“…I feel I am an animal in South Africa”-Oliver Tambo
Have You Heard from Johannesburg Part 2 spoke a lot about Oliver Tambo and his efforts in the anti-apartheid movement. This man put his life on the line for his country and the millions of people he was working towards free. The South African government saw Tambo as such a threat, that they convinced people that he was a terrorist and a communist.
As a result of these claims, Tambo was forced out of South Africa and would remain in exile for 30 years. Tambo was able to mobilize the international anti-apartheid movement and put the ANC on the map. At the same time Oliver Tambo went into exile, many things were happening throughout the world that helped Tambo and the ANC’s cause.
In 1960, several events occurred in Africa and throughout the world. In March 1960, the Sharpeville Massacre moved the whole country in support of those who were killed. Also, 17 African countries gained their independence. Ultimately, the 1960s marked a time of idealism.
During a United Nations meeting, Ghana, Morocco, and the Philippines proposed a protected boycott of the Republic of South Africa, which would boycott all goods and refrain from export there. However, this resolution could easily be vetoed by any one of the western powers on the Security Council. This is exactly what the United States did. The US opposed the resolution because the boycott would be “impractical and illegal.”
The lack of support from the United States and other governments discouraged me. The United Nations is supposed to be the guardian of freedom, so why did the UN seem to abandon South Africa and the ANC? People wonder why bad things happen and why they keep happening; events like the Holocaust, Rwandan Genocide, and Apartheid.
It’s because people let them happen.
All of these terrible events were prolonged because of the lack of support from the world. Imagine the amount of lives that would have been saved if the world acted sooner.
The communist Soviet Union played a role in the struggle of apartheid. In 1963, Oliver Tambo arrived in Moscow and asked the Soviets for weapons, military training, supplies, and support for training bases in South Africa. Tambo got it all within months. The South African government used this and convinced other countries that the ANC was in fact, a communist group. This was one reason the United States did not support the ANC. The US feared communists. People suspected of being communists were assassinated with the help of the CIA. This shows how easily people are persuaded and unwilling to learn the truth.
Sweden played a huge role in helping the ANC. Olof Palme stood up for his and neutral Sweden’s right to criticize Washington and any other western power. He gave financial support to Tambo and the ANC. The Swedish writer, Per Wästberg, was the first writer from Sweden that went to South Africa. He was unprepared for the evilness of racism, and left his fiction and poetry to write about South Africa.
Throughout this documentary, I constantly thought about the lack of help the ANC received, especially from the United States. It made me angry to think that the government I live by could turn their heads on something the country had just overcome itself.