You are here
This Open Society Foundations fact sheet provides information on instances of forced sterilization of racial and ethnic minorities, poor women, women living with HIV, and women with disabilities in Chile, Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Hungary, India, Mexico, Namibia, Kenya, Peru, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uzbekistan. It also provides recommendations for governments, medical professionals, UN agencies, and donors on how to end the practice of forced and coerced sterilization.
In response to the rising murder and rape of women in South Africa (41,000 rapes and 2,700 murders between March 2018 and March 2019), and the rape and killing of university student Uyinene Mrwetyana by a Cape Town post office employee, women all over the country responded by blocking the entrance to the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, launching the #AmINext movement and the #SandtonShutdown (or #TheTotalShutDown) protest. They rallied outside Johnnesburg Stock Exchange on 13 September 2019, forcing South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa to cancel a trip to the UN world leaders’ gathering.
See also https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2019-09-13/south-african-leader-drops-un-visit-as-women-protest-attacks, https://www.africanews.com/2019/09/13/south-africa-activists-protest-gender-based-violence// and https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/protest-against-gender-based-violence-emerge-in-sa/
Covers the demonstrations by school children and students in an estimated 185 countries with a photo of a protest in Nairobi, Kenya, and an overview of the protests in their environmental and political context. Coverage also includes brief statements from young activists in Australia, Thailand, India, Afghanistan, South Africa, Ireland and the US; the speech by Greta Thunberg to the UN Climate Action summit in New York; and 10 charts explaining the climate crisis.
See also: Milman, Oliver, 'Crowds Welcome Thunberg to New York after Atlantic Crossing ', The Guardian, 29 Aug. 2019, p.3.
Reports on Thunberg's arrival in New York where she was to address the UN Climate Action summit on reaching zero carbon emissions.
Primarily on nonviolent action in townships during apartheid. Combines a national strategic overview by Jeremy Seekings of how the concept of civic struggle evolved in the period 1977-90 with detailed local accounts.
Debates of the reasons why the Western #MeToo campaign didn’t spread as much in the African continent as it did in the US, UK, France, India and China. The article also briefly outlines the various campaigns that have evolved instead, such as #EndRapeCulture in South Africa; #MyDressismyChoice in Uganda and Kenya; #BeingfemaleinNigeria. Other protests includes #Nopiwouma (‘I will not shut up’) and #Doyna (‘That’s enough’) in Senegal
Interviews with strikers who took part in protests and written from their viewpoint.
A narration of Gandhi’s life in South Africa and his battle for the civil rights of the Indian minorities who were living there at the time. The work illustrates how Gandhi’s teaching and practice of nonviolence developed from the South African experience.
Discusses problems faced by union in new global context of neoliberal economic dominance and its resistance to water privatization.
Authoritative account of COSATU’s early years by then National Coordinator.
This book provides a study of the genesis, growth, gains, and dilemmas of women's movements in countries throughout the world. Its focus is on Brazil, China, India, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, USA, as well as more generally covering Europe and Latina America. The authors argue that women's movements have engaged in complex negotiations with national and international forces, and challenge widely held assumptions about the Western origins and character of local feminisms. They locate women's movements within their context by exploring their relationships with the state, civil society, and other social movements.
Covers the period 1910- 60.
This book uses case studies from a range of countries to provide a transnational and interdisciplinary analysis of trends in abortion politics, and considers how religion, nationalism, and culture impact on abortion law and access. It also explores the impact of international human rights norms and the role of activists on law reform and access to abortion. Finally the authors examine the future of abortion politics through the more holistic lens of ‘reproductive justice’. The countries included are: Argentina, Egypt, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Uruguay and the US.
This wide-ranging collection analyzes the status and progress of women both in a national context and collectively on a global scale, as a powerful social force in a rapidly evolving world. The countries studied―China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, Cameroon, South Africa, Italy, France, Brazil, Belize, Mexico, and the United States―represent a cross-section of economic conditions, cultural and religious traditions, political realities, and social contexts that shape women’s lives, challenges, and opportunities. Psychological and human rights perspectives highlight worldwide goals for equality and empowerment, with implications for today’s girls as they become the next generation of women. Women’s lived experience is compared and contrasted in such critical areas as: home and work; physical, medical, and psychological issues; safety and violence; sexual and reproductive concerns; political participation and status under the law; impact of technology and globalism; country-specific topics.
A case study for the University of KwaZulu-Natal project Globalisation, Marginalisation and new Social Movements in post-Apartheid South Africa.
Includes critical assessment of the 1960s campaigns and examination of trade union action in the 1970s.
