South African Republic1

Politically, the Union of South Africa was in a state of emergency from 1950 to 1960.2 White extremist Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd became prime minister on 2 September 1958 and, on 5 October 1960, the European contingent of the population voted in a referendum to sever South Africa’s last links with the British Empire and become a republic. On 31 May 1961, Queen Elizabeth II ceased to be the chief of state of South Africa.

In 1960, the African National Congress (ANC) Party decided to launch a campaign of protests against the pass laws, which had been in effect for all African citizens since the 1920s.3 These protests were to begin on 31 March 1960, but the rival Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) decided to pre-empt the ...

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