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General
Strike

The call
of the All-in African National Action Council for a stay-at-home on 29, 30 and
31 May 1961 received solid and massive support throughout the country. This
magnificent response was the result of the hard work and selfless devotion of
our organisers and activists who had to overcome formidable difficulties very
often involving personal risks to themselves. Defying unprecedented
intimidation by the State, trailed and hounded by the Special Branch, denied
the right to hold meetings, operating in areas heavily patrolled by government
and municipal police and teeming with spies and informers, they stood firm as a
rock and spread the stay-at-home message to millions of people throughout the
country. Ever since the All-in African Conference at Pietermaritzburg, the
issue that dominated South African politics and that attracted pressmen from
all over the world was not the Republican celebrations organised by the
government, but the stirring campaign of the African people and other non-White
sections to mark our rejection of a White Republic forcibly imposed upon us by
a minority.

Few
political organisations could have succeeded in conducting such a stubborn and
relentless campaign under conditions which, for all practical purposes,
amounted to martial law. But we did so. The steps taken by the government to
suppress the campaign were a measure of our strength and influence in the
political life of the country and of its weakness. The government was alarmed
by the tremendous impact of the demand for a national convention and the call
for countrywide anti-Republican demonstrations. It realised that there would be
overwhelming support for the call if the campaign was not immediately
suppressed through open terror and intimidation. It also realised that the
organisational machine built up to propagate the campaign was of so high a
standard, and support for the idea so firm and widespread, that the situation
could only be controlled by resorting to naked force. Only by mobilising the
entire resources of the State could the government hope to stem the tide that
was running so strongly against it.

A special
law2 had to be rushed through parliament
to enable the government to detain without trial people connected with the
organisation of the stay-at-home. The army had to be called out, European
civilians armed, and the police force deployed in African townships and other
areas. Meetings were banned throughout the country, and the local authorities,
in collaboration with the police-force, kept vigil to ensure that no strike
propaganda should be spread amongst the masses of the people. More than ten
thousand innocent Africans were arrested and jailed under the pass laws and
terror and intimidation became widespread. Only by adopting these strong-arm
measures could the government hope to break the stay-at-home. By resorting to
these drastic steps the government has in fact conceded that we are the
country’s most powerful and dangerous opponents to its hated policies.

On this
issue, the radio, the press, and European employers played a thoroughly
shameful role. At the beginning of the campaign the press gave us fairly
objective coverage and, acting on information supplied by their own reporters
in different parts of the country, they reported growing support for the
demonstrations and correctly predicted unprecedented response to the call.
Until a week or so before the stay-at-home, the South African press endeavoured
to live up to the standards and ethics of honest journalism and reported news
items as they were without slants and distortions. But as soon as the
government showed the mailed fist and threatened action against those
newspapers that gave publicity to the campaign, the Opposition press, true to
tradition, beat a hurried retreat and threw all principles and ethical
standards overboard.

On 18 May
1961, the Johannesburg Rand Daily Mail published a front-page news item
alleging that the National Action Council had secret plans to bring thousands
of non-whites into the central areas of cities. It also announced that the NAC
had held a secret meeting the week before at which it decided to extend the
duration of the stay-at-home beyond the three-day period. According to the same
report, the announcement of the extension of the period would be made at the
last moment to retain the element of surprise. In a front-page leading article
of the same issue of this newspaper its editor stated that he and the police
possessed information that some of us planned violent disturbances on the eve
of the Republic.

On behalf
of the NAC I immediately replied in writing and refuted all the allegations
contained in the news item as sensational journalism and as the inventions of
an over-enthusiastic reporter who had sucked things out of his thumbs. We
reiterated that this particular campaign was planned to be disciplined and
non-violent and that we had no intention whatsoever of exposing our unarmed
people to situations whereby they could become targets for the trigger-happy
police. In regard to the leading article, we agreed that violence was an
unfortunate thing. We felt, however, that appeals for non-violence should be
addressed to the government who were spoiling for a showdown and massacre and
not to the African people who had repeatedly protested the peaceful and
non-violent character of their campaign. We also felt it to be our duty to
place on record that, if people in history had listened to appeals to drop
political campaigns launched to back up the demands of an oppressed people
simply because violence might occur in the course of such a campaign, the world
today would still be languishing under the despotic rule of the Middle Ages.
Although honour and duty obliged him to publish my reply the editor deliberately
decided to suppress it. I spoke to him twice thereafter and, although he
promised to attend to the matter, the reply never saw the light of day. We
suspected that more was involved than met the eye.