A compilation from the (London) Committee on South African War Resistance.
See also: Chinguno, Crispen , Marikana Massacre and Strike Violence Post-Apartheid Global Labour Journal, 2013, pp. 160-166
Includes chapters on political unionism, the township revolts, student politics (school and university). Earlier version of the much-cited article Swilling, Mark , The United Democratic Front and the township revolt Durban, South Africa, South African History Archives (SAHA), , 1987, pp. 23 , reprinted here on pp. 90-113, are available online.
See also Nathan, Laurie , Force of Arms, Force of Conscience: A Study of Militarisation, the Military and the Anti-Apartheid War Resisters’ Movement in South Africa, 1970-1988 M. Phil. ThesisBradford, University of Bradford, , 1990 .
Nathan was a leading activist in the End Conscription Campaign.
In this work the author presents the work of Nigerian feminist sociologist, Oyèrónké Oyĕwùmí, as a decolonising force having the power to disrupt sub-Saharan African philosophy, Western feminist thought and discourses on African decolonisation in highly significant and surprising ways.
See also Conway, Daniel , Contesting the Masculine State: White Male War Resisters in Apartheid South Africa In Parpart, Jane L.; Zalewski, Marysia , Rethinking the Man Question: Sex, Gender and Violence in International Relations London, Zed Books, , 2008, pp. 127-142 .
In this series of interviews conducted by Frank Barat - activist for human rights and Palestinian rights -, Angela Davis reflects on the importance of Black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today's struggles. She discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles and makes connection between the Black Freedom Movement and the South African anti-apartheid movement, as well as between the events in Ferguson and Palestine. The core message of the book is the emphasis on the importance of establishing transnational networks of solidarity and activism.
Angela Y. Davis is a political activist (who supported the Black Panthers in the late 1960s and became widely known in 1971 when arrested on false charges), scholar, author, and speaker. She is an outspoken advocate for the oppressed and exploited, writing on Black liberation, prison abolition, the intersections of race, gender, and class, and international solidarity with Palestine.
On struggles against neoliberal policies and privatization in the townships, strikes, and the Durban Social Forum.
Looks at Global Justice Movement in a broad historical framework and relates it to case studies of earlier struggles in the USA, UK, France, South Africa, Algeria, the Philippines and Jamaica.
See also Drewett, Michael , Aesopian Strategies of Textual Resistance in the Struggle to Overcome the Censorship of Popular Music in Apartheid South Africa In Müller, Beate , Censorship & Cultural Regulation in the Modern Age Amsterdam and New York, Rodopi, , 2004, pp. 189-207 .
Chapters on: Western Sahara, West Papua, Palestine, South Africa (in 1980s), the Zapatistas. Egypt, Nepal and on indigenous armed struggle and nonviolent resistance in Colombia.
A critical study of the 1954-55 campaigns.
Gandhi’s account of the seminal civil disobedience campaigns against legislation discriminating against the Indian population, and the evolution of his strategy and theory of ‘satyagraha’.
pp. 375, 379-794, 471, 464, 514, 555
Includes Satyagraha in South Africa (vol. 3), as well as Gandhi’s highly personal Autobiography, published 1927 (vols 1-2), important pamphlets such as his translation of Ruskin’s Unto This Last (vol. 4 – influential on Gandhi’s socio-economic thinking), letters on key issues (vol. 5) and speeches on historic occasions (vol. 6).
Part Three – ‘War: armed and mass struggles as gendered experiences’ – includes Jacklyn Cock, ‘”Another mother for peace”: Women and peace building in South Africa, 1983-2003, pp. 257-280, and Janet Cherry ‘”We were not afraid”: The role of women in the 1980s’ township uprising in the Eastern Cape’, pp. 281-313, and Pat Gibbs, ‘Women, labour and resistance: Case studies from the Port Elizabeth/Uitenhage area, 1972-94’, pp. 315-343.
Contends that the ANC ‘showed an increasing intolerance for the values upheld by the UDF, like criticism and self-criticism of elites and nonviolence’.
This article analyses the #EndRapeCulture campaign in South Africa, where women students took to the streets in 2016 to protest against the pervasive normalisation of sexual violence on university campuses. Some participated topless and brandished sjamboks (whips) to show their resentment and anger at the prevailing sexual violence. The article looks at the role of digital media in circulating slogans around the campaign and asks the question whether these protests can be compared with SlutWalks or FEMEN.
Account by a key organizer of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement.
Examines role of different types of opposition in ‘delaying, cancelling or reversing the privatization of water and energy’, including success in Nkondobe (South Africa), Paraguay where parliament voted in 2002 to suspend indefinitely privatization of state-owned water and Poznan in Poland in 2002, and failure of campaigns in UK, Chile and Philippines.
