Department of History



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March 9, 2017
Noor Nieftagodien, University of the Witwatersrand

"Vaal Burning: Reinterpreting the Anti-Pass Campaign of 1960 in South Africa"

The Sharpeville killings of 1960 marked a turning point in South Africa, inaugurating a period of intense repression. The anti-pass campaign that led to the police killing 69 protesters has mainly been interpreted through the lens of the events in the township of Sharpeville. This paper examines the neglected regional context and places the activism of young Africanists who operated from the nearby freehold location of Evaton at the centre of the anti-pass campaign, arguing that it was their politics and mobilization that defined this critical moment in the country’s history.