Apartheid Museum

Time to Act

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the UNITED DEMOCRATIC FRONT

By the early 1980s, the apartheid regime wanted to show it was changing – but without actually giving up any power. In 1982 President PW Botha announced a major new initiative, the Tricameral Parliament. Indian and coloured South Africans would be allowed to vote, but only for representatives in racially separate chambers of Parliament. There would be no votes for African people.

Activists responded by uniting local organisations opposed to apartheid. Where there were no organisations, they formed new ones. And then all these organisations were drawn together in 1983 under a common banner – the United Democratic Front (UDF). And so it was that hundreds of grassroots organisations banded together to oppose the Tricameral Parliament.

The UDF was a spectacular success, re-energising the struggle and mobilising millions of people. Like hundreds of fish swimming in a single formation, ordinary people had found a way to work together to take on the might of the apartheid government.

The UDF slogan – UDF Unites, Apartheid Divides! – became famous throughout the country.

This exhibition reflects on the hundreds of campaigns waged by the UDF through the media of the masses – resistance posters of the 1980s – and reflects on the lessons we can learn for our struggles today.

Ready to explore the exhibition? Secure your spot by booking your ticket here!