Standing on Street Corners
314 pages
English

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314 pages
English
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Nelson Mandela called the Black Sash, founded in May 1955 to contest legislation that removed coloured South Africans from the common voters' roll in the Cape, the 'conscience of white South Africa'. Adopting a radical critique of the national condition, Sash maintained high-profile protest against iniquitous apartheid legislation through the darkest hours of recent South African history. It also ran advice offices that assisted those disempowered by racist legislation and used the information gathered to support its political campaigns. This book chronicles the history of the Natal Midlands branch based in Pietermaritzburg.  

What was the relevance and legacy of the Black Sash, the women's anti-apartheid organisation, and what did this mean to its members? This book looks specifically at the Natal Midlands (Pietermaritzburg) region and the distinctiveness of its contribution. Like other regions it supported the liberation struggle through public protest and educational campaigns aimed at exposing iniquitous apartheid legislation. In a police state this required considerable determination and courage. During the darkest hours Natal Midlands Sash kept alive hope for universal civil rights in a democratic South Africa. The Pietermaritzburg Advice Office became one of the country's busiest, specialising in old age pension and disability grant issues. Knowledge painstakingly gathered about life for black South Africans was fed back into Sash's political and information campaigns while Natal Midlands produced several significant publications. One of the smaller branches, it punched above its weight. Whether Sash was a political pressure group of women, or a women's organisation challenging patriarchy, it generated lively debate. Environmental issues were also accorded a high priority. Fifteen interviews show that involvement in Sash was a life-enhancing experience for many members who have looked back with pride and honour at their part in the anti-apartheid movement from 1955 to 1994.


