anyone suspected of any activity against the State through the General Law Amendment Act. -Paige
  • 1963, October: Bram Fischer, a renowned Afrikaner lawyer, leads an aggressive defense in the name of Nelson Mandela and other members of the Rivonia Trials. The trials would eventually lead in the sentencing of all of the defendants even though Fischer’s defense was strong. Fischer would go on to be imprisoned in 1965 after being accused of conspiracies to over throw the government and eventually die in prison in 1974. Fischer is credited for “Sav(ing) the lives of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused, but sacrific(ing) his own life in the fight for freedom.” Fishcer also inspired inspiration for the character Lionel Burger as can be seen through both of the individuals willingness to fight for the abolishment of the apartheid through legal means as well as the resistance and pressure put on them by the government and other forces that benefited from the power of the apartheid.The State vs. Nelson Mandela: The Trial that Changed South Africa. Joel Joffe
  • 1968: Czechoslovakian Uprising / Prague Spring – The Czechoslovak government began to reform towards a more democratic and privatized structure. Soviet troops along with those of Hungary, Bulgaria, East Germany, and Poland invaded and Soviet troops were stationed in Czechoslovakia. As a result, their economy went still and did not grow for many years. Summer Strommen
  • 1977, September 12.  Steve Biko, leader of Black Consciousness Movement, died of head injuries while in police custody.  “Seve Bilko: One Man Can make a Difference”  Afro-American Red Star.  Matt Homer.
  • 1979, July 5: Burger’s Daughter banned as an indecent and politically subversive novel guilty of obscenity, blasphemy, and inciting racial violence (Nicholas Karolides, “Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds”). Kristine K.
  • 1994: Nelson Mandela was elected president of the African National Congress (ANC) (“African National Congress (ANC)”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.  Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 16 Jun. 2014    <>. ) –Analiese A.

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