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This authoritative, comprehensive reference work covers South Africa's

encyclopedia of south africa
history, government and politics, law, society and culture, economy and
infrastructure, demography, environment, and more, from the era of

edited by Krista Johnson & Sean Jacobs
human origins to the present in a user-friendly format.

Alphabetically arranged entries and appendices provide a wealth of
information in a concise yet thorough way.
south africa
“A unique reference...melding relevant subject selection with accessible
organization to offer a well-rounded treatment of an important topic.”
— Tom Gilson, Against the Grain

Krista Johnson is assistant professor of African studies at Howard University,
Washington. Sean Jacobs is assistant professor of international affairs at The New
edited by
School, New York. Krista Johnson & Sean Jacobs
of South Africa



b o u l d e r
l o n d o n

Preface vii
Map of South Africa viii

Encyclopedia of South Africa 1

Appendix 1 Chronology 325
Appendix 2 Heads of State Since 1910 331
Appendix 3 Government Structures 333
Appendix 4 Provinces and Major Cities 335
Appendix 5 Political Parties in the April 2009 National Elections 337
Appendix 6 Key Racial and Apartheid Legislation, 1856–1967 339

List of Acronyms 343
The Contributors 345
Index 349
About the Book 373


The Encyclopedia of South Africa—the result of a became a politically correct label uniting all peo-
long-term collaboration among an international ple of color in South Africa. But that usage of
group of scholars—was designed to broadly cover “black” has been challenged—applied by some
South Africa’s history, government and politics, only to native Africans and by others to the larger
law, society and culture, economy, infrastructure, category of all “nonwhites.”
demography, environment, and more, from the era “Coloured” is still used, but the trend is
of human origins to the present. toward no longer capitalizing the word. Through-
To be as comprehensive as possible, we have out this encyclopedia, we have adopted the South
interspersed the substantive entries with numerous African usage of “coloured.” (For more on the
“blind entries” that reflect variations of a word or issue, see the entry “Coloured People.”)
phrase for which the user might be searching (such
* * *
as acronyms and alternate spellings). Entries also
include extensive cross-references to other entries, We would like to thank those who helped to make
and bibliographies point to sources for further this encyclopedia possible. The members of the
research. The comprehensive index offers access to Advisory Board gave invaluable help. We are par-
the information at the most detailed level. ticularly grateful to them and to the contributors for
their careful work. Our efforts were greatly aided
* * *
by Jau-Yon Chen and Adam Esrig. Krista Johnson
A note on terminology: Terminology referring to would like to acknowledge the support of Howard
racial classifications in South Africa has fluctu- University through a New Faculty Grant awarded
ated over time. The Population Registration Act of in 2009. We also wish to thank Lynne Rienner and
1950 specified “Whites,” “Coloureds” (mixed race), Shena Redmond at Lynne Rienner Publishers for
“Blacks” (also referred to as “Natives,” “Africans,” seeing this project through to completion.
and “Bantu”), and later, “Asians,” the latter applying
primarily to those from the Indian subcontinent —Krista Johnson
(see Appendix 6). With the advent of the Black Sean Jacobs
Consciousness Movement in the 1960s, “black”
Abdurahman, Abdullah (In the Union of South Africa, coloured males in
(1872–1940) the Cape Province who met certain income, prop-
Abdullah Abdurahman, a politician and a physi- erty, and education standards were granted the
cian, was born in the town of Wellington into a right to vote.) Later, between 1927 and 1934,
relatively affluent CAPE MALAY family. He Abdurahman and the APO started working more
received his medical training in Glasgow, Scot- closely with black African political leaders in an
land, qualifying as a doctor in 1893, but received attempt to create a united front. However, little
his early education in Wellington and then in CAPE came of this, and some contemporary commenta-
TOWN where he set up his medical practice upon tors regard the APO’s position as being too
returning to South Africa. accommodating to the white authorities. By the
In 1904, Abdurahman was elected Cape late 1930s, other political parties, such as the
Town’s first COLOURED city councilor, and he more radical National Liberation League, had sur-
remained a councilor almost without interruption passed the APO in prominence, leaving Abdurah-
until his death. He worked to improve the condi- man and his party with a mixed political legacy.
tions of the coloured community, especially Nonetheless, Abdurahman was clearly a powerful
within the field of education, and helped set up the politician and popular among the non-European
first secondary schools for coloured children in community.
Cape Town. But much of his political work was
directed through the African Political Organiza-
tion (APO), of which he was elected president in Achmat, Abdurazzack (Zackie)
1905. The APO’s goal was to fight the increasing (1962–)
racial oppression in the country, initially only on Founder and president of the AIDS activist group
behalf of non-African coloureds. Before the cre- the TREATMENT ACTION CAMPAIGN, Abdurazzack
ation of the UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA in 1910, (Zackie) Achmat was a child activist in his native
Abdurahman unsuccessfully led two delegations CAPE TOWN (he was arrested numerous times
to London to secure franchise rights for coloureds. between 1976 and 1980) and a gay rights activist

