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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

UDF Reference

The 1970s and 1980s were tumultuous decades in South Africa's history. The Soweto uprising of June 1976 drew international attention, once again, to the injustices and human rights abuses meted out in the name of apartheid. The aftermath of the Soweto uprising saw thousands of young South Africans fleeing their homes to swell the ranks of liberation movements in exile.

The 1980s saw the mobilisation of thousands of South Africans under the umbrella of the United Democratic Front (UDF). Launched in response to the formation of the tricameral Parliament, the UDF united a broad front of South Africans of all races in peaceful opposition to apartheid. It's rallying call was "UDF unites, apartheid divides".

In 1989 the Harare Declaration called for an end to the system of apartheid and the transformation of South Africa into a united, democratic and non-racial country. Finally on 2 February, 1990 then State President Mr FW de Klerk announced in his opening speech to Parliament that the African National Congress, the Pan-Africanist Congress, the South African Communist Party and other political parties and organisations were to be unbanned. This paved the way for the release of political prisoners and the return of thousands of exiles.

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.