Series exploring South Africa's apartheid regime. To the world's horror, protesters are gunned down in Sharpeville and Nelson Mandela is jailed for life.
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I am now in a position to announce that Mr Nelson Mandela
will be released at the Victor Verster Prison
on Sunday 11th February, at about 3pm.
MUSIC: "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika"
I was just filled with incredulity and excitement,
and we were running all over. You know, phoning everybody.
We were phoning... We couldn't reach each other.
And our leader has come out!
Or is coming out tomorrow! Hallelujah!
Because, really, I think, the release of Mandela
was the release of all of us South Africans, at last.
TV: 'And the crowd getting excited...
'There's Mr Mandela!
'Nelson Mandela, a free man,
'taking his first steps into a new South Africa.'
MUSIC: "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika"
'Because, you know, it's a turning point. You could cry.'
You feel your tears.
And then you know your life has been very useful.
You have not done it for nothing.
It is not the kings and generals that make history...
..but the masses of the people.
When Nelson Mandela walked to freedom in 1990,
he'd been held in prison for 27 years.
He and his fellow activists had been imprisoned, tortured and exiled
in their lifelong attempt to free South Africa of its all-white rule.
It was a struggle that had drawn to its aid
millions of ordinary citizens,
from dozens of countries around the world.
We were very ambitious.
We wanted to destroy apartheid in every area,
stop collaboration from the sports boycott...
..to consumer boycotts...
..to military sanctions...
..to economic sanctions.
And many of these things, of course, we achieved.
It would take more than 50 years to defeat apartheid,
but what had started as the lonely struggle for freedom
by a few individuals had become an unstoppable worldwide movement.
This is the story of how ordinary citizens around the world
changed the course of history.
# Hey, say, what's the word?
# Tell me, brother, have you heard from Johannesburg?
# Tell me, what's the word now?
# Sister, woman, have you heard from Johannesburg? #
They've got no education, and it'll take them a couple of hundred years.
They've only just come down from the trees.
We cannot mix with the lower nations...at the moment,
unless they are cultivated and educated, and so on.
Racial segregation had been the norm in South Africa
since colonial times,
but apartheid was adopted as national party policy
following their victory in the 1948 election.
We all became energised by a guy by the name of Hendrik Verwoerd,
who devised what he called "separate development".
It was another, softer name for apartheid.
This is our country, and there's no doubt about that.
If, in South Africa,
the white man allows any form of partnership to develop,
it will mean the gradual giving away
of the country he has settled for so many years.
It doesn't take very long before the black man says, "This is my country."
We had separate schools,
we had separate playing fields,
we had separate graveyards.
We had a separate everything.
I remember my mum taking us shopping in the centre of town,
and you could buy a cool drink or you could buy a sandwich
from any of the cafes there,
but you couldn't sit down and eat in their premises.
You would have to take your cool drink and your sandwich
and sit on the sidewalk,
or find a bench somewhere that says "non-whites", and sit on that.
It wasn't a pleasant way of life at all.
It was degrading. It was undignified.
Now in power, the nationalist government
enacted a series of racial segregation laws
that set it apart from the rest of the modern world.
South Africans were divided into four groups -
white, Asian, coloured and black.
Every person's race was recorded in the National Register,
and the Group Areas Act enforced separate residential zones for different races.
Throughout the country, apartheid was absolute.
Black people were forcibly relocated to rural homelands,
desolate, economically unsustainable areas.
The only source of employment was as guest workers in white cities,
where they were confined to drab townships and single-sex hostels.
Their every movement was restricted by the notorious pass laws,
requiring them to carry a pass book at all times.
Whites could only marry whites.
The Immorality Act made sex between different races a crime.
I'm Jackie Haines, coloured, and a local journalist here.
Perfectly happy, except that I can't live where I want to,
I can't work where I want to, I can't go to the school that I want to,
and I can't marry the girl I want to.
As South Africa strengthened ties with Western powers
and became the wealthiest African nation,
it only increased its oppression of the non-white majority.
Conditions for blacks deteriorated.
A new generation of leaders emerged
and embarked on their long campaign for freedom.
I'm a man of confidence.
I've got terrific confidence in doing things.
Oliver made me feel it more.
Nelson made me feel it more.
It was necessary
to condition people for hard times,
so that nothing came to us as a surprise.
Sisulu, Mandela and Tambo proposed mass civil disobedience,
which they'd seen used to stunning effect by South Africa's Indian population.
