On This Date: November 6th

Nov 6, 1962:

U.N. condemns apartheid

On this day in 1962, the United Nations General Assembly adopts a resolution condemning South Africa’s racist apartheid policies and calling on all its members to end economic and military relations with the country.

South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu...

In effect from 1948 to 1993, apartheid, which comes from the Afrikaans word for “apartness,” was government-sanctioned racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against South Africa’s non-white majority. Among many injustices, blacks were forced to live in segregated areas and couldn’t enter whites-only neighborhoods unless they had a special pass. Although whites represented only a small fraction of the population, they held the vast majority of the country’s land and wealth.

Following the 1960 massacre of unarmed demonstrators at Sharpeville near Johannesburg, South Africa, in which 69 blacks were killed and over 180 were injured, the international movement to end apartheid gained wide support. However, few Western powers or South Africa’s other main trading partners favored a full economic or military embargo against the country. Nonetheless, opposition to apartheid within the U.N. grew, and in 1973 a U.N. resolution labeled apartheid a “crime against humanity.” In 1974, South Africa was suspended from the General Assembly.

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela, Ju...

After decades of strikes, sanctions and increasingly violent demonstrations, many apartheid laws were repealed by 1990. Finally, in 1991, under President F.W. de Klerk, the South African government repealed all remaining apartheid laws and committed to writing a new constitution. In 1993, a multi-racial, multi-party transitional government was approved and, the next year, South Africa held its first fully free elections. Political activist Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison along with other anti-apartheid leaders after being convicted of treason, became South Africa’s new president.

In 1996, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), established by the new government, began an investigation into the violence and human rights violations that took place under the apartheid system between 1960 and May 10, 1994 (the day Mandela was sworn in as president). The commission’s objective was not to punish people but to heal South Africa by dealing with its past in an open manner. People who committed crimes were allowed to confess and apply for amnesty. Headed by 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the TRC listened to testimony from over 20,000 witnesses from all sides of the issue—victims and their families as well as perpetrators of violence. It released its report in 1998 and condemned all major political organizations—the apartheid government in addition to anti-apartheid forces such as the African National Congress—for contributing to the violence. Based on the TRC’s recommendations, the government began making reparation payments of approximately $4,000 (U.S.) to individual victims of violence in 2003.

Also on This Day

American Revolution
John Carroll named first Catholic bishop in U.S., 1789
President Clinton designates “Automobile National Heritage Area” in Detroit, 1998
Civil War
Jefferson Davis elected president of the Confederacy, 1861
Cold War
Renowned Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov visits United States, 1988
A woman ices her husband with anti-freeze, 1982
Dam gives way in Georgia, 1977
General Interest
Abraham Lincoln elected president, 1860
Canadians take Passchendaele, 1917
Bolsheviks revolt in Russia, 1917
Downey stars in Less Than Zero, 1987
Playwright Thomas Kyd is baptized, 1558
John Philip Sousa is born, 1854
Old West
Cabeza de Vaca discovers Texas, 1528
Teddy Roosevelt travels to Panama, 1906
Art Modell announces Browns are moving to Baltimore, 1995
Vietnam War
General Minh takes over leadership of South Vietnam, 1963
South Vietnamese forces attack into Cambodia, 1970
World War I
British victory at Passchendaele , 1917
World War II
Stalin celebrates the Revolution’s anniversary, 1941

This Week in History, Nov 6 – Nov 12


Nov 06, 1962
U.N. condemns apartheid
Nov 07, 1991
Magic Johnson announces he is HIV positive
Nov 08, 1895
German scientist discovers X-rays
Nov 09, 1938
Nazis launch Kristallnacht
Nov 10, 1969
Sesame Street debuts
Nov 11, 1918
World War I ends
Nov 12, 1954
Ellis Island closes

One thought on “On This Date: November 6th

  1. Pingback: Apartheid or Apartness #3 Opposition and Escalation | Marcus' s Space

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