2 Act of Union

in JOHANNESBURG in the late 1980s and the early MATTHEWS became the first black head of the
1990s. Raised in a Muslim COLOURED family, school in 1925, and prominent political leaders
Achmat studied at the University of the Western including Luthuli and GOVAN MBEKI were teach-
Cape where he received his bachelor’s degree in ers at the college for a period of time. The school
English in 1993. He is a member of the AFRICAN continues to operate today.
NATIONAL CONGRESS but has publicly clashed with
the political party’s hierarchy, particularly with
former South African president THABO MBEKI, Affirmative Action
over the government’s AIDS policies. Openly gay Also referred to as “employment equity,” named
and HIV-positive, Achmat helped found the for the Employment Equity Act passed in 1998,
National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality affirmative action is integrally connected with the
in 1994 and advocated for laws and policies for- government’s broader policy of BLACK ECONOMIC
bidding discrimination based on sexual orienta- EMPOWERMENT (BEE). Against a background of
tion in the postapartheid dispensation. In 1998, he racial disparities in skilled jobs inherited from
helped found the Treatment Action Campaign, ini- APARTHEID, the law is designed to ensure that des-
tially aimed at advocating for affordable and ignated groups defined as black people (meaning
accessible antiretroviral drugs (ARV) for people Africans, COLOUREDS, and INDIANS), women, and
living with AIDS. He himself has succumbed to people with disabilities have equal opportunities
numerous AIDS-related illnesses and must take for employment. The policy has been vigorously
ARV drugs. In January 2008, he married his part- applied in the public sector, though less vigor-
ner Dallie Weyers (South Africa legalized gay ously by private businesses. Businesses with more
marriage in December 2006). Achmat was nomi- than fifty employees and with an annual turnover
nated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. defined in the Employment Equity Act are subject
See also TREATMENT ACTION CAMPAIGN to the legislation. The law requires that employers
draw up an equity plan, achieve certain quotas and
specific outcomes, and submit reports to the
Act of Union Department of Labor. Critics of affirmative action
See SOUTH AFRICA ACT argue that it has benefited a small group of well-
connected black businesspeople and has excluded
coloureds and Indians among its beneficiaries.
Adams College White critics claim it amounts to “reverse
Adams College was a mission school established racism.” In turn, proponents of affirmative action
by US missionary Dr. Newton Adams in 1853 in argue that forty years of apartheid rule can be con-
present-day KwaZulu-Natal Province. It is the sidered de facto affirmative action for whites and
second oldest school, after Lovedale, established that the postapartheid government has an obliga-
to educate black South Africans. Originally tion to redress some of the past imbalances.
named Amanzimtoti Insitute, this school inspired See also BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
many Africans to attain higher levels of education
and boasts many famous alumni, including Chief
and Dr. Nkosasana Zuma. Like so many great In the years following the 1994 democratic transi-
schools during the APARTHEID era, Adams College tion, the African National Congress (ANC) has
suffered the impact of racism and segregation but dominated South African politics. The legitimacy
has experienced a revival in the postapartheid era. and popularity of the movement has its more
With the passage of the BANTU EDUCATION Act in immediate origins in securing black majority rule
1953, the college was renamed the Amanzimtoti in 1994, but its deeper genesis lies in the ANC’s
Zulu Training School but was named Adams Col- long history of resistance to white rule, both legally
lege again with the demise of apartheid. Z. K. until 1960 and underground and in exile until 1990.
African National Congress 3