This study examines of how religion (Christianity, Islam and indigenous religions) influences the laws and policies on African women’s reproductive rights. Using South Africa as a case study, this paper elaborates on the influence of religion on South African women’s reproductive rights and the African world in general.
The author explores how women’s organisations in South Africa are often constrained in demanding their rights, or protesting in the streets, by their links to governments, political parties or international charities. Not only do these organisations need financial backing, but they are also expected to maintain a professional profile. She illuminates this dilemma by studying organisations in the Cape Flat of Cape Town, mostly run by black and coloured women struggling against increasing crime and violence against women and children.
This article focuses on how women in South Africa mobilised to press for a legislative response to a critical gender justice issue: access to maternity benefits for self-employed women, and women in the informal economy.
Reports that since US climate activist Bill McKibben and 350.org launched the divestment in fossil fuels campaign in 2012, over 220 institutions such as universities, local authorities and pension funds, have divested from some fossil fuels. So have foundations, notably the Rockefeller Brothers' Fund in 2014. The 'Fossil Free' campaign was launched in the UK in 2013, and grew more rapidly than earlier divestment campaigns against the tobacco industry and apartheid in South Africa. Howard also hails divestment by the World Council of Churches in 2014 and reports that the UN body coordinating agreement on climate change backed divestment in March 2015.
See also: Carlyle, Gabriel, 'Ducks, Direct Action and Investment', Peace News, June-July 2018, p.17.
Account of second Fossil Free UK national gathering, including examples of some campaigning and organizing experiences revealed there. The article also provides background on the rapidly growing global movement and the 880 institutions that had by then committed to some divestment from fossil fuels.
Account by City Press reporters and photographers, supplemented by edited evidence from official Enquiry, and including analyses of labour migration.
Using interviews and a range of documentary sources, this book examines how the apartheid state sought to control women’s and girls’ bodies and reproductive choices, both through the enforcement of restrictive abortion laws and the promotion of a patriarchal Christian Afrikaner culture. It also explores the ways in which women and girls defied these restrictions.
For a comprehensive review of this book, please see Hepburn, Sacha (2018) ‘A History of Abortion in Apartheid South Africa’ in Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 44, issue 1, pp. 190-192.
– a six-volume series. Notably vol. 2, ‘Hope and Challenge, 1935-1952’, Thomas Karis, ed., 1973, pp. 550; vol 3, ‘Challenge and Violence, 1953-1964’, 1987, pp. 845; vol. 5, ‘Nadir and Resurgence, 1964-1979’, Thomas G. Karis and Gail M. Gerhart, eds., 1997, pp. 840; vol 6, ‘Challenge and Victory’, Gail M. Gerhart and Clive L. Glaser, 2010, pp. 816. ‘Combines narrative with a wealth of primary source material.’
Focused particularly on the controversy over the major Narmada River dam projects, but also provides comparative perspective by considering dam projects in Brazil, China, Indonesia, South Africa and Lesotho, where the World Bank and other lenders were persuaded to withdraw funding.
At a time when Gandhi is being widely criticized (for very different reasons) in India, South Africa and the UK, Mary King sets Gandhi in his historical context and also stresses Gandhi's own willingness to confront his assumptions and prejudices.
Wide ranging exploration of campaigns in all parts of the world seen at first hand. Includes coverage of Sem Terra in Brazil, Cochabamba in Bolivia, township resistance to privatization in South Africa, the Zapatistas, opposition to mining in West Papua, and campaigning groups in the USA. See also his: Kingsnorth, Paul , Protest still matters New Statesman, 08/05/2006 , 8 May, 2006, discussing why the Global Justice Movement has dropped out of the news, the turn away from street demonstrations to social forums, and stressing that struggles still continue, especially in the Global South.
Tips for diplomats on how they can more effectively support local pro-democracy g roups facing repressive regimes. Case studies from South Africa, Ukraine, Chile, Belarus, Burma/Myanamar, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Sociological study of the 1952 ‘Defiance Campaign’.
The author argues that the historical preoccupation with the anti-apartheid struggle, which has also focused on the role of men as agents of change, has obscured both the role of women from all races and classes who joined in the national struggle, and women’s campaigning for their own rights. She uses oral histories, South African newspaper reports and materials from organisations such as the Black Sash to show women’s influence on legislation passed under and immediately after apartheid. She also notes how women created their own political spaces and, at times, transcended race and class divides.
Covers key campaigns up to Sharpeville and the Soweto student rebellion.
