About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.


The Black People's Convention is formed to co-ordinate the Black Consciousness movement.

Bophuthatswana, Ciskei and Lebowa are granted self-government status.

Military conscription for white youths is extended to one year.

Three important Black Consciousness Organisations were established:

1)The Black People's Convention (BPC) - was established to act as an umbrella body to coordinate its adherents, as the black consciousness had an immediate appeal for thousands of black South Africans. Although it was not organisation, it initiated a number of bodies that advocated its philosophy;

2)Black Community Project (BPC)-Designed to spread a political message through example. The project was involved in the assessment of the needs of the community and helped members of that community to identify their problems and also to put forward their own solutions.

3)South African Students' Movement (SASM). As a result of a break away from NUSAS. At this stage SASO (South African Students' Organisation) internal organisation and communication with its member campuses proved remarkably strong. The SASO Newsletter's circulation had reached 4000 by 1972, and its issues appeared regularly. The conferences were well organised and the attendance lively, there were also feelings of intense loyalty and even hero worship towards the organisation's top leadership, and deliberate and very flourishing efforts were also made to identify and indoctrinate promising new cadres at every prospect. As a result, a momentous percentage of the African intelligentsia and middle-class-to-be of the 1970s and beyond was at a level of political education and ideological dispersion never before achieved by any black political organisation. It was thus evident that in a remarkably short time SASO had become the most politically significant black organisation in the country.

The Chatsworth train boycott, a public stance on foreign investment attracted more attention to the Black People's Convention.

1972 - 1977

Between 1972 and 1977, all the homelands were given self-government similar to that of the Transkei (Dugard 1978: 91). All enactments of the Legislative Assemblies of the homelands required the approval of the State President of the Republic of South Africa.


Bophuthatswana, Ciskei and Lebowa proclaimed a self-governing territories.

Marriage Act No 4:

Created a local marriage recognition regime, distinct from that of South Africa.

Commenced: 19 April 1973

Lillian Ngoyi's banning order lapses.

12 January 1972

The Paramount Chief of the Zulus, Prince Goodwill Zwelitbini, is officially removed as a member of the Zulu Legislative Assembly by an amendment to the Constitution. His position henceforth will be similar to that of the State President.

27 January 1972

Signs Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

28 January 1972

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that South Africa will not attend the African session of the United Nations Security Council in Addis Ababa. It is not a member and the circumstances are not exceptional enough to request permission to do so.

2 February 1972

An abridged version of the security report by Justice H.J. Potgieter's Commission of Inquiry on State Security is submitted to the House of Assembly. The report finds that South Africa's security is being threatened by numerous enemies in almost every sphere of society.

4 February 1972

At the United Nations Security Council's Special Session on Colonialism and Racial Injustice in Southern Africa in Addis Ababa, a resolution is adopted condemning the government for its racial policies and calling for strict adherence by all states to the arms embargo.

The Prime Minister states in the House of Assembly in Cape Town that the United Nations General-Secretary, Dr. Waldheim, will be welcome and the government is willing to discuss with him, inter alia, black self-determination.

4 February 1972

The Security Council, meeting in Addis Ababa, adopted resolution 311 (1972) condemning apartheid; recognising the legitimacy of the struggle of the oppressed people of South Africa; calling upon South Africa to release all those imprisoned as a result of apartheid; calling upon all States to observe strictly the arms embargo against South Africa; urging governments and individuals to contribute to UN funds to assist victims of apartheid; and commending organisations and individuals assisting in the education and training of South Africans. The vote was 14 in favour and one abstention (France).

10 February 1972

The United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Waldheim, announces in New York that he has received a formal invitation to visit South Africa for discussions without pre-conditions.

11 February 1972

The House of Assembly approves, by eighty-six votes to forty-three, a motion to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into and report upon the objects, organization, activities, financing and related matters of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS), the South African Institute of Race Relations, the University Christian Movement (UCM), the Christian Institute of Southern Africa and their subordinate organizations.

