About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1960

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

The government banned the ANC and the PAC, declared a state of emergency and arrested thousands of Congress and PAC activists

Fietas, Johannesburg: Dr. Yusuf Dadoo is exiled.

The number of economically active women in South Africa is at 15.5%

Fatima Meer organizes night vigils against detentions without trial.

Adelaide Tambo leaves South Africa and works as courier for her husband in London.

Detained under State of Emergency:Frances Baard, Hilda Bernstein, Sonia Bunting,Lillian Ngoyi, Annie Silinga, Josie Palmer.

Sarah Carneson goes underground

The African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) was banned.

Extension of University Education Amendment Act No 32:

Amended the extension of University Education Act No 45 of 1959 and the University of Fort Hare Transfer Act No 64 of 1959.

Assent gained: 7 April 1960; commencement date not found.

Repealed by s 21 of the Tertiary Education Act No 66 of 1988.

Proclamation No 400 and Proclamation No 413:

Emergency regulations contained in Proclamations 400 and 413 were issued under pre-union statutes (Dugard 1978: 110). Proclamation 400 was only repealed in 1977 by the Public Security Act No 30.

South African United Front was officially launched in London by ANC, PAC, SAIC and SWANU. (SWAPO accepted membership but withdrew soon after). This followed consultations since April 1960 in Dar es Salaam and Accra between ANC and PAC and at Conference of Independent African States in Addis Ababa in June 1960.

1 January 1960

Minister of Bantu Education assumed control of University College of Fort Hare.

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

24 January 1960

Rioting by Africans in Cato Manor (Durban) resulted in the death of nine policemen. Commissioner of Police subsequently testified that South African police were meeting increasing hostility from Africans in the routine performance of their duties. (New York Times)

February 1960

The Pondoland rebellion: an uprising of peasants in the Transkei.

February 1960

Protests and open rebellion break out in Pondoland.

3 February 1960

British Prime Minister MacMillan stated before the South African Parliament that Britain could not support South Africa's racial policies.

6 February - 12 February 1960

Sisulu attends a secret meeting of the ANC at Macosa house, Johannesburg, with Ahmed Kathrada.

20 March 1960

Rioting and arson in Pondoland.

21 March 1960

At Sharpeville the police opened fire on the unarmed and peaceful crowd, killing 69 and wounding 186.

21 March 1960

Sharpeville Massacre: This was a day of protest against the pass laws organised by the Pan Africanist Congress with demonstrations taking place across the Reef, the police opened fire on the crowd and more than 200 Africans were shot down.

In the wake of Sharpeville, African students loyal to the ANC established the African Students' Association (ASA), PAC (Pan Africanist Congress) students formed the African Students' Union of South Africa (ASUSA), and students who were loyal to the Non-European Unity Movement had formed other organisations in the Cape and Natal. However none of these organisations survived for long, since identification with banned movements was hazardous, and the university authorities were hostile to student political groups. The other groups themselves were uncooperative with each other.

21 March 1960

Police shooting at peaceful demonstrators in Sharpeville against pass laws for Africans: 69 men, women and children were killed and about 200 wounded.

22 March 1960

Verwoerd told the South African Parliament that the riots could in no way be described as a reaction against the Government's apartheid policy and had nothing to do with passes. Such disturbances were a periodic phenomenon and had nothing to do with poverty and low wages. He further stated that his first duty was to thank the South African police for the courageous, efficient manner in which they had handled the situation. The police at times found it difficult to control themselves, but they had done so in an exemplary manner.

He announced that 132 members of the Pan Africanist Congress, including Robert Sobukwe, were being held in Johannesburg and would be charged with sedition.

23 March 1960

Robert Sobukwe, President of the Pan Africanist Congress, Kitchener Leballo, its national secretary, and 11 others charged with incitement to riot.

24 March 1960

The Government banned all public meetings of more than 12 persons until June 30 in an effort to disrupt the wave of protests against the pass laws.

25 March 1960

Representatives of 29 African and Asian members requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to consider "the situation arising out of the large-scale killings of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators against racial discrimination and segregation in the Union of South Africa".

27 March 1960

The Commissioner of Police announced that the pass laws were to be suspended until a normal situation had been restored, an occasion taken by Chief A. J. Luthuli to burn his pass. The Police Commissioner said that the pass laws were not being suspended to appease the unfounded protests of Bantu agitators, but because the jails could no longer accommodate the many Africans who presented themselves for arrest by openly violating the pass laws. (London Times)

28 March 1960

ANC called a nation-wide stay-at-home in protest at the Sharpeville massacre. Pass books were burned in countless bonfires.

O. R. Tambo left South Africa illegally on the instruction of the ANC to carry on work outside the country.

30 March 1960

The Security Council began consideration of the situation in South Africa, under an agenda item entitled: "The situation arising out of the large-scale killings of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators against racial discrimination and segregation in the Union of South Africa".