The idea of non-violent resistance had been developed by Mahatma Gandhi
while he was living in South Africa at the beginning of the century.
The ANC joined with the South African Indian Congress
in their first combined campaign.
Coming together with the Gandhis
showed us that you could very well
bring the enemy down non violently.
In 1952, in the largest display of non-violent resistance ever seen in South Africa,
Chief Albert Luthuli led the ANC's first mass action, the Defiance Campaign,
alongside their compatriots from the South African Indian Congress.
There were 21 of us in the first batch of volunteers,
to the launch of the Defiance Campaign.
I was one of the 21.
So we marched - chanting, singing -
until we reached the railway station,
where we walked into the Europeans-only sitting accommodation.
The police, of course, took us all in.
Now, Boksburg Jail mostly had African prisoners there in the past,
so there was no way they could segregate us,
because they didn't have the facilities,
so we all had to live together, which was very nice.
For the first time in my life, I could sleep with other nationalities in the same room!
The Defiance Campaign was not successful in changing the law,
but it brought together South Africa's non-white population
in the struggle against apartheid.
We were strengthened - intellectually and spiritually.
We were reinforced against the system of oppression.
The African National Congress, in December,
decided to call all people in South Africa
to participate in the Congress of the People,
to demonstrate that both black and white can live together.
This culminates in the adoption of the Freedom Charter,
based largely on the Charter of the United Nations.
The Freedom Charter called for nothing less than a multiracial democracy
which would dismantle apartheid.
This, for the first time,
lays the foundations for a democratic South Africa.
But the government would not surrender white supremacy so easily.
Little did we realise
that the state was actually plotting a massive case against us.
It was at about two in the morning when there was a knock at the door.
They showed me the warrant where it said
that I was required to face charges of high treason.
I said, "What?!"
Ultimately, we were all - all 136 - arrested together.
Being in jail together.
When we received the paper the following morning at the Johannesburg Central Prison,
the banner headline screamed that the sentence for treason was death.
As protests spread throughout South Africa,
their plight came to the attention of Canon John Collins.
I was travelling in the train to the north of England
and read in the evening paper that all the leadership of the ANC
had been arrested and were on a charge of such a nature
that they obviously were asking for the death penalty.
And so I felt so moved by this that as soon as I had an opportunity
I sent a telegram.
And so John said, "We will guarantee to raise a fund
"to pay all the legal expenses and to look after the wives
and families of the men on trial."
This was our first serious intervention in South Africa.
To my astonishment, it poured in.
I didn't think it would. I thought I'd have a terrible job to get it. But it poured in.
I said, "Please, feel free to get the best barristers."
The treason trial would drag on another four years
with legal support at every stage from Collins' fund.
Gradually, defendants were acquitted as the prosecution's evidence
proved more and more unconvincing.
They couldn't convict these people
because there was simply no evidence at all.
So, in the end they were ALL freed.
This was our one big success. Every single one was acquitted.
As, one by one, the ANC leadership walked free,
the trial had demonstrated the value of outside help.
They called on the international community
to support their struggle to overthrow apartheid.
Just as the world went to war in defence of democracy, they say,
so the world must come out in defence of democratic values
in South Africa.
Not necessarily by harming but by using pressure.
Do you think Great Britain is doing enough to help find the solution?
Well, we appreciate what Great Britain is doing but,
quite frankly, it is not enough.
The British were deeply...
racist, many of them, without realising it.
They would deny it furiously.
But they instinctively assumed that Africa would never equal the white,
intellectually or in any other way.
More in hope than expectation in 1959,
Chief Lutuli called on Britain to boycott South African goods.
He simply said that this boycott idea
is not one where we're asking you to do a lot.
All we're saying
is withdraw your support from apartheid,
don't buy South African goods.
One always met the argument that if you boycott goods of South Africa,
you'll hurt first the poor man in the street,
which is sheer hypocrisy because they're the ones saying, "Do it.
"Anything to get this evil off our backs."
But the boycott started initially by small groups demonstrating outside shops
soon spread to the continent.
Everybody was glad for the opportunity to do something,
even if it was negative - NOT buying South African goods.
But even that was something.
We were at the beginning of discovering South Africa,
discovering its problems.
Over the following decades, the boycott grew and grew.
Can you imagine
generating a movement where, for 35 years,
people were boycotting South Africa goods?