The Formative Years (1912–1940) groups supportive of interracial cooperation.
The ANC was founded in 1912 as the South Another short period of ANC radicalism under
African Native National Congress (it became the President J. T. Gumede ended in 1930 when Seme
ANC in 1923) at a convention in BLOEMFONTEIN assumed the presidency, ushering in a period of
called by Pixley Seme, a political activist, lawyer, profound stagnation.
and journalist who had been educated in Britain At the provincial level, ANC politics were
and the United States. The formation of the ANC complex. While most members were urban based,
was prompted by the 1909 SOUTH AFRICA ACT of a House of Chiefs was modeled on the British
Union that largely excluded blacks from political House of Lords, and ethnic politics were not
franchise. (In the Cape, some African and entirely absent. In Natal, A. W. G. CHAMPION
COLOURED males could vote as part of a qualified forged ties between the ICU and ANC, but the
franchise.) Provincial congresses had emerged ANC in Natal was split. There also were rival
over the previous decade, and, in 1912, these were branches in the Cape Province, with Western Cape
united under the leadership of JOHN DUBE (presi- ANC president James Thaele espousing radical
dent) and SOLOMON PLAATJE (secretary). Founder GARVEYISM and James Calata in the Eastern Cape
Seme, who was partly influenced by his studies in pursuing a moderate path. Nationally, the ANC
the United States at Columbia University where remained weak and lacked strong media outlets.
he gained some appreciation of the US structures The Transvaal ANC’s organ, Abantu-Batho,
of government, notably Congress, emphasized became the national medium but was defunct by
national unity over ethnic-regional divisions, and the early 1930s, and the ANC never developed a
this remained a central policy. strong, permanent newspaper.
The period of ANC formation saw diverse In its first three decades, the ANC remained
ideological currents among Africans: from Chris- small, with limited mass appeal. Provincial struc-
tianity, British empire loyalism, and liberalism to tures were loosely structured and poorly financed.
nascent AFRICAN NATIONALISM; the ANC did not Estimates of nationwide membership vary from
adopt the latter until the 1940s, but its influence 1,000 to 4,000 in the interwar years, though an
gradually spread. The nature of power in a white interlocking of membership with grassroots, com-
settler society created a deeply ambiguous context munity-based Advisory and Vigilance associa-
in which African political culture developed. ANC tions gave it wider, indirect support. Nevertheless,
leaders were largely drawn from the mission- the ANC lacked a mass membership. Leaders
educated, Christianized black elite. However, were overwhelmingly male and middle class, and
given the nature of settler rule, this was a power- women lacked full membership rights before
less elite, and the ANC had to seek support from a 1943. Yet, some activists remained deeply con-
wide range of social strata. cerned at the harsh conditions of most Africans,
The early ANC had a checkered history. In its while the Bantu Women’s League (founded in
first decade, it was clearly the major African polit- 1918, which in 1948 became the ANC Women’s
ical organization, submitting petitions against the League) under Charlotte Maxeke worked with
NATIVES’ LAND ACT OF 1913 and other discrimina- some ANC leaders, though it did not affiliate with
tory legislation, with Plaatje as an eloquent publi- the ANC until 1931.
cist, and sending delegations to Britain in a vain In the mid-1930s, African politics were
but principled appeal for intervention. From 1918 reignited by the discriminatory J. B. M. HERTZOG
to 1920, the Transvaal branch supported mass Bills. By the end of the decade, the ANC began to
worker and anti–PASS LAWS demonstrations. This reorganize under Secretary Calata. In December
radicalism came to an end in the 1920s when the 1940, the ANC elected A. B. Xuma as president. In
ANC was eclipsed by the populist INDUSTRIAL AND addition to espousing African nationalist and lib-
COMMERCIAL WORKERS UNION (ICU), while ANC eral philosophies, Xuma oversaw the ANC’s steady
members diverted energy into the liberal Joint growth to a more centralized, financially viable
Councils, largely white-initiated and -dominated body. Membership grew from 1,000 in the 1930s to
4 African National Congress