30 March 1960

At the request of 29 African and Asian Member States, the Security Council began consideration of the situation in South Africa, under an agenda item entitled: "The situation arising out of the large-scale killings of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators against racial discrimination and segregation in the Union of South Africa".

Regime declared a State of Emergency and arrested over 2,000 people.

At lunchtime, 30,000 Africans from surrounding African townships marched into the centre of Cape Town and demanded an interview with the Minister of Justice. The Chief of Security promised to approach the Minister and the crowds marched back out of Cape Town.

Immediately after they had dispersed, Erasmus announced in Parliament that a a state of emergency had been declared in 80 of the 300 magisterial districts, including every important urban area, and that 18 regiments of the Citizens Force had been mobilised to supplement the police, army and air force.

31 March 1960

Four more regiments of the Citizens Force were mobilised. Legal authorities in Johannesburg stated the emergency regulations created a situation of virtual martial law.

One of the basic reasons for declaring the Emergency was to obtain a return to work by the African population. Under the emergency regulations, refusal to work was punishable by a fine of $1400, five years in prison, or both.

1 April 1960

The Security Council, in its first action on South Africa, adopted resolution 134 (1960) deploring the policies and actions of the South African Government which had given rise to a loss of life of so many Africans and led to international friction, and called upon that Government to abandon its policies of apartheid and racial discrimination. It requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with the South African Government, "to make such arrangements as would adequately help in upholding the purposes and principles of the [United Nations] Charter." The vote on the resolution was 9 in favour and 2 abstentions (France and the United Kingdom).

1 April 1960

Security Council, in its first action on South Africa, adopted resolution 134 (1960) deploring the policies and actions of the South African Government which had given rise to a loss of life of so many Africans and led to international friction, and called upon that Government to abandon its policies of apartheid and racial discrimination.

Proclamation of a State of Emergency in thirty-one more magisterial districts.

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

2 April 1960

The Bishop of Johannesburg, Ambrose Reeves, took refuge in Swaziland following continued massive arrests of persons of all races.

The New York Times stated that the most conservative official estimates placed the membership of the ANC and PAC at 70,000.

6 April 1960

The pass system was revived.

7 April 1960

Unlawful Organisations Act No 34:

Provided for organisations threatening public order or the safety of the public to be declared unlawful. The ANC and the PAC were immediately declared unlawful.

Commenced: 7 April 1960

Repealed by s 73 of the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982.

8 April 1960

Passage of the Unlawful Organisations Act.

Banning of the African National Congress and the Pan Africanist Congress. Justice Minister Erasmus announced the banning of ANC and PAC for a minimum of one year and stated that there could be no political organisation among urbanised Africans.

9 April 1960

Attempted assassination of Prime Minister Verwoerd in Johannesburg resulted in serious wounds in the face. His assailant, a white farmer, was promptly described as mentally unstable.

19 April 1960

First interim report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold, pursuant to the Security Council resolution of 1 April.

4 May 1960

Robert Sobukwe, President of the Pan Africanist Congress, was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for incitement of Africans to urge the repeal of pass laws. He refused to appeal, as he had refused the aid of an attorney, on the grounds that the court had no jurisdiction over him because it could not be considered either a court of law or a court of justice.

6 May 1960

The Government stated in Parliament that 18,000 persons had been arrested and detained since the proclamation of the emergency.

25 May 1960

Tribal clashes continued to take place in Pondoland (Transkei) between supporters and opponents of the African territorial authorities. 29 Africans were killed, 50 wounded.

June - July 1960

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

June 1960

Representation of Africans in Parliament ended.

June - May 1960

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

15 June - 24 June 1960

Second Conference of Independent African States, at Addis Ababa, called for sanctions against South Africa.

15 June - 24 June 1960

Second Conference of Independent African States, at Addis Ababa, called for sanctions against South Africa.

14 July 1960

Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA), announced its functioning as the SACP, operating underground, after its dissolution in 1950.

31 August 1960

The state of emergency was lifted. 10,500 opponents of the Government were still being detained.

5 October 1960

In a referendum limited to white voters only, 52 percent of South African voters favoured the establishment of a Republic.

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.

11 October 1960

Second interim report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the Security Council resolution of 1 April.

23 November 1960

A police convoy was ambushed in Pondoland.

26 November 1960

A week of violence continued in which it was officially estimated that 200 huts had been burned. The Botha Sigcau High School was closed following threats by Pondo who objected to government education.

30 November 1960

The Government closed all lines of communication with five districts in Pondoland and reintroduced emergency regulations for the second time in eight months.

Paramount Chief of the Zulus, Cyprian Bhepezulu, and 12 Kraals occupied by his followers were attacked by hostile Africans for their support of the Government's "betterment schemes".

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.