See also Lodge, Tom , The Interplay of Nonviolent and Violent Action in the Movements Against Apartheid in South Africa, 1983-94 In Roberts; Garton Ash, Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements)New York, Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 213-230 .
Autobiography of President of ANC from 1952 to 1967, and Nobel Prize winner.
Includes views on nonviolence and support for the turn to violent resistance. Mandela’s earlier articles, speeches and addresses at his trials are published in: Mandela, Nelson , No Easy Walk to Freedom  London, Heinemann, , 1986, pp. 189 .
Examines relationship between strategies and different ideologies of resistance based on race, nation or class.
Critical analysis of failings of Forum, which was set up in 2000 and active for 10 years, but also noting its positive role as voice for marginalised and promoter of grass roots activism.
Analysis of (predominantly) white women’s organization publicly opposing apartheid since 1950, known especially for its vigils.
The authors show how university students were able to challenge sexual violence in South Africa in practical and locally relevant ways. They used formal methods of influencing policy, but prioritised the young women’s own views and voices, in ways that they felt empowering. What remains to be further explored, by both researchers and organizations, is how to act as a good ally and supportive collaborator to these kinds of semi-autonomous youth groups navigating formal power.
The authors argue that the activism of women’s movements has helped achieve South African government policies designed to promote women’s equality (for example in employment) and women’s empowerment. They draw on a 2017 qualitative study of leading women in the government to illustrate this link. They recognize, however, that there are still social and psychological barriers within government impeding women with activist experience from achieving radical outcomes, and that ‘gendered discourse still disadvantages women across racial identities, gender orientations and (dis)abilities’.
Although President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Gender-Based Violence Declaration in April 2019, promising that the government would strengthen its fight against gender-based violence (GBV), which he called a national crisis, activists say that little has been done to tackle the issue. This article includes the requests advanced by the movement, links to other national campaigns and data regarding gender-based violence since 2016.
See the report on Gender-Based Violence Declaration here https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/gender-based-violence-declaration-south-africa/
Section 1 suggests ‘the secularization of conscience and modern individ-ualism have been the driving force’ in the rise of conscientious objection. Section 2 looks at the historical record in the USA. Section 3 has articles on France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the former Communist states in Eastern Europe, Israel and South Africa.
Washington Post journalist, who was in South Africa 1984-86, interviewed leaders of banned organizations and more conservative Africans. Less strong on post-1986 period.
Discusses the post-1990 statist supplanting of ‘the popular emancipatory project’.
Designed as a textbook, it covers history, theoretical developments and debates about the results of nonviolent movements. It categorizes nine types of nonviolent action, which are illustrated by case studies. A separate chapter explores key issues of why and when sections of the armed services defect from a regime challenged by a nonviolent movement.
Contributors assess the efforts and problems of oppositions in difficult circumstances, and also consider issues of leadership and organization. The book includes case studies of Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Brief article which details evolution of strike from 10-16 August.
Article on grass roots women's organisation Sikhale Sonke demanding prosecutions and compensation for 2012 shooting of workers during the strike. The women had campaigned for five years against Lonmin and the government, as well as confronting deep seated discrimination against women in their society. War on Want has backed the women as part of a renewed campaign in the UK to offer solidarity.
Sikhale Sonke is also the subject of a documentary film 'Strike a Rock', from the 2017 Human Rights Watch Film Festival, that focuses on the struggle and friendship two women following the 2012 Marikana Massacre where 37 striking miners were killed by police.
Evaluates claims that ‘nonviolence, if adhered to more resolutely, would have ended apartheid sooner’, reminding readers of the high level of support for the ANC’s armed wing. Suggests that despite some over-simplifications, the claims for nonviolence, though speculative, are plausible.
The National Movement of Rural Women (NMRW), formerly known as the Rural Women’s Movement, was established in 1990 with a focus on, among others, uniting rural women and giving them a voice. Amongst the organisation’s aims was to create forums for rural women to unite against oppression, have equal rights to land and a say in political matters. The organisation has contributed as amicus curiae – ‘a friend of the court’ – to dealing with customary law cases involving inheritance, marriage and chieftaincy disputes. This article explores the two approaches used by the NMRW as friend of the court - the custom-based and gender-based approach - and concludes that these two approaches are in direct conflict with each other.
