After F.W. de Klerk made his historic speech in February 1990 where he announced the release of Nelson Mandela and unbanned all political parties, the ANC was able to operate legally once again. Large numbers of members of the ANC returned from exile.
When , the ANC Women's League was dissolved. As we have seen, women found new spaces from which to organise and to take up the struggle.
The ANC Women's League, dissolved when the government banned the ANC in 1961, made a decision to relaunch itself. One of its main concerns was dealing with returning exiles.
'We call upon all the women of our country to be ready to assist in any way you may be called upon. To assist in every way possible in receiving our beloved ones, as they come in from long years of exile. Some will get back to find no mother, father, and no home.
The duty of the women in this case is to make sure that no one shall be turned into an orphan when we are still alive. How can we forget our dear ones? The victims of violence and our beloved from the apartheid dungeons. Let us be proud to be providing the love expected from us as mothers, sisters and friends; as we have always done during difficult times.'
Exhibitions in the classroom
Reading the past
1. What problems did the ANC Women’s League anticipate that returning exiles might experience?
2. How did the ANC Women’s League plan to help returning exiles?
3. Do you think it was necessary for the ANC Women’s League to relaunch itself?
4. The slogan for the relaunch of the Woman’s League was ‘Women in Action’. Do you think that was a good slogan for their relaunch? Explain your answer.