In the
evening of 29 May 1961, I made a statement to the same newspaper. I pointed out
that in the light of the conditions that prevailed then, the response to the
call of the NAC had been solid and substantial and that hundreds of thousands
of our people had stayed away from work. I pointed out, however, that the
overall response had fallen short of expectations and that we had,
consequently, given instructions to our regional and local Action Committees
throughout the country to swing into action and to work hard during the night
to ensure greater success the following day. This statement was distorted to
give the impression that we had conceded defeat and, in this distorted form, it
was distributed by the Rand Daily Mail to other morning newspapers
throughout the country-a deliberate act of sabotage.

This sudden
somersault was not confined to the Rand Daily Mail only. With the
exception of Contact, Post, New Age, Drum, the World3 and a few other newspapers, the
Opposition press changed suddenly and simultaneously.

Undue
prominence was given to statements made by government leaders, mayors of
cities, managers of Non-European Affairs departments, and by employers’
organisations, in which the stay-at-home was condemned and appeals made to
workers to ignore the call. Statements made by the NAC were either distorted,
watered down, or even suppressed deliberately. For example, on 20 May 1961 the
NAC issued a press statement strongly protesting at the unwarranted arrest of
more than ten thousand innocent Africans. We condemned this police action as a
blatant persecution of our voteless people by a European minority which we
could no longer tolerate. We placed on record that we were deeply incensed by
this provocative action and demanded the immediate stopping of the arrests and
the unconditional release of all those detained. Not a single Opposition
newspaper published this statement, notwithstanding the extensive publicity
they gave this police operation and the unwarranted compliment they paid to the
same police for the courteous manner in which they were alleged to have carried
out the operation. These arrests were made for the purpose of forestalling
demonstrations planned by us. We had gone through numerous road blocks in
various parts of the country, and it was our people who had been rounded up
under a system which is rejected by the entire African nation, and which has
been condemned by every government commission which considered it. Was it not
important for the country to know what our views were on a matter of such
importance?

The press
was even more treacherous on the morning of the first day of the stay-at-home.
The deliberate falsehoods spread by the police and radio were reproduced. At
seven o’clock in the morning of that day, Radio South Africa broadcast news
that workers throughout the country had ignored the call for a stay-at-home.
The country was told that this news was based on statements made at six o’clock
the same morning by Colonel Spengler, head of the Witwatersrand branch of the
Special Branch. Similar statements made at approximately the same time by other
police officers in different parts of the country were quoted. This means that
long before the factory gates were opened and, in some areas, even before the
workers boarded their trains and buses to work, the police had already
announced that the stay-at-home had collapsed. I cannot imagine anything more
fraudulent.

The Rand
Daily Mail issued a special edition in which it almost echoed police
reports. But the truth could not be suppressed for long. The Johannesburg Star
of the same day reported that ‘Early estimates of absenteeism in Johannesburg
ranged from 40 per cent to 75 per cent.’ This admission was only a small
portion of the truth. As the days rolled by, news came through that hundreds of
thousands of workers and students throughout the country had given massive
support to the call. On 3 June 1961, Post, a Johannesburg Sunday newspaper with
a huge circulation, published reports from its team of crack reporters and
photographers who had kept a continuous watch on townships in different parts
of South Africa and who conducted detailed personal investigations inside and
outside of these areas. Said the newspaper: ‘Many thousands of workers
registered their protest against the Republic and the Government’s refusal to
cooperate with non-Whites. THEY DID NOT GO TO WORK. They disrupted much of
South African commerce and industry. Some factories worked with skeleton
staffs, others closed, and many other businesses were shut down for the three
days.’ The leading article of the New Age4 of 8 June 1961 acclaimed the
stay-at-home as the most widespread general strike on a national scale that
this country had ever seen.