This book, edited by the international coordinator of Ecologistas en Accion, covers 15 varied struggles against fracking around the world, and is intended to be a source of inspiration for continued resistance. Many are first person accounts, by those involved. Chapters cover personal opposition fracking in the courts or at the municipal level, resistance by local farmers to corporations backed by the government, as in Poland and Romania and the campaign for 'frack free' municipalities in the Basque territory of Spain. There are also accounts of resistance from Argentina, Algeria, South Africa, Australia, the UK (against drilling in Sussex) and Northern Ireland, and on the role of ATTA C in France. Includes a timeline and 'some snapshots' of the resistance, as well as some conclusions drawn by the editor.
Includes chapters on Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, India, Mexico, South Africa and Zimbabwe (the latter refrains from discussing the human rights issues of the government sponsored post 1996 land occupations). Not all chapters discuss social movements, but the book does cover gender and indigenous issues.
Seeks to address the lack of explicitly comparative analysis of how nonviolent methods promote political transformation. Examines success of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa (1983-90), and pro-democracy movements in the Philippines (1983-86), Nepal (1990) and Thailand (1991-92), and explores failure of such as movements in China (1989) and Burma (1988). Lists major actions in each movement. Includes analysis and criticism of ‘consent’ theory of power.
Autobiography of Anglican priest who took the case of the Herero people of South West Africa to the UN, opposing their incorporation into the Union of South Africa. Chapter 8 describes the Indian resistance to discriminatory legislation in 1946.
Surveys development of conscientious objection from 1960.
Authoritative organizational history (commissioned by the UDF at the point when it disbanded).
Especially ch. 3, pp. 47-71, ‘Monitoring multinationals: lessons from the anti-apartheid era’.
Investigates the forced sterilization of South African women and highlights the Report of the South African Commission for Gender Equality prompted by the 2015 complaint by the non-profit Women’s Legal Center, which documented 48 cases of women who were allegedly forced or coerced into agreeing to the procedure while giving birth.
The Report of the Commission can be accessed here: http://www.cge.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Forced-Sterilisation-of-Women-Living-with-HIV-and-Aids-in-South-Africa.pdf
See also: Forced sterilisation in South Africa: They removed my uterus, BBC, 27 February 2020.
Sharp, whose 1973 three volume The Politics of Nonviolent Action is now a standard reference work on the theory and strategy of civil resistance has here brought together a collection of writings from over 20 years to address key themes relating to social power and popular empowerment. Other topics covered include several essays on civilian-based defence, reflections on the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa (written as a series of articles in 1963), civil disobedience in a democracy, and review essays of Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, and On Revolution.
Examples of nonviolent action from the 1950s to the 1990s. Brief extracts illustrate tactics such as boycotts, courting arrest, funerals, graffiti, ostracism, prayer, resisting removal, voluntary exile and ‘wading-in’ (against segregated beaches).
This volume investigates different abortion and reproductive practices across time, space, geography, national boundaries, and cultures. The authors specialise in the reproductive politics of Australia, Bolivia, Cameroon, France, ‘German East Africa,’ Ireland, Japan, Sweden, South Africa, the United States and Zanzibar, and cover the pre-modern era and the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as the present day. Contributors draw on different theoretical frameworks, including ‘intersectionality’ and ‘reproductive justice’ to explore the very varied conditions in which women have been forced to make these life-altering decisions.
Revised and updated from the banned book Suttner, Raymond ; Cronin, Jeremy , 30 Years of the Freedom Charter Johannesburg, Ravan Press, , 1986, pp. 266 . Recounts the process of formulating as well as discussing the political implications of the Freedom Charter adopted in 1955. (Part of Unisa’s series ‘Hidden Histories’.)
The thesis starts from the political context of the late 1970s when, despite detente, the US was developing its nuclear weapons arsenal, and apartheid South Africa emerged as a nuclear weapons state. Black campaigners against nuclear weapons emerged in both countries, and both suffered from racial discrimination, but the very different political contexts made organized opposition to nuclear policies very much harder in South Africa. However, in both cases nuclear weapon developments were closely linked to an international context, and both movements also relied heavily on international allies.
Uses three case studies to illustrate the complexity of the UDF. Addresses generational tensions and conflicts between belief systems that the UDF itself, and most studies of it, tended to ignore.
A Guide to Civil Resistance
The online version of Vol. 1 of the bibliography was made possible due to the generous support of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). ICNC is an independent, non-profit educational foundation that develops and encourages the study and use of civilian-based, nonmilitary strategies aimed at establishing and defending human rights, democratic self-rule and justice worldwide.
For more information about ICNC, please see their website.
The online version of Vol. 2 of the bibliography was made possible due to the generous support of The Network for Social Change. The Network for Social Change is a group of individuals providing funding for progressive social change, particularly in the areas of justice, peace and the environment.
For more information about The Network for Social Change, please visit their website.