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The federation of South African women and aspects of urban women's resistance to the policies of racial segregation, 1950-1970

Abstract

M.A.The study purports to trace and analyse how African women used local structures in the 1950's and 1960's to seek redress against the policies of racial segregation. This study intends showing how African women have piloted local organisations during the period under review, how they resisted all attempts by the local municipal council to have women removed from the location and how women rejected the authority of the local boards. Protest movements and organisations, and the type of political activity women engaged in before the 1950's, have been largely ignored by the few writers who have considered the matter at all. This has resulted in the assumption that there were no women's activities prior to 1950. C. Kros wrote: "...(that) there is a general assumption that until the 1950's women were passive and took a back seat in all spheres except forone or two outbursts of activity, like for instance the resistance against the passes in the Free State in 1913." 3 The study purports to dispel the myth that African women were inactive prior to 1950: This study shows that the emergence of the squatter settlement in the late 1940's was spearheaded by African women who had nowhere to settle, except by pitching up shacks. By early 1940 urban workers found it increasingly difficult to obtain suitably priced residential accommodation as no new houses were built. The study will analyse how Sofasonke Mpanza, a member of the Orlando Advisory Board and the leader of the Sofasonke Mpanza Party, was able to win adherents to his party, the majority of whom were women and why African women in Orlando defied the Municipal Council's regulations and pitched up "shelters" which came to be known as the "Shanty Town"

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