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Publié par
Date de parution 08 juin 2015
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781991225641
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 9 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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WHAT WAS ganisation, and what did this mean to its members? This book looks specifically at the Natal Midlands (Pietermaritzburg) region and the distinctiveness of its contribution. Like other regions it supported the liberation struggle through public protest and educational campaigns aimed at exposing iniquitous apartheid legislation. In a police state this required considerable determination and courage. During the darkest hours Natal Midlands Sash kept alive hope for universal civil rights in a democratic South Africa. The Pietermaritzburg Advice Office became one of the country’s busiest, specialising in old age pension and disability grant issues. Knowledge painstakingly gathered about life for black South Africans was fed back into Sash’s political and information campaigns while Natal Midlands produced several significant publications. One of the smaller branches, it punched above its weight. Whether Sash was a political pressure group of women, or a women’s organisation challenging patriarchy, generated lively debate. Environmental issues were also accorded a high priority. for many members who have looked back with pride and honour at their part in the anti-apartheid movement from 1955 to 1994.
Mary Kleinenberg was born and educated in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia). She lived in Malawi and England before settling in Pietermaritzburg in the seventies. Appalled
excluded most of the population and consistently
humanity she volunteered in the Pietermaritzburg Advice Office and became a member of Black Sash, eventually chairing the Natal Midlands region and Advice Office committee. She remains a trustee of the Black Sash Trust; and is an advocate of women’s rights, being a founder member of Pietermaritzburg Rape Crisis.
Christopher Merrett
in the West Indies
South Africa for the past four decades.
librarian to university
journalism and now freelance editing and indexing. He was involved in non-racial cricket and detainee support work in 1980s and much of his writing covers human rights issues, especially censorship. He has a PhD in History from the University of Cape Town and is currently engaged in researching aspects of the recent history and politics of Pietermaritzburg.
STANDING ON STREET CORNERS STANDING ON STREET CORNERS
A history of the Natal Midlands region of the Black Sash
Mary Kleinenberg and Christopher Merrett
Mary Kleinenberg and Christopher Merrett
STANDING ON STREET CORNERS
A History oF tHe Natal Midlands region oF tHe Black SasH
Mary Kleinenberg and Christopher Merrett with research assistance from Kyla O’Neill
S F
Occasional Publications of the Natal Society Foundation PIETERMARITZBURG 2015
Standing on street corners: A History oF tHe Natal Midlands region oF tHe Black SasH. © Mary Kleinenberg and Christopher Merrett 2015
First published in 2015 in Pietermaritzburg by the Trustees of The Natal Society Foundation under its imprint ‘Occasional Publications of The Natal Society Foundation’.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without reference to the publishers, the Trustees of The Natal Society Foundation.
Natal Society Foundation website: http://www.natalia.org.za/
ISBN 978-0-9921766-1-7
Design & layout: Jo Marwick Photographs are from the archives of the Natal Midlands Black Sash
THis book was written in admiration oF every coUrageoUs woman wHo took a stand by joining tHe Black SasH. It is dedicated in particUlar to tHe memory oF FoUr notable Natal Midlands women: Maimie Corrigall For Her tenacity and determination in keeping tHe region going, especially in tHe seventies; Marie Dyer, wHo played a leading role in tHe region For Forty years and wHose letters to tHe press still give meaning to tHe times; BUsi Nyide, wHo For twenty-îve years patiently listened to and advised hundreds of people who came to the Pietermaritzburg Advice Ofîce for help, establishing vital links witH tHe commUnity; and Pat Merrett wHose steadFast perseverance as convenor of the Advice Ofîce ensured its survival.
Maimie Corrigall
BUsi (Victoria) Nyide
Marie Dyer
Pat Merrett
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5
CONTENTS The conscience of white South Africa .................................. 1 Women of courage: the îrst decade, 1955−1964................. 25
Finding a focus: the second decade, 1965−1974................. 51 The years of uprising: the third decade, 1975−1984............ 69 Intensiîed oppression: the fourth decade,1985−1994, part 1................................................................. 97
Chapter 6 Final stages: the fourth decade, 1985−1994, part 2............. 139 Chapter 7 Serving the people: the Advice Ofîce, 1975−1983............. 175 Chapter 8 In a State of Emergency: the Advice Ofîce, 1984−1989..... 195 Chapter 9 Moving towards liberation: the Advice Ofîce,1990−1994............................................................................ 217 Chapter 10 Cruel beyond description: old age pensions and disability grants .................................................................... 235 Chapter 11 In retrospect: conclusions and overview .............................. 261 Appendix Members of the Natal Midlands Black Sash ........................ 267 Interviews and interviewers ...................................................................... 275
Bibliography ............................................................................................. 281
Index ......................................................................................................... 287
AFRA ANC AO APC CCB COSATU CRL DAB DESCOM DG ECC FEDSAW FEDSEM FFF FOSATU GPEC HNP HP IMSSA LRC MC MCRF MDM MIGPF MK MP NAPAC NCA NCAR NCW NGO NIM NLC NMBS NMCC NNLA NPA NSFT NUMSA NUSAS NW
ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
Association for Rural Advancement African National Congress Advice Ofîce Alan Paton Centre Civil Co-operation Bureau Congress of South African Trade Unions Civil Rights League Drakensberg Administration Board Detainees Support Committee disability grant End Conscription Campaign Federation of South African Women Federal Theological Seminary Five Freedoms Forum Federation of South African Trade Unions Greater Pietermaritzburg Environmental Coalition Herstigte Nasionale Party hire purchase Independent Mediation Service of South Africa Legal Resources Centre management committee Midlands Crisis Relief Fund Mass Democratic Movement Metal Industries Group Pension Fund Umkhonto we Sizwe member of parliament Natal Performing Arts Council Natal Citizens Association National Committee Against Removals National Council of Women non-governmental organisation Network of Independent Monitors National Land Committee Natal Midlands Black Sash Natal Midlands Crisis Committee Northern Natal Landowners Association Natal Provincial Administration Natal Society Foundation Trust National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa National Union of South African Students Natal Witness
OAP PAC PACSA PDA REAP RRSSABC SACC SACC SACOS SADF SADWU SAIRR SAR SMTRAC UDF UIF WC WDCL YMCA
old age pension Pan Africanist Congress Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness Pietermaritzburg Democratic Association Rape Education Action Project Race Relations SUrvey South African Broadcasting Corporation South African Christian Council South African Council of Churches South African Council on Sport South African Defence Force South African Domestic Workers Union South African Institute of Race Relations South African Railways SasH Magazine Transvaal Rural Action Committee United Democratic Front Unemployment Insurance Fund workmen’s compensation Womens Defence of the Constitution League Young Mens Christian Association
PREFACE
The South African Left was full of highly productive writers and a source of several long-lived journal titles. Given the political priorities of the time, these were not always of a consistently high bibliographic standard. The titles of two journals frequently cited in this book, published by the Black Sash and the South African Institute of Race Relations respectively, varied with time. For the sake of consistency they have been standardised asSasH Magazine andRace Relations SUrvey(the îrst confusingly started and ended life asTHe Black SasH/Die Swart SerpandSasHin 1955 and 1995 respectively; while the second changed its name fromSUrvey oF Race Relationsin 1978). Although this book is well referenced, it has been decided not to indulge in great detail where primary material is concerned. Archival sources used at the Alan Paton Centre (APC) were the John Aitchison papers (PC 14) and the Natal Midlands Black Sash papers (PC4), which include a selection of Advice Ofîce case îles from the mid- to late 1980s. Interviews now lodged with the oral history collection at the APC are separately listed with details of interviewees and interviewers. Thanks are due to the staff of the APC for access to key archival collections. However, the research planned by Kyla O’Neill was severely hampered by refusal of a very reasonable request based on past principle and practice of the national archives that boxes of case îles be transported on the University of KwaZulu-Natal van for use under supervision at a venue within the university library system in Durban. This book is the poorer for that decision. The Natal Society Foundation Trust (NSFT) gave a modest grant to Kyla that allowed her to travel to Pietermaritzburg and stay long enough to complete a substantial amount of research on the Advice Ofîce that has contributed signiîcantly to this volume. We thank Julie Parle for connecting Kyla with the project. The NSFT is to be commended for the unwavering support it has given to this book and its general backing to the publication of historical research relating to KwaZulu-Natal that would be considered unviable by commercial and academic publishers. We thank all members of Sash who agreed to be interviewed for this book and those who conducted the interviews. Alleyn Diesel read some of the îrst draft, took many of the photographs and contributed valuable ideas and support and Peter Croeser checked the text. Their contributions are acknowledged with gratitude. We are also grateful to staff of the Bessie Head Library’s reference section for help in locating old newspapers; and to Shelagh and Brian
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