Contact4 of 1 June 1961 wrote: ‘On Tuesday
50 per cent of Indian workers in Durban were still out. Some factories showed
100 per cent success with some clothing factories 100 per cent unattended. In
Durban and Pietermaritzburg most Indian businesses were closed on Monday and
open again on Tuesday. Large numbers of schoolchildren kept away from school.
There were attacks on buses at Cato Manor and a bus to Pietermaritzburg from a
Reserve was fired on.’ Sam Sly, writing in the same paper on 15 June 1961,
observed: ‘In defiance of that sickening and sterile rule, there were plenty of
politics on plenty of campuses. Enough to bring large bands of armed police to
five campuses. There was defiance, leadership, and courage amongst the
students. There was political awareness, even non-racial solidarity. Before,
what had one heard but minority protests lost among the sounds of the
inter-varsity rugby crowd or the chatter in the students’ cafeteria.’

A Port
Elizabeth daily newspaper estimated that about 75 per cent of that city’s
non-White population stayed away on 30 May 1961.

The truth
had come out. From various parts of the country news came through testifying to
widespread support for the call.

Students
at the University College of Fort Hare, at Healdtown and Lovedale all stayed
away from classes. At the University of Natal, which has about five hundred
non-White students, less than fifty attended classes. Throughout the country
thousands of students in primary and secondary schools stayed away from classes
and boycotted republican celebrations. The Transkeian Territories have been
under martial law for many months now.5 The barbarous and cruel policies of
the Nationalist Government find expression in extremely savage attacks on the
innocent and unarmed people of these areas. Many have been murdered by the
government and their stooges, thousands have been beaten up and injured,
uprooted and driven away from their lands and homes. Hundreds of freedom
fighters are languishing in jails for demanding freedom and justice for the
people of the Transkei. Even in this area of death and hell, the flames of
freedom are scorching meadows. Umtata, the capital of the area, bore witness to
this fact the other day. Students of St John’s College, in a militant and
inspiring demonstration, showed that the days of despots and tyrants are
numbered.

A detailed
survey conducted by the South African Congress of Trade Unions shows that in
Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and other centres, the
clothing, textile, laundry and dry-cleaning, food and canning, and furniture
industries were severely hit.

In the
light of the conditions that prevailed both before and during the three day
strike, the response from our people was magnificent indeed. The failure of the
government, the employers, and the press to break us down pays tribute to the
matchless courage and determination of our people and to the skilful and speedy
manner in which our organisational machine was able to adapt itself to new
conditions, new obstacles, new dangers.

Tuesday 14 June 2011 12:35

The leading article of the New Age of 8 June 1961 acclaimed the stay-at-home as the most widespread general strike on a national scale that this country had ever seen.

The
stay-at-home was also opposed by former members6 of the Pan-Africanist Congress
(PAC), the Society of Young Africa and the Sons of Zululand. The name of Peter
Makhene was also mentioned. He was described as leader of the Bantu National
Congress and claimed a membership of fifty thousand. The newspaper that
published his statement made it clear that this gentleman is a supporter of the
government and its policies. It is, therefore, part of his functions to sell
apartheid to Africans. He is compelled to oppose all political organisations
which fight for the defeat of the Verwoerd fascist republic. But what we want
to know is where and when was this organisation established. Has it any
constitution? Who are its officials? Has it had any conferences or meetings? If
so, when and where? People will be excused if they feel that this organisation
went underground long before it was established. It simply does not exist.

The Sons
of Zululand and the Society of Young Africa are not genuine organisations but cliques
and sects which are completely unknown to Africans and which have never had any
following whatsoever amongst our people.

The
Society of Young Africa (or SOYA), like its parent body the Unity Movement from
which it broke away a few years ago, is an insignificant sect of bitter and
frustrated intellectuals who have completely lost confidence in themselves, who
have no political ambitions whatsoever and who abhor serious political
struggle. In the whole history of their existence they have never found it
possible to rise above the level of saboteurs and scandal mongers. Together
with the Peter Makhenes and the Sons of Zululand they invariably disappear from
the political scene and suddenly come to light fighting side by side with the
police to oppose the just struggles of the African people. Africans know who
their friends and enemies are and these cliques are treated throughout the
country with the contempt they deserve. No useful purpose will be served by
wasting more ink and paper on bogus organisations which, under the pretext of
ultra-revolutionary language, permit themselves to be used by the police
against the struggles of their kith and kin.