In 1959, there were a few hundred people taking part in the boycott.
By 1988, 29 million.
One of the significant points of the campaign
was that British journalists and the public
were asking WHY boycott South Africa?
So journalists were sent to South Africa to do reports.
It just so happens that journalists were present in South Africa in March, 1960.
That year in the township of Sharpeville,
South African history would change forever.
We were supposed, on that day,
to order our people to leave their passes at home.
March peacefully but in a very military fashion.
By now, passes had become the most hated instrument of apartheid.
All movements of the black man are controlled.
Failure to obey the pass laws is punishable by fine or imprisonment.
The white man may not carry his card
but if the black man does not, he is arrested.
In direct defiance of these laws,
thousands of blacks left their passbooks at home
and presented themselves at police stations to be arrested.
They were led by a new organisation, the Pan-Africanist Congress.
People were kept down because they were afraid.
They were afraid of going to jail.
We decided that we must break the idea of fear.
By late morning, 7,000 peaceful unarmed marchers reached the police station in Sharpeville.
That was a shock.
They shot so many people. I mean, 69!
And...they shot their backs.
Which means they were running away and the police were shooting them.
That news reverberated throughout the whole world,
with those horrible pictures of a massacre.
This photograph in Sharpeville,
this famous one of victims lying on the ground.
That was splashed all over the front page.
And that, I think, was a turning point for many people,
suddenly realising what was going on in South Africa.
At last, the world sat up and took notice.
From the United States to the Vatican,
across Europe and every other country in Africa,
the outrages of apartheid could no longer be ignored.
The United Nations condemned the police action
and called on South Africa to abandon apartheid.
The South African Government's response was swift and uncompromising.
And the very next day, there was a state of emergency declared.
They were clamping down heavily. We could see it and feel it.
They had banned and house-arrested hundreds and hundreds of people.
DOG BARKS AND PEOPLE SCREAM
One night, I think it was about two o'clock, I heard a knock at the door.
And there were many of us.
And the entire leadership of the province
and the national leadership in the area,
it ALL went to jail.
'The strong arm of the South African Government.
'The police raids and the mass round-ups have been crushingly effective.
'The anti-passbook campaign has been stifled,
'the control system is being fully restored.'
Outwardly, everything is calm again.
The last remnants of negro resistance are being stamped out or frightened underground.
The ANC looked for new ways to continue the struggle.
In order to keep the public outside the country informed,
it was important that one of us be outside the country
and we decided on Oliver Tambo doing that.
He was a diplomat and a courageous man.
We sent him away precisely because
we wanted to save him.
We wanted him to plan the revolution.
He must continue as he would have done.
No-one but Oliver would mobilise adequate support for the struggle.
What we want is that our humanity should be acknowledged
in South Africa.
I should feel that I'm a human being in that country.
And I don't feel so now, at all.
I feel I'm a stranger, a foreigner and, at best, erm,...
an animal in South Africa. This is how I feel.
Now in exile in London, Tambo began the gruelling work
of building a worldwide anti-apartheid movement.
He would not return home to South Africa for 30 years.
I think that the first year
must have been a horrendous one
which even I, as living in Britain, I don't think I appreciate it.
There were no resources at that time.
Literally, he through himself into this with no funds
from which to say, "Here's your support."
There were times when he was without food,
without the kind of basic needs people had,
but you could never see it on him.
He was always impeccably dressed, took great care
and just carried this enormous amount of dignity
in terms of the mission and the cause that he had.
He had no infrastructure to turn to and he had to
create a mechanism to get all those resources
and where could OR turn for that help?
Oliver came to us and said, could we help him
find offices and set up an organisation, which we did.
He had immense personal charm. He was a very, very warm human.
I mean, you just couldn't help loving him.
He really put the ANC on the international map.
So, if you really want the architect
of the South African transition,
then it's Oliver Tambo.
With almost no money and no influence at all
with western governments,
Tambo looked to the rest of Africa for help.
He saw the need to begin to mobilise the support in
a structured way, but that he would not focus exclusively on Britain.
His view was, to do that work, he needed to get
to the African continent. To build support within Africa
to confront the western countries.
Africa was going through major
For centuries, Africa had been ruled by Europeans.
In 1957, Ghana had thrown off colonial rule.
We must realise that, from now on, we are no more a colonial
but a free and independent people.
Dozens of African nations followed.