15 February 1972

The Department of Bantu Development is planning for the consolidation of the 'homelands' by buying land in terms of the 1936 legislation.

21 February 1972

The Chairman of the South African Coloured Peoples Representative Council reports that the Prime Minister favours Coloureds gradually taking over all posts in the administration of coloured affairs.

25 February 1972

Signs extradition agreement with Malawi.

29 February 1972

Certificates of citizenship in the 'homelands' are to be issued by seven homeland authorities in their respective capitals in terms of the Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act of 1970.

March 1972

The United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Kurt Waldheim, initiates discussions on the future of Namibia during a five-day visit to South Africa.

4 March 1972

Dr. Basil Moore, Johannesburg Methodist Minister, staff member of the Christian Institute and acting Secretary of the University Christian Movement, is restricted for five years under the Suppression of Communism Act,

The largest single construction work undertaken in South Africa, the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam on the Orange River, is officially opened by State President Fouché.

The United Party scores significant victories in municipal elections in Johannesburg and Randburg, continuing a noticeable swing against the National Party.

6 March 1972

The Democratic Party, formed by a splinter group from the National Party, indicates that it represents a coalition of the policies of the National, United and Progressive parties, and outlines its proposed reforms. These include granting the African population representation on municipal councils on the same basis as the white population.

8 March 1972

Suppression of Communism Amendment Act No 2:

Amended provisions regarding the participation of certain persons in the activities of certain organisations as well as ministerial powers regarding the registration of newspapers.

Commenced: 8 March 1972

Repealed by s 73(1) of the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982.

16 March 1972

The Head of the Security Police, General Venter, reports that nobody is still being held incommunicado under the Terrorism Act, and that all those people detained by the Security Police have now been released. However investigations continue.

17 March - 24 March 1972

President Fouché pays a state visit to Malawi and appeals for peaceful co-existence and cooperation between African states. An extradition agreement between the two countries is published in Pretoria on 24 March 1972.

29 March 1972

South Africa:Signs treaty with Brazil on the issue of avoiding double taxation on profits derived from shipping and aviation.

April 1972

A Legislative Assembly for Vendaland opens for the first time.

April - June 1972

Serious student unrest occurs at both black and white English-language universities leading to forceful police action against demonstrators in Cape Town, Johannesburg and elsewhere. Of the total 618 persons arrested in connection with student protests all those tried in court, for various alleged offences, are acquitted - except one student fined R50 for addressing a meeting.

1 April 1972

The names of the four 'homelands' are changed: from Basotho ha Borwa (Southern Sotho) to Basotho-Qwaqwa; from Tswanaland to Bophuthatswana; from Machangana to Gazankulu; from Zululand to Kwazulu.

Under its new constitution Kwazulu Territorial Authority becomes Kwazulu Legislative Assembly. Its members undertake to honour and respect the State President and the Paramount Chief, but do not swear allegiance to the South African government and the Zulu royal family is denied executive powers.

5 April 1972

South Africa:Signs additional articles relevant to the constitution of the Universal Postal Union.

6 April 1972

In the Natal Supreme Court in Pietermaritzburg, at the end of the longest trial of its kind in South Africa, thirteen defendants (nine Africans, two Indians and two Coloureds) are sentenced to imprisonment from five to eight years for contravening the Terrorism Act. They are found guilty of conspiring to overthrow the government by force.

10 April 1972

South Africa:Signs multilateral treaty on the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological and toxic weapons and their destruction.

14 April 1972

The appeal by the Anglican Dean, the Very Rev. Gonville Aubie ffrench-Beytagh, against his conviction and sentence under the Terrorism Act is upheld in the Appellate Division of the South African Supreme Court in Bloemfontein. The Dean thereupon leaves South Africa for Britain on the same day.

19 April 1972

The National Party increases its majority in the Oudtshoorn by-election. In the campaign heavy emphasis is placed on the dangers of the United Party race policies.

