Apartheid and the anticipation of apocalypse: the supreme strategies of the National Party government and the African National Congress, 1980-1989: an historical perspective

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    By 1980 the National Party government of South Africa and the most prominent anti-apartheid organisation, the African National Congress (ANC), had moulded multidimensional strategies of epic proportions with which to seize and maintain power. The government perceived the global campaign against South Africa’s political status quo as a so-called total onslaught operating in all possible socio-economic and political spheres. In reaction it engineered a strategy to counter it in all possible spheres the total strategy. Its implementation implied a reorganisation of South African politics and society on an unimaginable scale. Simultaneously the most important anti-government organisation was overhauling itself. After the turmoil of the late 1970s, the African National Congress determined that the climate was ripe to launch a multidimensional offensive against the minority regime. The execution of these strategies, during the 1980s, culminated in sweeping violent political conflict and socio-economic unrest. A political power play was effected with the actions and reactions of each side thrusting South Africa ever closer to the brink of a man-made apocalypse. These separate strategies will be analysed in an historical perspective.