In 1960, Tambo's first year in exile,
17 African countries gained their independence.
It was really a time of great idealism.
Most of our countries had just come out of
a long, difficult, independence struggle
and most of the leaders where, in a sense,
the fathers of this independence.
Therefore, when they became head of state,
they continued to have that kind of idealism.
Julius Nyerere, the liberation leader of Tanzania,
welcomed exiles and organisations
from across the African continent.
Dar es Salaam soon became the city
at the centre of Africa's transformation.
Tambo set up the first ANC office in exile and began networking.
We met in Dar es Salaam. For one thing,
we were not strangers to each other
because we had worked together in the past.
We left on a mission to seek aid from the African states.
I'm talking of material aid for the struggle
and diplomatic support of the African states.
We didn't meet one person who said, "There's nothing I can do about it."
All people, solid African people, solid. Solid everywhere, really.
With the whole continent behind him, Oliver Tambo
now turned his attention to the British Commonwealth,
where the former African colonies
were becoming a force to be reckoned with.
In London last week, the dozen met -
several of them wanted by the South African police -
met in secret to launch a campaign throughout the Commonwealth.
Their aim, to guarantee the meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers
will exclude the New Republic Of South Africa
so long as the policies of apartheid are enforced.
Our policy is one...
which is called by an Afrikaans word - apartheid.
And I'm afraid that has been misunderstood so often.
It could just as easily, and perhaps much better, be described
as a policy of good neighbourliness.
Seven of the Prime Ministers are bitterly opposed to Dr Verwoerd's
policy of apartheid. After all, six of them have coloured skins themselves
and in South African, they wouldn't even be allowed
into the same restaurant as Dr Verwoerd.
Dr Verwoerd, when he arrived, described apartheid as,
"a policy of good neighbourliness."
Is that description acceptable to you?
I should like to be Dr Verwoerd's neighbour, that's all I can say.
When Nehru got to London, Tambo and myself, we went to see him.
That is when I was really impressed by Mr Nehru.
Yes, and I do see him as a towering figure.
And not as angry as we were.
We were going haywire and Mr Nehru was very cool, very collected.
He said, "We are going to fight."
Down with apartheid!
But the British Prime Minister, at the time, Harold MacMillan,
stood in their way.
The British government was supporting South Africa in the United Nations
voting against the resolution that condemned
her policies of apartheid.
The hypocrisy of Mr MacMillan makes me...
makes shudders go up my spine.
Barbara Castle began to work on a very imaginative idea
that since 72 people killed at Sharpeville,
a vigil around the building of the Commonwealth conference
with 72 public personalities standing vigil
for 72 hours.
Oh, it took some organising cos we had to make it news worthy.
So we wrote to Bishops and famous actors and writers,
MPs, journalists, and asked them if they'd give us two hours
standing day and night outside Lancaster House.
I remember to morning of the opening of the conference,
standing there absolutely silent
while the cars, the big limousines drove by
and they all stared at us out of the window.
And I believe we did give backbone to that conference.
But before the conference had a chance to vote South Africa out,
MacMillan and Verwoerd had a quiet conversation.
South Africa voluntarily withdrew, saving Britain
from a major confrontation with other members of the Commonwealth.
What we were trying to do, was to make the nationalists
in South Africa feel as though they were isolated by world opinion.
But Harold MacMillan was frightened of the big British
industrial and financial interests and investments in South Africa
and he muddied the waters.
MacMillan's curious behaviour enabled Verwoerd
to go back and tell his people,
"don't worry, we've still got friends in Britain."
That really was a tragedy because
apartheid was hostile to every western value.
It was the absence of democracy,
it was a police state and tyranny,
it was racism in its most blatant form...
and, yet, the west aligned itself with South Africa
by refusing to condemn it.
It took a long time for the world, especially the western world
to become sensitive to the problem of racism.
They had a great deal of trade with South Africa.
And these economic relations build up their own lobbies.
There were chambers of commerce and others who were powerful
and who had access to parliament members, minister and so on.
It was therefore very important that we break down
that attitude, that mentality.
For that reason then, we had to have friends everywhere.
Where it was difficult to approach a government
We, the oppressed, are determined to succeed.
The forces aligned against us
are mighty and powerful
and it is only the spirit of our determination
supported by the freedom loving people who love democracy
that we can ultimately succeed.
But as Tambo set about building western support for
isolating the apartheid regime, in South Africa
the ANC decided on a new strategy.
