The aftermath of the massacre in 1960 Sharpeville led to a change in tactics by the anti-apartheid movement, we chronicle these changes.
Following the incidents that took place on the 21st March 1960 in Sharpeville that eventually led to the police shooting and killing an estimated 69 people, who were part of a demonstration against pass laws. South Africa as a state was now filled with alot of riot and protest against the Nationalist government’s policies. The Sharpeville shootings were a stepping stone for the events that followed from the 21st of March 1960.
At the time South Africa was under the leadership of Hendrik Verwoerd, a day after the shooting on the 22nd of March 1960, the prime minister of South Africa Mr. Verwoerd and his government denied that the protest in Sharpeville, and to a large extend other parts of South Africa, were targeted at his government. The extent of this denial went as far as Parliament where Verwoerd made it clear to the congregating house that the Anti-Pass Resistance in Sharpeville, Gauteng was not targeted against his government.
The government was severely hard done by theses nationwide protests as the international community had now seen the extent of the dissatisfaction amongst that public. And in efforts to control the already hard done image of the country, the apartheid regime sort to establish who was responsible for the protests and in particular the Sharpeville protests.Within two days after the protest on the 23 March 1960, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, leader of the Pan Africanist Congress, who led the Sharpeville demonstration together with 11 others amongst them Chief Albert Lutuli were arrested for publicly burning their pass books as well as for incitement to riots. The Nationalist government was under tremendous pressure and it sort that in order to curb the protests they would have to find a way so as to ensure that there is no leeway for the planning of protests to occur and hence they then sort to ban all public meetings of more than 12 people, later this number was reduced to meetings greater than 3 people, meaning not more that 3 people could meet to discuss anything.
Regardless of the sanctions that the government had imposed on the public the unrest of the protests still continued in parts of South Africa. Most notably was the march in cape town organised by Wilson Manetsi, together with 1000 other volunteers they left Langa township to present themselves for arrest at Cape Town’s Caledon Square Police station, this protest prompted an even bigger number as it was estimated that between 2000 and 5000 gathered at the police station the next day to also hand themselves in for arrest. These unrests were becoming a bit too much for the Verwoerd government and it was on the 30th of March just nine days after the Sharpeville incident that the government declared a State of Emergency.
The apartheid government was really hard done by the unrest within the country and they had a number of efforts to ensure that peace was maintained. These efforts included the banning of political organisations particularly the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) this ban was done through the Unlawful Organisations Act of 1960. This now meant that any activities taken by these political parties were now illegal. To counter act the efforts of the government these political parties took upon a more violent means of protests with the establishment of their separate military wings. The ANC formed its military wing called umkhonto we sizwe and the PAC also forming its military wing Poqo which was more commonly known as the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA).
The effects were so far reaching that by the end of 1960 South Africa was dismissed from the commonwealth and two military instituitions had been born all due to the Sharpeville massacre