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Timeline


Launching the UDF
A threat to the regime
Heightened repression
State of Emergency
Mass action
Second State of Emergency
Intensifying the struggle
Forging alliances
UDF: Restricted
UDF: Defiance
Towards a democratic future

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January 1983
Call for UDF; commission appointed; steering committee set up AL2446_0266
May 1983
Transvaal and Natal regions launched
July 1983
Eastern Cape and Border committees set up
July 1983
UDF National launched
January 1984
UDF Border region launched
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January 1984
Million Signature campaign launched
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April 1984
West Coast UDF and Southern Cape region launched
July 1984
Anti-tricameral parliament campaign launched
August 1984
UDF leaders arrested – six UDF Natal and Natal Indian Congress leaders sought refuge in British consulate
September 1984
Regime held elections for tricameral parliament amid massive boycott
September 1984
Vaal erupted over rent boycotts; four local authority councillors killed
October 1984
UDF and ECC held “Troops Out” campaign
November 1984
UDF organised Transvaal stayaway to protest troops in townships
December 1984
UDF leaders charged with treason in Durban; formation of the Federation of Transvaal Women as a UDF affiliate
December 1984
UDF led Black Christmas campaign
January 1985
Senator Edward Kennedy visited South Africa
January 1985
International Year of the Youth
February 1985
At a rally to celebrate Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s winning of the Nobel peace prize, Zindzi Mandela read Mandela’s response to the government’s offer to release detainees
February 1985
UDF offices raided countrywide; over 100 arrested; leaders charged together with previous six treason trialists in the Pietermaritzburg Treason Trial
March 1985
Langa, Uitenhage massacre
April 1985
Second UDF National General Council in Azaadville
April 1985
Popo Molefe and Terror Lekota detained
May 1985
Gaborone raid; Pebco Three went missing
June 1985
Together with 20 others, Molefe and Lekota charged with treason in the Delmas Treason Trial
June 1985
Matthew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sicelo Mhlauli and Sparrow Mkhonto (the Cradock Four) found murdered
June 1985
30th anniversary of the Freedom Charter
July 1985
Mass funeral for the Cradock Four
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July 1985
State President PW Botha declared a State of Emergency in 36 magisterial districts; 136 UDF officials known to be detained
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August 1985
Victoria Mxenge murdered
August 1985
Inkatha attacks intensified; Cosas banned
October 1985
Communities engaged in consumer boycotts to protest black local authorities and national repression; UDF launched “Forward to People’s Power” campaign
December 1985
Cosatu launched
December 1985
National Education Crisis Committee (NECC) formed
January 1986
Murphy Morobe detained; released March 7
February 1986
Six Day War in Alexandra
February 1986
Northern Transvaal region UDF launched
March 1986
State of Emergency lifted
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May 1986
UDF with Cosatu and other organisations organised national stayaway
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May 1986
Campaign against public safety bill
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May 1986
UDF “Call to Whites” campaign
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June 1986
National State of Emergency declared
June 1986
Murphy Morobe spoke on UDF under the State of Emergency
June 1986
UDF launched “Unban the ANC” campaign
August 1986
White City, Soweto massacre
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October 1986
UDF declared affected organisation
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October 1986
Campaign for “National United Action” (Cosatu, UDF, NECC, SACC)
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October 1986
“Christmas against the Emergency” campaign
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January 1987
The theme for the UDF for 1987 was “Forward to People’s Power”
January 1987
Valli Moosa detained and released on April 12
April 1987
UDF Women’s Congress formed
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May 1987
Cosatu headquarters bombed
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May 1987
National action and protest
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May 1987
Day of national protest against whites-only elections
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May 1987
UDF National Working Committee – 200 delegates from nine regions: STvl, NTvl, ETvl, ECape, WCape, NCape, Natal, OFS, Border; Anti-Bop campaign
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July 1987
Sayco “Save the Patriots” campaign
August 1987
Murphy Morobe and Valli Moosa detained (22 UDF NEC members in detention)
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August 1987
“Friends of UDF” launched
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August 1987
Cosatu union National Union of Mineworkers held strike to demand living wage
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August 1987
UDF adopted the Freedom Charter
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November 1987
UDF called for boycott of black local authorities
November 1987
Govan Mbeki released
February 1988
UDF and 16 organisations and 18 individuals restricted; Cosatu restricted from doing political work
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March 1988
Day of action
May 1988
Cape Democrats launched
June 1988
“National peaceful action” called by Cosatu supported by UDF and churches
September 1988
Security police bombed Khotso House, national headquarters of the UDF
September 1988
Murphy Morobe, Valli Moosa and Vusi Khanyile escaped from prison and took refuge at the US Consulate, Kine Centre, Johannesburg
October 1988
Anti-municipal elections campaign
February 1989
MDM statement on Winnie Mandela
May 1989
David Webster assassinated
September 1989
Start of defiance campaign against bannings, restrictions and segregation of hospitals and other facilities
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October 1989
Walter Sisulu and other Rivonia trialists released, National Reception Committee formed
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December 1989
Conference for a Democratic Future (CDF)
February 1990
ANC and 72 other organisations unbanned; restriction on UDF lifted
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February 1990
Nelson Mandela released
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March 1990
UDF-Cosatu national women’s workshop
May 1990
First meeting between ANC and apartheid government
July 1990
Week of “National Mass Action” against violence in Natal
August 1990
Bantustan conference
August 1991
Dissolution of UDF
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