The
attitude of former members of the PAC on the stay-at-home has been one of
shocking contradiction and amazing confusion. Nothing has been more disastrous
to themselves than their pathetic attempts to sabotage the demonstrations.

First,
they attended the Consultative Conference of African leaders held in Orlando in
December 1960 as delegates, took part in the deliberations and fully supported
the resolution adopted at that conference calling for unity amongst Africans
and for a multi-racial national convention. At this conference a Continuation
Committee was elected to prepare for the All-in African Conference which was
subsequently held at Pietermaritzburg. Their representative served on this
committee for several months with full knowledge that its main function was to
unite all Africans on an anti-Republican front and for a sovereign convention
of all South Africans to draw up a new democratic constitution for the country.
Towards the end of February this year, and without so much as a hint to their
colleagues on the Continuation Committee, they issued a press statement
announcing that they would not take part in the Pietermaritzburg talks. Their
failure to raise the matter in the committee before they withdrew betrays the
underhand and traitorous nature of this manoeuvre and indicates that they well
knew that they could find no political justification whatsoever for their
action.

Secondly,
there was a sharp conflict between former leaders of the PAC on the South
African United Front overseas, and the local leaders. Whilst the latter
opposed, the former gave support. A message from Dar-es-Salaam, signed by J J
Hadebe and Gaur Radebe, former members of the ANC and PAC respectively, said:

‘The South
African United Front congratulates the Continuation Committee of the people’s
conference held at Pietermaritzburg for organising demonstrations on the eve of
the South African Republic which threatens to further oppress and persecute the
people.’

Even
locally there were many former PAC people who bitterly disagreed with their
leaders and who felt that they could not follow the stupid and disastrous
blunders they were advocating.

But there
was something even more disastrous and tragic than their mean and cowardly
behaviour in stabbing their kith and kin at a time when maximum unity had
become a matter of life and death to Africans. What shocked most people was the
extent to which they completely identified themselves with the action of the
police in the repression of the demonstrations. We have already indicated the unprecedented
measures adopted by the government to deal with our campaign. These measures
provoked strong protests from many organisations and individuals, but there was
not a single word of protest from the former PAC people. Why? Precisely because
their main function was to ruin African unity and to break the strike. To
protest against these savage onslaughts on the African people would have been
an unfriendly act to the government with whom they were now allied. They
purchased collaboration with the government as the price of turning a deaf ear
to the sufferings of the African people.

Authentic
reports from different parts of the country revealed that the police did not
interfere with the distribution of PAC leaflets and, in some areas, members of
the police force even distributed leaflets purporting to have been issued by
the PAC and attacking the strike.

This
collaboration was not confined to negative acts of passivity. In its positive
form it expressed itself in desperate attempts both by the police and the PAC
people to track down the people behind the campaign. For security reasons, the
identity of members of the NAC was kept a closely guarded secret. The police
conducted extensive investigations to find this information in order to arrest
members of this body. At the same time the PAC people called on us to publish
the information and protested that we had to communicate with the press from
public telephone booths. Why were they interested in this information? They
knew all the members of the Continuation Committee. They withdrew from that
committee and from the campaign not because they did not know its members but
in spite of that knowledge. Such information was useless to them because they
were out of the campaign but extremely useful to the police. On which side of
the fence are these people? What sort of political organisation is this that
deliberately sets traps for leaders of another political body? Who are they
trying to bluff by pretending that they are still against the government and
fighting for the welfare of the African people?