It is useless and futile
for us to continue talking peace and non-violence
against a government whose reply is only savage attacks
On an unarmed and defenceless people.
Mandela and the ANC leaders launched their armed struggle
by bombing power lines outside Johannesburg.
It was a dramatic shift from their principles of peaceful resistance.
After the banning of the ANC and the PAC, there was also no way
in which the people of South Africa had any avenue of peaceful protest.
Mandela slipped out of South Africa
and flew to London to persuade Tambo to accept the new strategy.
Oliver Tambo himself was a devout Christian. So was Adelaide.
So this was going to be a radical shift in their thinking,
and Oliver said,
"I don't want to be having to explain this to Adelaide Tambo, my wife.
"You, Nelson, Mandela, come and explain it.
"Because you chaps at home have taken a decision that is moving us
"out of the paradigm in which we've been thinking.
"And you better come and persuade her so that in my own family
"I have the space to do what I'm doing
"and she won't be questioning why I'm doing it."
Mandela did finally convince the Tambos that armed struggle
was both essential and unavoidable.
Now Oliver had to convince the world.
What we are asking the world to do is not to
solve our problems for us, but to assist us solve those problems.
We have tried to ask that that assistance should be given
in such a way that we can solve the problems peacefully.
That has not been forthcoming.
And we are continuing to try
and solve the problems within methods that are available to us.
And the stage that has been reached is that the methods
that are available to us now
are those which we have tried to resist over a long period of time.
They are the methods of violence.
That was very tricky for us, very tricky,
because John was really a pacifist.
They never intended to kill people, they would do their best not to,
but they recognised that there might be casualties.
And would Defence and Aid still continue to defend them
and look after their families?
John felt that whatever people had done,
they were entitled to as fair a trial as the law would allow,
and their families shouldn't be allowed to suffer.
So in the end we said, yes, we would continue.
The ANC's campaign of sabotage continued.
But those were amateur efforts.
They were not powerful enough to affect
the structures of the Nationalist Party.
When Mandela returned to South Africa, the police were waiting.
He was arrested for incitement and illegally leaving the country.
Before the year was out,
the entire ANC leadership was under arrest and charged with sabotage.
Mm, so the game was up.
I expected we would be hanged.
There was no question really about their guilt.
They accepted that they'd taken on sabotage.
They hadn't done very much, they'd blown up a few things.
So everybody said, "Yeah, there is no escape.
"These people ARE going to die."
That led to the Rivonia Trial which was paid for entirely by us.
Well, we were horrified, of course.
And of course, protest meetings were held in Britain.
We stand here because of the millions of men
and women in South Africa who are forced to live
all their lives in the concentration camp of colour.
And we say that their will to be free is OUR will.
Their struggle OUR struggle.
Till their triumph too may be ours.
The day Nelson gave evidence, it was so terrible to watch.
The idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons
live together in harmony and with equal opportunities,
it is an idea
for which I hope to live for
and to see realised.
But, my Lord, if it needs be,
it is an idea for which I am prepared to die.
That made everybody shiver.
look at the judge
and I find that the judge is shaking.
And I say, "Well, the only thing that would make a judge shake
"is he knows that they are going to be sentenced to death."
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr U Thant,
wrote a letter to Verwoerd in South Africa to say that,
If you in South Africa go ahead and demand the death penalty
and execute the Rivonia triallists, that is Nelson Mandela
and the others, then it'll be impossible
for the international community
to resist the pressures for economic sanctions.
The crime of which the accused have been convicted,
the crime of conspiracy, is in essence one of high treason.
Giving the matter very serious consideration,
I have decided not to impose the supreme penalty
which in a case like this would usually be the proper penalty.
People were weeping with joy that they had not received
the death sentence.
A life sentence for the Rivonia triallists
was one of the biggest boosts to us in the underground, giving us
a sense that we could go on fighting and we would win one day.
As a result of this life sentence on your husband and his friends,
have you lost hope?
I shall never lose hope and my people shall never lose hope.
In fact, we expect that the work will go on.
Now, nearly all the responsibility of carrying out the ANC's
worldwide strategy fell to Tambo.
And none of the European countries, nor the United States,
provided any support.
Not only would they not give arms to the liberation movement,
they would not even tolerate the idea the liberation movement
had the right to take up arms.
At the same time, it is a fact also that they are providing arms
to the apartheid regime.
