Today In Fact, 20 August

I was hanging about upper campus at the University of Cape Town back in 1983 with nothing much to do.

I was depressed by the political situation in South Africa. The then President PW Botha had just won an all-white referendum to introduce a tricameral parliamentary system into South Africa which would see the establishment of three different houses of parliament; one for Coloureds, one for Asians and one for Whites. Black South Africans were supposed to be represented in their respective “homelands”.

It was madness that needed a response.

One of my older student friends asked if I was keen to come along with him to an interesting meeting in Mitchells Plein. I knew it was something “political” and probably illegal. I was keen.

We drove through a bleak and rainy Cape Town to a large Marquee tent in a field next to Rocklands community hall. Inside were hundreds of people. We sang songs and heard speeches.

On this day in 1983, we formed the United Democratic Front, a broad-based non-racial coalition of Churches, civic groups and Unions.

We now live in a democratic South Africa, which goes to show that there are benefits to just roaming aimlessly and hanging out.

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer ( )