Differences
between rival political organisations in the liberation camp on tactical
questions are permissible. But for a political body which purports to be part
of the liberation struggle to pursue a line which objectively supports a
government that suppresses Africans is treacherous and unforgivable. We called
on the African people to reject the Verwoerd republic not because we preferred
a monarchical form of government, but because we felt that the introduction of a
republic should only take place after seeking the views and after obtaining the
express consent of the African people. We felt that the foundations of the
republic, as of the State that existed prior to the proclamation of the
republic, would be based on apartheid and the exploitation of the African
people. The government rejected our demands, called upon the African people to
ignore our call and to participate fully in the republican celebrations and to
co-operate with the new government. The Africanists echoed the government by
asking Africans to ignore the call but deliberately elected to remain silent on
the vital question whether or not they should co-operate with the republic. An
ingenious way of saying that we should participate and co-operate.

A political
organisation that is forced by opportunism and petty political rivalries into
allying itself with the enemies of an oppressed community is doomed. The
African people demand freedom and self-rule. They refuse to cooperate with the
Verwoerd republic or with any government based upon force. PAC has ruined its
future by opposing this dynamic demand. That is why most Africans, including
many who once supported them, are so strong in condemning their treachery.

But all
this discussion has now become academic because for all practical purposes the
PAC has lost considerable support even in areas where only last year it
achieved spectacular success. In February this year they announced plans to
stage demonstrations from 21 March 1961.7 Leaflets were issued in Cape Town
and were widely distributed in Langa and Nyanga African townships calling upon
people to stock food and to prepare themselves for action on this date. In
Johannesburg and Vereeniging stickers appeared here and there calling upon
Africans to observe 21 March as the day of struggle. The whole thing fizzled
out long before the much-heralded day, and when the date arrived not a single
person responded either in Cape Town, Vereeniging, or Johannesburg. The episode
was not regarded as sufficiently newsworthy even to be mentioned as a failure
by the press either here or abroad. For the second time in two months they have
suffered yet another defeat. Their efforts to sabotage the recent strike
misfired badly. Hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the country,
businessmen in town and country and thousands upon thousands of students in
primary and secondary schools, treated the PAC with utter contempt and
responded magnificently to our call. The results prove that no power on earth
can stop an oppressed population determined to win its freedom. In the
meantime, the PAC has been shocked and stunned by this rebuff and they sit
licking their wounds, unable to look people in the face and haunted by the
enormity of their outrageous crime.

One of the
most significant factors about the stay-at-home was the wide support it
received from students and the militant and stirring demonstrations it inspired
amongst them. African students at Fort Hare, Natal University, Lovedale,
Healdtown and in many other institutions throughout the country demonstrated
their support for the call and stayed away from lectures. In primary and
secondary schools throughout the country, scholars boycotted republican
celebrations, refused commemoration medals, and stayed away from schools. There
were militant and inspiring demonstrations at St John’s College at Umtata and
at the Botha Sigcau College in the Transkei. There were equally impressive ones
in Kilnerton and Bloemfontein. This is an extremely significant development
because students are the life-blood of a political movement and the upsurge of
national consciousness amongst them spells death and destruction to those who
oppose the claims and legitimate aspirations of the African people.

European
students at the University of Rhodes, and at the Witwatersrand University, also
played a prominent part in the demonstrations. Their support showed that even
amongst the Whites the forces of challenge and opposition to White supremacy
exist and are ready to join battle whenever the call is made.

On 1 June
1961, the NAC issued a press statement strongly condemning the victimisation of
students who participated in the strike and demanded that the tyrannical orders
for the closing of some of the colleges should be withdrawn and the colleges
reopened at once. We congratulated the students for their public spirited
action in which, as befits the intellectual youth, they gave a courageous lead
to the nation at a time when courage and leadership were qualities we needed
most. However much the authorities may try to play down the importance and
significance of this development amongst the African youth, there can be no
doubt that they realise that the writing is on the wall and that the days of
White supremacy in our country are numbered.

The
response of the Coloured people was equally impressive. They showed immense
courage and militancy. In a country where they have always been treated as an
appendage of the ruling White group and in which official policy had tended to
treat them differently from the rest of the non-White population, it is
significant and most heartening that they decided to make common cause with us
by coming out clearly against the Verwoerd republic. This development marks a
landmark in the political struggles of the non-Whites in this country.