The South African military machine was becoming stronger
and stronger and stronger.
One other option remained.
Apartheid was an insult.
It was intolerable and unacceptable for the Soviet Communists
who saw it as a manifestation of the class struggle
and class exploitation, but in an extreme, absolutely intolerable way.
Oliver arrived in Moscow in April 1963.
He combined great political maturity
with an iron will in the pursuit of his political objectives.
Tambo asked for weapons, military training,
supplies and support for training bases in Africa.
Within months, he'd got it all.
Africa was regarded as one of the areas
of the National Liberation Zone.
To use the terminology of those days,
it was considered to be a part of anti-imperialist struggle.
All cooperation with the ANC was growing.
Any success of the liberation movement which would weaken
the dependence on the Western powers would be helpful to
the Soviet Union as well.
But Soviet aid would cost the ANC dear.
The Americans were that afraid of Communists.
And they saw a Communist under any bed or in their drawer.
Everybody whom they couldn't understand was a Communist.
Mr Tambo, a large number of the members of the ANC
who are active operationally have been trained in the Soviet Union.
-Is that true?
-Yes, that is true.
The question is, what conclusion should we draw from that?
The only conclusion you can draw is that the Soviet Union has been
willing to assist us with the kind of assistance we want.
If the same young men had gone to Canada to learn how to shoot,
how to handle a weapon, how to fight,
we would say that Canada is ready to support us to win our independence.
But the reason we go there is not to ask to be influenced by Canada,
by the Soviet Union.
We ask to be assisted with a struggle that we started a long time ago.
Soviet backing would cost the ANC
the support of most Western governments.
Tambo now found himself trapped in the crossfire of the Cold War.
But some Western leaders remained fiercely independent.
-Olof Palme came to a regional meeting
of his Social Democratic Party as an international celebrity.
He was famous for having infuriated Washington by marching
alongside Hanoi's ambassador in a Stockholm
demonstration against the United States.
Palme stood up for his and neutral Sweden's right to criticise
Washington or any other superpower.
We protested very strongly
against the Berlin Wall,
against the Soviet invasion in Czechoslovakia.
Nobody in the West said that we were neutral then.
Neutrality doesn't condemn a small country like ours to be quiet.
I first me him at his home.
He was having a party for his children.
I'd gone to see him to get him to arrange an appointment for me
with the then Prime Minister.
We became friends from that moment onwards.
In 1969, Olaf Palme was elected Prime Minister of Sweden
and within months, he would provide crucial support to the ANC.
If people like Olaf Palme
who helped tremendously
to make the struggle in South Africa not seen in terms of colour,
that people understood it's the struggle for dignity, a struggle
where humanity was involved.
With Olaf Palme's help, Tambo won the backing of Sweden and other Nordic countries.
They would give the ANC financial support for the next 25 years.
Now, Tambo set out to enlist the help of one of the world's most powerful institutions -
the Christian Church.
He turned to an old friend, the British priest Father Trevor Huddleston.
What's the good of preaching a gospel,
which has no relevance to the living conditions of people?
That is what politics is.
Of course we've got to be involved in politics.
Christ was a highly-political figure.
Trevor Huddleston had run a mission school for blacks in Johannesburg
from 1943 for 13 years,
in defiance of apartheid laws.
There, Oliver Tambo had worked for him as a teacher.
We were together at St Peter's.
We talked to one another as if we were equals.
But he was white. He was a priest.
We had not had anything like this.
# Amen. #
Now as a boy of about nine,
when this white man in a flowing cassock and a huge sombrero
and he doffed his hat to my mother.
That struck me as incredibly odd.
A white man, doffing his hat to my mother, who was just a domestic worker,
It spoke volumes about this white man.
I am clear today that the only possible future for this country,
is the recognition of the fact that white supremacy is finished.
Father Huddleston's views were in stark contrast
to many white South African Christians.
Would you explain to me the scriptural basis for apartheid?
Deuteronomy 32:8 where God says that he divided the nations.
A lot of Christians
were quite comfortable with the world as it was.
I suppose you know the old saying,
when the Europeans arrived in Africa, the Africans had the land and the Europeans had the Bible.
The Europeans said, "Let us pray." They closed their eyes.
When they opened their eyes, the Africans had the Bible and the Europeans had the land.
I believed that apartheid attacked everything Christianity stood for.
I was greatly influenced, therefore, by what Father Huddleston was doing.