5,500 by 1947. Xuma’s reforms included abolition Christian and a firm proponent of the African
of the elitist Upper House and equality for women, nationalist and liberal ideas of an ANC that
confirmed in a new 1943 ANC constitution and the emphasized majority rule by constitutional
1948 formation of the AFRICAN NATIONAL CON- means. This peaceful avenue, however, was
GRESS WOMEN’S LEAGUE. Xuma led a committee closed when the government banned the ANC in
that coauthored Africans’ Claims in South Africa 1960, leading it to resort to armed struggle and
(1943), calling for African self-determination. He exile.
forged an alliance with the SOUTH AFRICAN INDIAN
CONGRESS, and ties with African labor unions were Exile Years (1960–1990)
strengthened by the work of ANC communists such After the ANC’s outlawing in 1960, Mandela and
as J. B. Marks and Moses Kotane. communist leader JOE SLOVO founded Umkhonto
we Sizwe (translated as Spear of the Nation and
Years of Growth and Protest (1940–1960) also referred to as MK), the people’s army. MK
The growth of African nationalism was seen in the was an integral part of the liberation movement
1944 formation by ANTON LEMBEDE, WALTER led by the ANC but technically separate due to
SISULU, NELSON MANDELA, and OLIVER TAMBO of risk of repression. Following the arrest of much of
the AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS YOUTH LEAGUE, the ANC leadership and their banishment after the
which undermined Xuma’s moderate position after RIVONIA TRIAL to ROBBEN ISLAND, the focus of
the NATIONAL PARTY’s victory in the 1948 elections, ANC’s work shifted to exile. This does not mean
and its brutal promotion of APARTHEID pushed the it ceased to have influence inside South Africa—
ANC to adopt in 1949 a radical Program of Action on Robben Island, Mandela, GOVAN MBEKI, and
endorsing direct action by boycotts and strikes. other ANC leaders educated a new generation of
The DEFIANCE CAMPAIGNS of the 1950s saw freedom fighters from the 1976 SOWETO STUDENT
the ANC develop into a mass movement; the 1952 UPRISING who were sent to the island, and under-
protests boosted numbers from 20,000 to 100,000. ground structures persisted—but the ANC was
Now, its constituency was truly national with now illegal, as its machine was smashed. The vac-
great strength among urban workers, as in PORT uum in black politics was filled in the late 1960s
ELIZABETH. The ANC supported campaigns and 1970s by the BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS MOVE-
against forced removals of blacks from areas des- MENT and labor unions, and in the 1980s by the
ignated for whites and BANTU EDUCATION, if inef- UNITED DEMOCRATIC FRONT (UDF), which aligned
fectively. Mandela emerged as the powerhouse with the ANC.
behind the campaigns, and, with African libera- MK continued to operate, now from exile.
tion on the continent imminent, the ANC was Sabotage of the early 1960s directed primarily
buoyed, posing a real challenge to PRETORIA, against apartheid military sites and strategic eco-
which intensified repression. The ANC fought nomic and energy positions developed into wider
back by forging the Congress Alliance with military campaigns from forward bases in the
INDIAN, coloured, and white progressives and, in FRONTLINE STATES. In 1982, the ANC was pres-
1955, by hosting the Congress of the People that sured to leave Mozambique, which had been a
adopted the FREEDOM CHARTER to embody aspira- main base of operations for them, but MK contin-
tions of all South Africans; it became a central ued to implement effective special operations,
ANC policy document. These wider alliances notably symbolic attacks on the headquarters of
prompted a 1959 split spawning the PAN AFRICAN- Pretoria’s army and the Sasol oil refinery. The
IST CONGRESS. The state continued to harass ANC ANC, however, continued to view armed struggle
leaders, many of whom were on trial from 1956 to as only one pillar of a strategy that also included
1961 in the TREASON TRIAL. politics and international solidarity.
For much of the 1950s, ALBERT LUTHULI was Tambo became the chief leader in exile as the
the ANC president. The first African awarded the ANC constructed important bases in the Front-
Nobel Peace Prize, he remained a committed line States, notably Tanzania and Zambia, and in
African National Congress 5