The entire
Indian community threw its powerful resources behind the campaign. Indian
workers stayed away from work. Businessmen closed their businesses and students
stayed away from schools and refused medals.

The forces
of liberation are strong and powerful and their numbers are growing. The morale
is high and we look forward to the future with perfect confidence.

It would,
however, be a mistake to exaggerate our success. In spite of the magnificent
courage shown by our people, numerical response fell below expectations.
Mistakes were committed and weaknesses and shortcomings were discovered. They
must be attended to. We must make adjustments in our methods and style of work
to meet contingencies which we did not anticipate. Only in this way shall we
build more strength and increase our striking power.

People
expressed the view that the issue on which the people were asked to strike,
namely, the demand for a national convention, lacked emotional appeal and was,
in any event, too complicated an issue to arouse enthusiasm. Facts contradict
this viewpoint. The success of the Pietermaritzburg conference and the deep and
widespread support for the eve of the Republic demonstrations, testified to not
only by our organisers and activists, but by the South African press, and the
fact that hundreds of thousands of people stayed away from work notwithstanding
fierce intimidation by the government and threats of dismissal by employers,
indicate that this issue aroused the greatest enthusiasm. What reduced the
scope and extent of what would have been an unprecedented response were the
drastic measures taken by the government to suppress the strike, intimidation
by employers, and the falsehoods spread by the radio and the press.

A closely
related argument is that the demand for a national convention does not deal
with bread-and-butter issues. Of course the African people want bread and
butter. Is there anybody who does not? We demand higher wages and we want more
and better food in our pantries. But we also need the vote to legislate decent
laws. This is the importance of the demand for a national convention. One man,
one vote, is the key to our future.

Another
argument is that the strike was called by an ad hoc committee whose members
were unknown to the public, that the voice of Chief A J Lutuli, the most
powerful and popular leader of the African people, and that of the African
National Congress, the sword and shield of the African people for the last
fifty years, were never heard. The argument continues that the public may have
doubted whether the African leaders were in fact behind the demonstration. In
the first place, Chief Lutuli was a member of the Continuation Committee which
organised the Pietermaritzburg conference and he sent a dynamic message to that
gathering which was loudly cheered. In the second place, the names of members
of the NAC were, for obvious reasons, never published and the public may never
know whether or not Chief Lutuli was a member. It would have been naive for us
to have stood on the mountain tops and proclaimed that he was a member
directing his forces as he has always done in previous campaigns. His courage
and devotion to the cause of freedom is known in every household in this
country. Inside and outside committees he remains the undisputed and most
respected leader of the African people and a source of tremendous inspiration
to all South African freedom fighters. He is a fearless opponent of the Nationalist
government and leader of all the anti-Republican forces.

Of all the
observations made on the strike, none has brought forth so much heat and
emotion as the stress and emphasis we put on non-violence. Our most loyal
supporters, whose courage and devotion has never been doubted, unanimously and
strenuously disagreed with this approach and with the assurances we gave that
we would not use any form of intimidation whatsoever to induce people to stay
away from work. It was argued that the soil of our beloved country has been
stained with the priceless blood of African patriots murdered by the
Nationalist government in the course of peaceful and disciplined demonstrations
to assert their claims and legitimate aspirations. It was the government that
should have been told to refrain from its inhuman policy of violence and
massacre, not the African people. It was further argued that it is wrong and
indefensible for a political organisation to repudiate picketing, which is used
the world over as a legitimate form of pressure to prevent scabbing.

Even up to
the present day the question that is being asked with monotonous regularity up
and down the country is this: is it politically correct to continue preaching
peace and non-violence when dealing with a government whose barbaric practices
have brought so much suffering and misery to Africans? With equal monotony the
question is posed: have we not closed a chapter on this question? These are
crucial questions that merit sane and sober reflection. It would be a serious
mistake to brush them aside and leave them unanswered.

Numerous
other observations were made by members of the public, by organisations and
individuals, by sympathetic journals who have given us support and
encouragement and by our own followers. All these have been noted. We
appreciate that they were made in all humility with a view to better planning
and more efficiency next time.