4 May 1972

The Foreign Minister announces that South Africa and Lesotho have decided to establish reciprocal consular representation.

The Transkei Legislative Assembly requests independence for the Transkei, subject to the inclusion of additional white areas.

24 May 1972

The Security Intelligence and State Security Council Bill is adopted defining the functions and duties of the Bureau of State Security (BOSS), and setting up a State Security Council, with the Prime Minister as Chairman, to advise government on national policy and strategy on security. It has the support of both opposition parties.

The first hijacking of a South African Airways plane takes place on a flight to Malawi. The two men responsible are subsequently apprehended and tried.

June 1972

A sixteen day inquest at the Regional Court in Johannesburg concludes that A.E. Timol, a political detainee who fell to his death from the tenth floor of a building while in police custody, committed suicide, and nobody is held accountable.

1 June 1972

Bophuthatswana is granted self government

South Africa:Signs multilateral treaty on the conservation of Antarctic seals.

2 June 1972

Student protest erupts into violence outside St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town. Force is used to dispel demonstrators.

2 June 1972

Admission of Persons to the Republic Regulation Act No 59:

Consolidated the laws relating to prohibited persons and to the admission of persons to the Republic or any of its provinces.

Commenced: 2 June 1972

Repealed by s 60 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.

6 June 1972

A proclamation is issued tinder the Riotous Assemblies Act banning political gatherings, processions, and protests for five weeks in the Cape, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and thirteen other places.

7 June 1972

The Chief Executive Councillor of Kwazulu, Chief Buthelezi, condemns plans to consolidate Zululand in terms of the 1936 Trust and Land Act.

12 June 1972

The Post Office Amendment Bill provides for the interception of mall and telephone and other communications where necessary in the interests of state security. Only the Progressive Party member, Helen Suzman, votes against it.

14 June 1972

Security Intelligence and State Security Council Act No 64:

Commenced: 14 June 1972

Repealed by s 7 of the National Strategic Intelligence Act No 39 of 1994.

16 June 1972

The resignation of the Minister of the Interior, Theo Gerdener, is announced and will take effect from 31 July 1972.

The government gives its details of its proposals to consolidate 157 'black spots' and sixty eight Zulu areas into a homeland. Kwazulu will be consolidated as rapidly as possible. However, Chief Gatsha Buthelezi rejects these plans.

23 June 1972

The Malagasy Foreign Minister declares that his country is going to reconsider its policy of dialogue with South Africa.

27 June 1972

South Africa suspends any further dealing with the Malagasy government.

1 July 1972

Gazankulu holds its first General Assembly.

12 July 1972

A new black political party, the Black People's Convention is formed after a three-day conference in Pietermaritzburg. The objective of the Convention is to unite South African blacks into a political organization seeking to realize their liberation and emancipation from both psychological and physical oppression. It is open only to black members.

14 July 1972

The Minister of Defence, P.W. Botha, announces that Coloureds are to have their own defence force units undergoing twelve months voluntary national service, to be called the South African State Corps Special Service Battalion.

31 July 1972

The Prime Minister announces that, following the resignation of five members of the Cabinet, he has reorganized his government.

South Africa:Signs amendment to the trade agreement of 20 August 1932 with Great Britain.

1 August 1972

The Ciskei is given self-government. Chief Justice Mabandla becomes Chief Minister, and the heads of the territory's six departments become Ministers. The following day Mabandla makes a huge land claim asking for all the white-owned land between the Kei and the Fish Rivers in the Eastern Cape and between the coast and the Orange River

5 August 1972

The state-owned Atlas Aircraft Corporation is to build an advanced subsonic fighter to be airborne in 1974. Also during the next eighteen months the first Mirage F-I supersonic interceptors being built under licence from France will be in service with the South African Air Force.

7 August 1972

Chief Matanzima (Transkei) outlines proposals for the creation of Xhosaland a new black super-state to include the Transkei, Ciskei and white-owned land between the Fish and Kei Rivers, and East Griqualand.

