Twenty years of exile had come and gone and still South Africa remained divided with Apartheid being an all too present factor in black South African’s lives. Even after an arms embargo, worldwide sports boycott and economic sanctions threat, apartheid still persisted. It appeared as though the ANC and other international groups had exhausted all avenues to end apartheid with little success.
P.W. Botha, the prime minister of South Africa, recognized a breaking point was near and if South Africa didn’t adapt to their kaleidoscope of diversities they would soon be forced to the edge by other nations. Whites in South Africa are African natives but they associate themselves with the surrounding white world creating an internal tug-of-war to fit the expectations presented by both facets of their lives. In trying to appeal to the white world and appease the constant push from the Western world South Africa voted to create a three chamber parliament aimed at showing their new found acceptance of their nation’s diversity. Though this plan included attempts to impress the western world, their world tour to announce the vote fell on deaf ears as black South Africans were excluded from this parliament. It soon became clear that their attempt was nothing more than a farce to get other countries to stop interfering with their internal problems. The struggle had gone on for far too long and the black citizens of South Africa were no longer willing to take it and no longer willing to stand quietly behind a figurehead.
Freedom is a God given right that shouldn’t be fought for in churches, on factory floors, in trade unions or in homes. Black South Africans were now more ready than ever to take back their own freedom by whatever means necessary. The black citizens began buying their goods only from other black shops taking away the supremacy of the white’s economy. Suddenly the black citizens had the economy on their side and they were taking charge of their own life.
With a surge of communal power flowing through the black community, it was perfect timing for the broadcasting of the voices of ANC leaders to flood the country. Four towers were erected in neighboring countries such as Zambia allowing the radio broadcast to enter South Africa by jamming the airways. Oliver Tambo sent the message that “it was time for the twenty- million black South Africans to join in a determined offensive to make the country ungovernable.” Suddenly it was the black South Africans in the streets fighting for their rights and not being oppressed by the strength of the white government. Fire, smoke, rocks and blood flooded the sounds of the townships as the country was finally brought to its knees in hopes of ending the day to day violence.
The people were no longer willing to listen to the warning and heed to the threats of the nation. A sense of fear was felt among the white community as they knew a revolution was coming and it would be bloody. Bombing began to target major city centers and Prime Minister P.W. Botha was no longer able to remain silent. In a statement urging the black South Africans to stop the fighting or risk destroying white South Africa and drifting into chaos, Botha referred to the black citizens as his friends.
I couldn’t help but feel sudden anger and frustration as this man of great power stood with the audacity to call these people his friends, these people who have been exiled, who have been beaten, who have been killed and who have lost every conceivable human right. How dear he pretend to care about them when he only looks to those citizens in order to get the rest of the world to turn their backs. He cares only about his people, his white people, and not his so called “friends.”
A state of emergency was called as billions of dollars was being thrown at this cause to defend a country against its own people. Army occupied townships were soon fighting grounds of senseless acts of harm against the undefended black citizens. Every week rows of coffins lined the streets filled with the bodies of sons, daughters, mothers, and friends. Such an unnecessary evil spread once again like wild fire through the townships but the citizens did not lie down and take it, they stood to vow to do their best not to let their friends deaths be in vain.