In
rounding up this review we wish to congratulate once again all those patriotic
workers, businessmen and students, black and white, who took part in this
dynamic and historic demonstration and we compliment them most heartily for
their courage in the face of fierce opposition and intimidation. This
patriotism, this unity and this fearless spirit are the most precious investment
this country has.

The strike
at the end of May was only the beginning of our campaign. We are now launching
a full-scale, countrywide campaign of non-co-operation with the Verwoerd
government, until we have won an elected National Convention, representing all
the people of this country, with the power to draw up and enforce a new
democratic constitution.

Details of
the campaign will be given from time to time. But let me say now that people
without votes cannot be expected to go on paying taxes to a government of White
domination. People who live in poverty cannot be expected to pay rents under
threats of criminal prosecution and imprisonment. Above all, those who are
oppressed cannot tolerate a situation where their own people man and maintain
the machinery of their own national oppression. Africans cannot serve on school
boards and school committees which are part of the Nationalists’ Bantu
Education. This is meant to deprive Africans of true education.

Only
traitors can serve on tribal councils. These are a mockery of self government.
They are meant to keep us forever in a state of slavery to Whites. We shall
fight together tooth and nail, against the government plan to bring Bantu
Authorities to the cities, just as our people in the rural areas have fought.
Africans cannot continue to carry passes. Thousands of our people are sent away
to jail every month under the pass laws.

We ask our
millions of friends outside South Africa to intensify the boycott and isolation
of the government of this country, diplomatically, economically, and in every
other way. The mines, industries, and farms of this country cannot carry on
without the labour of Africans imported from elsewhere in Africa.

We are the
people of this country. We produce the wealth of the gold mines, of the farms,
and of industry. Non-collaboration is the weapon we must use to bring down the
government. We have decided to use it fully and without reservation.

1. Published by the underground ANC and its offices abroad, 3 June 1961.
The statement announced the policy of non-collaboration with the government and
renewed the call for an intensified international boycott and the complete
isolation of South Africa.

2. General Law Amendment Act, No. 39 of 1961 (5 May 1961) providing for
twelve days’ detention without bail or charge. This was a temporary measure,
promulgated for a year at a time until it was superseded by the 90-day
detention law in 1963.

3. Journals reflecting anti-apartheid views or with predominantly black
readerships.

4. New Age was the newspaper of the Congress Movement, Contact
that of the Liberal Party.

5. Proclamation R400 and R413, declaring a state of emergency in the
Transkei, were promulgated on 30 November and 14 December 1960. They remained
in force and some of their key provisions were later incorporated into the
Transkei Public Safety Act of 1977.

6. The term ‘former members’ was used to describe members of both the ANC
and the PAC after the two organisations had been banned. It does not imply that
the people concerned had left the organisation.

7. The first anniversary of the shootings at Sharpeville.

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Stay-At-Home

Leaflet issued by the National
Action Council calling for a nationwide stay-at-home on 29, 30, 31 May 1961

Stay at Home

PEOPLE OF SOUTH AFRICA!
THE PROTEST GOES ON
ARRESTS CANNOT STOP US

We have
made our demands known to the Government. We want a National Convention to make
a constitution for a democratic South Africa.

VOTES TO ALL
DECENT WAGES FOR ALL
END PASS LAWS
END MINORITY WHITE
DOMINATION

VERWOERD
REPLIES NO!

He
mobilises the army, starts police raids, arrests our leaders and arrests
thousands for passes and taxes, bans our meetings. He tries to frighten the
country with wild tales of violence.

OUR ANSWER
TO VERWOERD:

We are not
going to be frightened by Verwoerd. WE STAND FIRM BY OUR DECISION TO STAY AT
HOME ON MONDAY, TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY.

No one who
loves freedom should go to work on those three days.

LET US
STAND TOGETHER, UNITED AND DISCIPLINED. DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED BY POLICE AGENTS
AND PROVOCATEURS.

DOWN WITH VERWOERD’S MINORITY REPUBLIC
FORWARD TO FREEDOM IN
OUR LIFETIME
A W U P A T H W A *

Issued by National Action Council

*
Awupatha: we shall not be dominated