10 August 1972

Naval Headquarters at Simonstown announce that the second series of joint British South African exercises off the Cape Coast will begin on 14 August 1972 and will continue for seven days.

11 August 1972

The Minister of Bantu Administration and Development declares that no more land will be allocated to the 'homelands' other than that stipulated in the 1936 Land Act.

18 August 1972

The first four Bantu Affairs Administration Boards are gazetted. They are intended to facilitate centralized administrative control and improved mobility of labour.

25 August 1972

Harry Schwarz wins the Transvaal party leadership of the United Party (UP) from Marais Steyn.

12 September 1972

Dr. H. Muller is elected as the National Party's leader in the Transvaal, following the resignation of B. Schoeman. His election is considered to make him the successor-designate to John Vorster as Prime Minister.

28 September 1972

Proposals for the consolidation of 'homelands' in the Transvaal which will have the effect of reducing twenty six or twenty-seven specified areas to nine are announced. The purchase of white-owned land, involving a total of 310,000 hectares, for addition to black areas is a long and difficult task.

1972 - 1973

October - February

A wave of strikes by black workers begins in the autumn of 1972 and escalates dramatically in the first months of 1973, the main centre of unrest being Durban.

2 October 1972

Lebowa, the Northern Sotho 'homeland', becomes the fourth 'homeland, with Bheshego as its temporary capital. Under its new have constitution there will be a cabinet consisting of a Chief Minister and five other Ministers. External affairs, defence and communications will continue to be controlled by the South African government.

20 October 1972

Lebowa proclaimed a self-governing territory.

25 October 1972

The International Monetary Fund announces it has concurred in a proposal by the government for a change in the par value of the Rand representing a 4.202 percent devaluation in relation to gold but an effective appreciation of Great about 4 percent in comparison with the current market exchange of the Rand.

1 November 1972

At the end of a lengthy trial in the Supreme Court in Pretoria, four Indians Chief are convicted of conspiracy under the Terrorism Act and sentenced to a minimum of five years imprisonment. Their intention was the violent overthrow of the system of government.

2 November 1972

The first session of the newly elected Bophuthatswana Legislative Assembly is opened in Mafeking by President Fouché.

15 November 1972

The United Nations General Assembly passes six resolutions in plenary denouncing the government's apartheid policy and various aspects of that policy. Each resolution is sponsored by some fifty African, Asian and Communist countries, the various resolutions receiving in every case over 100 votes in favour, being opposed by South Africa and Portugal and abstentions varying from one to twenty-one votes.

15 November 1972

In resolution 2923 E (XXVII), the General Assembly declared that "the United Nations has a vital interest in securing the speedy elimination of apartheid".

15 November 1972

In resolution 2923 E (XXVII), the General Assembly declared that "the United Nations has a vital interest in securing the speedy elimination of apartheid".

23 November 1972

Passports have been withdrawn from three white staff members of the joint Institute of Race Relations.

1 December 1972

South Africa:Signs treaty with Great Britain on air services (Hong Kong) via Seychelles.

South Africa:Signs amendment to an agreement regarding the establishment of civil air services with Great Britain.

2 December 1972

South Africa:Signs International Convention for Containers.

3 December 1972

Theo Gerdener resigns from the National Party on account of his involvement with Action South and Southern Africa (ACASA), an independent organization dedicated to better communication, which he '(UP) founded.

5 December 1972

It is announced that White, Coloured and Asian workers affiliated to the Trade Union Council of South Africa (TUCSA) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of extending full trade union rights to Africans. Minister of Labour Viljoen opposes it.

8 December 1972

South Africa:Signs treaty with Swaziland on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

16 December 1972

The Black People's Convention (BPC) holds its first National Congress. Its Constitution declares it intends to preach and popularize the philosophy of Black Consciousness and black solidarity.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to theThis resource is hosted by the site.