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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Trailing behind the Masses': The United Democratic Front (UDF) and Township Politics in the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vaal Region, 1983-1984
Author:Seekings, JeremyISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:United Democratic Front
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/2637183
Abstract:The formation of the UDF in South Africa in mid-1983 was followed in 1984 by an escalation of township protests, especially in the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vaal (PWV) region. The State attributed the revolt to the UDF, and in a series of major treason trials sought to convict its leadership and criminalize it. This article argues that during the period from 1983 to early 1985 the UDF had only an indirect impact on township politics in this region. The UDF's priorities during this period were national rather than local, focusing on the State's constitutional reforms and in particular the Tricameral Parliament. The UDF's first involvement in African townships in the PWV was during October and November 1983 when it supported locally organized meetings against local government elections. In December 1983 it organized a Million Signatures Campaign. Its impact, however, was ambiguous. Mainly due to organizational limitations, the UDF had little direct impact on day-to-day, local political organization and activity; but its indirect impact was probably great. Notes, ref., sum.