Forced out of South Africa in 1956, like his friend Oliver Tambo,
Huddleston would spend the rest of his life fighting apartheid from afar.
He became involved with us.
This was a voice that was missing.
If there were more like him,
if there were hundreds more like him,
things would really move.
In 1969, Huddleston and Tambo took their cause to the World Council of Churches,
which represented thousands of Christian churches in 80 countries.
As it happened, the Council was dedicating its international conference that year
to the issue of racial injustice worldwide.
Oliver Tambo attended the meeting.
He was quite clearly
not the rabid terrorist that everybody tried to paint the ANC.
He was able to present the whole struggle in such a way
as apartheid has to be dealt with,
it has to be stopped.
I'm not a Christian...
..in the sense that I can tolerate exploitation and oppression and repression.
I don't believe in that kind of Christianity at all.
I believe in a Christianity, which defends justice.
In a programme to combat racism around the globe,
the World Council of Churches decided to give money directly
to local groups, which included armed liberation movements like the ANC.
Just money, which would be used
for organisations of black people, anywhere in the world,
who were trying to set up their own structures,
make their own voice heard and do their own thing.
It was explicitly said it should not be used for violent action.
There was then quite a vigorous debate in the churches.
If the World Council of Churches had just passed resolutions,
I don't think much would have changed but because they put their money where their mouth was,
that made the member churches back in Britain and in the other countries take this seriously.
People would get up and shout this was money for violence.
I would say, "We pay to these poor blokes 10,000 for education.
"When you give the money for education, they will take the money for education and use it for arms."
It was an incredible show of fear on the part of white people
who saw that a plural form of society was coming.
I don't think that any church should support means of violence of the kind
that some of these organisations, fighting against apartheid,
are guilty of.
I don't think the Church should ever be responsible for any bloodshed.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Michael Ramsey, said that he did not support the decision
of the World Council of Churches to give financial aid to terrorists.
The Church of England cut its grant to the World Council of Churches
because they had to show their displeasure with what the World Council was doing.
The controversy spread to churches around the world,
where the Council found an unlikely ally in South Africa itself.
We are not a pacifist church.
We are saying violence may be used by the white people against the black.
It may not be used by the black people against the white.
Surely there can be a just resistance to an evil system.
It's a difficult to equate a middle-aged Anglican clergyman with terrorism,
yet it is under the all-embracing Terrorism Act,
the most powerful weapon in of South Africa's security laws, that he was charged.
He has been accused of being party to the decision by the World Council of Churches
to send funds to guerrillas.
Conviction under South Africa's Terrorism Act could mean the death penalty.
He's been trying to put the Gospel into practice.
This is extremely difficult.
I think in South Africa
you can still say, within reason, what you want.
But if you try and practise what you say, you're liable to find yourself in trouble.
What has he done?
Among other things, he's distributed sums of money
to people in need,
to pay for schoolbooks,
various other things of a charitable nature,
which, under the Terrorism Act, is an offence.
Faced with prison or exile,
Ffrench-Beytagh, like so many before him, reluctantly left South Africa for England.
The controversy rumbled on but the World Council of Churches stood by its decision.
That problem Christians have, when a country declares war on another,
they are not problems.
-So the just war theory, you subscribe to?
It's perfectly just. We are under an obligation to end evil.
Oliver Tambo remained a terrorist in the eyes of the most powerful leaders in the West,
the United States and Britain.
But he now had an army of clergy on his side.
Over the next decades, church volunteers in their thousands
poured into the anti-apartheid movement.
South Africa's long walk to freedom had begun.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Ten years in the making, this series explores how a violent and racist government was destroyed by the concerted efforts of men and women working on multiple fronts inside and outside South Africa for more than three decades. Featuring archive of the struggle never seen before on television and interviews with the major players, it is one of the most fascinating stories of the last century.
In this opening episode, Oliver Tambo leads citizens of the world in their condemnation of South Africa's cruel and racist new regime. The world reacts with horror when protesters are gunned down in the town of Sharpeville and the entire ANC leadership is forced underground or imprisoned. Nelson Mandela is jailed for life and ANC deputy president Oliver Tambo escapes into exile, embarking on what will become a 30-year journey to engage the world in the struggle to bring democracy to South Africa. With resistance inside South Africa effectively crushed by the brutal apartheid regime, the fate of the liberation struggle is in Tambo's hands.