Contexts, resistance crowds and mass mobilisation : a comparative analysis of anti-apartheid politics in Pietermaritzburg during the 1950s and the 1980s.
Mkhize, Sibongiseni Mthokozisi.
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This thesis examines crowds and resistance politics in Pietermaritzburg, focusing particularly on the 1950s and the 1980s. These two decades were characterised by heightened anti-apartheid political activity in South Africa. It is against that background that this thesis explores mass mobilisation and resistance in Pietermaritzburg. The 1960s and the 1970s have not been ignored, however, in this comparative analysis. It appears that there was not so much overt mass mobilisation that was taking place in South Africa during this period, on the same scale as that of the 1950s and the 1980s. This thesis analyses selected case studies of events such as protest marches, popular riots and stayaways. It examines the similarities and differences in the socioeconomic and political contexts in which such events occurred. The key aspect is that of resistance crowds. This thesis examines how, when and why resistance crowds formed in Pietermaritzburg during the two periods. It begins with a literature survey, which sets out the framework for comparison. Aspects such as the kinds of constituencies, the roles of political organisations, trade unions, church groups, youth organisations, government policies and the nature of the campaigns are raised in the literature. Drawing from that framework this study explores the socio-economic contexts in which the selected case studies took place. The way in which the changes in the socio-economic and political contexts influenced mass mobilisation forms a central theme of this dissertation. The four case studies explore crowd events in anti-apartheid politics in Pietermaritzburg. The thesis concludes with a comparative evaluation of the case studies of resistance crowds in their differing contexts.