Mozambique after 1975. A major ANC office was and effectively reestablished its structures inside
located in Britain, which hosted a significant the country, successfully navigating a complex
number of exiles. The ANC launched a major and dangerous transition period fraught with
diplomatic initiative by opening offices from political violence from the state and from political
India and the United States to the Pacific. Many rivals such as INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY (IFP), as
leaders were prominent in diplomatic and solidar- seen in the 1992 Boipatong Massacre, for
ity work. In the 1960s, important foundation work instance, where IFP members attacked the resi-
was done by Tambo and Robert Resha, with ANC dent of an informal settlement south of Johannes-
publications such as Sechaba founded to unite and burg, killing forty-five people. Eager to open up
educate widely dispersed members. Others active space for negotiations, the ANC suspended armed
in exile included Johnny Makatini in New York, struggles in mid-1990, encouraged lifting of
ANC India chief representative Mendi Msimang, sports sanctions banning South African athletes
Edwin Funde in Australasia, writer ALEX LA and sports teams from competing in international
GUMA in Cuba, Alfred Nzo, Ruth Mompati, and competitions, and entered negotiations in 1991. In
In Tanzania, the ANC’s Solomon Mahlangu (CODESA) negotiations, the ANC succeeded in
Freedom College educated the 1976 SOWETO STU- gaining agreement for democratic elections,
DENT UPRISING youth streaming out of South which it won convincingly in 1994 (receiving
Africa. The ANC in exile worked closely with the 62.6 percent of the vote) and again in 1999, 2004,
South African Congress of Trade Unions and recre- and 2009—so much so that commentators were
ated its military, women’s, youth, and religious worried that the ANC’s transition from a libera-
structures through the work of people such as tion movement to a more conventional political
Slovo, Andrew Masondo, Mavis Nhlapo, Gertrude party had been accompanied by shift to a “one-
Shope, and Father Michael Lapsley. After the party dominant party” situation. This electoral
ANC’s 1969 Morogoro Conference, whites were dominance was underlined when the ANC later
permitted to join the ANC, with Slovo serving on won provincial elections in KwaZulu-Natal and
its Revolutionary Council and other progressive the Western Cape, taking over seats previously
whites, including Jack Simons, Ray Alexander, and held by other parties. The ANC’s return from exile
Albie Sachs, prominent in exile structures. also saw tensions with ex-UDF forces over the
Exile was a lonely, isolating experience, level of democratic inner-party practices.
accompanied by assassinations orchestrated by The Mandela administration (1994–1999)
Pretoria (Joe Gqabi in Harare and Dulcie Septem- achieved impressive advances in reconciliation,
ber in Paris) and occasional dissent, as in MK housing, electrification of black townships, and
camps in Angola. The ANC sought to overcome economic stability. Mandela endorsed the TRUTH
the alienation of exile by creating cultural forma- AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION, formed in
tions such as the musical troupe Amandla! By the 1995, as a way to heal a nation divided under
mid-1980s, the ANC’s diplomatic strategy was apartheid. Yet, while apartheid was dead, elements
working, with sectors of white South African soci- of its socioeconomic legacy persisted to limit the
ety willing to negotiate and more countries recog- impact of ANC policies. Government sought first
nizing the ANC as a legitimate representative of to boost domestic accumulation and social equal-
the South African people rather than Pretoria. The ity in the RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT
ANC had become a government-in-waiting. PROGRAM but, in 1997, jettisoned its prosocialist
policies to introduce the capital-friendly GROWTH,
With financial sanctions biting, the Cold War THABO MBEKI’s administration (1999–2008)
over, and intense internal opposition, the apart- continued Mandela’s economic policies but also
heid regime unbanned the ANC and released failed to solve high black unemployment and
Mandela in February of 1990. The ANC quickly inequality. Mbeki adopted a controversial and
6 African National Congress

widely derided position on HIV/AIDS, avoiding ERNMENTSTRUCTURES; NELSON MANDELA; THABO
proven medical treatment. Like Mandela, Mbeki MBEKI; SOL PLAATJE; OLIVER TAMBO; JACOB
played an active role in African affairs, including ZUMA
conflict resolution. He encouraged black pride
through the concept of AFRICAN RENAISSANCE and Bibliography
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Youth League and the ANC Women’s League
Africa: Zebra Press, 2005.
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Holland, Heidi. The Struggle: A History of the
with the CONGRESS OF SOUTH AFRICAN TRADE African National Congress. New York:
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vols. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press,
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1959. In 2009 elections, COPE had difficulty 1945. Johannesburg, South Africa: Ravan, 1983.
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7.4 percent of the vote, and while the ANC’s biography of Nelson Mandela. Boston: Little,
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only 2.1 percent, and with some areas reporting Meli, Francis. A History of the ANC: South Africa
Belongs to Us. Bloomington: Indiana Univer-
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Odendaal, André. Vukani Bantu! The Beginning of
major policy changes. The government continues Black Protest Politics in South Africa to 1912.
to struggle to find solutions to massive deindustri- Cape Town, South Africa: David Philip, 1984.
alization and unemployment—the economy Rantete, Johannes. The African National Congress
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World Cup—as well as rising xenophobia and dis- Pretoria, South Africa: Van Schaik, 1998.
satisfaction over the slow pace of land reform. Suttner, Raymond, and Jeremy Cronin. 30 Years of
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standing achievements, not least of which are the Walshe, Peter. The Rise of African Nationalism in
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1912–1952. Berkeley: University of California
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