The 1980s were characterised by the most intense explosion of civic and student unrest that the country had ever known. In 1983 hundreds of anti-apartheid groups joined together to form the United Democratic Front (UDF).
Two years later the powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) was formed. Both the UDF and COSATU embraced the principle of non-racialism and broadly supported the aims of the ANC. Resistance to apartheid grew steadily both inside and outside South Africa. The government responded with new methods of repression and new kinds of reform. At the same time, larger sections of white society began to question the morality of apartheid.