Civil Disobedience



Civildisobedience refers to process with which individuals engage in aprofessed and active refusal to obey specific laws, commands anddemands of a government or any occupying international power(Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility). It is asymbolized contravening of the law but it is not the rejection of thesystem as a whole. At certain instances civil disobedience is termedas nonviolent resistance C. Civil disobedience was employed by NelsonMandela in the fight against apartheid regime in South Africa. Thispractice played a great role in the fight against the oppressiveapartheid regime.


InSouth Africa the iconic struggle between the apartheid regime andthose who resisted led by the late Nelson Mandela, brings into coreone of the complex cases of civil resistance in the twentieth century(Pollockand Becker). Initially the use of civil resistance against apartheidregime advocated by Mandela was rooted on the Gandhian ideas. It wasfirst used in South Africa in 1906 by Gandhi while working for anIndian trading firm (Pollockand Becker). As a leader of the African National Congress (ANC)founded in 1912, Mandela used the party as a major force to fight theapartheid oppressive system that was undermining about 80%non-European population of the country (Pollockand Becker).

Mandeladuring the first four decades used legal tactics but later on in theearly 1950s engaged the regime using nonviolent direct action whichincluded the use of civil disobedience. During the apartheid regimethe white South Africans controlled the state and the economy whichincluded the South African rich natural resources, for instance thewhites controlled the third of the worlds known gold reserves(Pollockand Becker). The Afrikaners was exclusively excluded from politicaland economic power. However, the regime relied upon non-white laborand remained isolated from international diplomacy and trade (Pollockand Becker).

Whenthe legal tactics and the non-violent means of fighting theapartheid regime bore no fruits, Nelson Mandela encourage thenon-whites to involve Civil disobedience movement in partnership with revived Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) against the stateregulation in late 1950s (Pollock and Becker). The civildisobedience was limited to occasional bombings of governmentfacilities. Later civil disobedience led to the increased labormilitancy of the non-whites (

Early1970s witnessed onset of strikes among the workers, this from ofcivil disobedience exposed greatly the vulnerability of the regime.Because the apartheid regime relied on labor from blacks to maintainits economy, engaging in strikes affected significantly the economyand thus became a strong wakeup call for the whites to consider itsstands on the apartheid oppression(

Thestrikes indicated an increased widespread of discontent from theworkers against the regime, and Mandela and other party leadersmobilized the workers to disrupt the work which was keeping theregime in power. Through the help of Durban’s labor activists thestrike was inspired all over the country coupled by the studentuprising made the movement to level a strong resistance never sincebefore. These disruptions of the economic activities in the countryfinally led to the abolishment of the policy in 1992(Pollockand Becker).


Itis apparent that the advocacy of civil disobedience by Nelson Mandelafinally led to the abolishment of apartheid policy. A policy thathad significantly affected the progress of non-whites and leveraged agreat oppression that went for many years in South Africa. Therefore,it is the use of civil disobedience that helped South Africa attainsher independence in 1992.


MorningsideCenter for Teaching Social Responsibility,. `Nelson Mandela &amp TheFight Against Apartheid`. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.,.`Movements And Campaigns – Tactics – – TheAnti-Apartheid Struggle In South Africa (1912-1992)`. N.p., 2015.Web. 15 Oct. 2015.

Pollock,Joycelyn M., and Ronald F. Becker. `Law Enforcement Ethics: UsingOfficers` Dilemmas As A Teaching Tool`. Journal of Criminal JusticeEducation 6.1 (1995): 1-20. Web.