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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.



An asterisk* has been used to indicate that there is a cross reference to another entry in the glossary.

For extended information on these and other organisations that are germane to the political evolution of South Africa, click here.

Table of Contents


Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM)

Alliance (Tripartite Alliance)

African National Congress (ANC)

African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL)

Azanian People'S Liberation Army (APLA)

Afrikaner Volksfront (Afrikaner People's Front AVF)

Afrikaner Resistance Movement (Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, AWB)

Azanian People'S Organization (AZAPO)

Afrikaner Broederbond (League of Afrikaner Brothers)

Black Consciousness (BC)

Black Local Authorities

Constitutional Assembly (CA)

Convention For A Democratic South Africa (CODESA)

Congress Of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)

Conservative Party (CP)

Communist Party Of South Africa (CPSA)/ South African Communist Party (SACP)

Camps In Exile (ANC)

Coloured People'S Congress (CPC)

Congress Alliance

Congress Of Democrats (COD)

Defiance Campaign

Democratic Party (DP)

Dutch Reformed Church (DRC)

Freedom Charter

Frontline States

Herstigte Nasionale Party (Re-formed National Party, HNP)

Homelands (Bantustans)

Independent States


Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)


Labour Party (LP)

Liberal Party

Mass Democratic Movement (MDM)


Multi-Party Nogotiating Forum (MPNF)

Natal Indian Congress

National Party (NP)

National Union Of South African Students (NUSAS)

Non-European Unty Movement (NEUM)

Ossewa-Brandwag (Afrikaans, Oxwagon Sentinel) (OB)

Pan Africanist Congress Of Azania (PAC)

Passive Resistance


Progressive Federal Party (PFP)

Progressive Party

Reconstruction And Development Programme (RDP)

RENAMO (National Resistance Movement Of Mozambique)

Rivonia/ Rivonia Trial

Robben Island

Security Branch

South African Congress Of Trade Unions (SACTU)

South African Council Of Churches (SACC)

South African Defence Force (SADF)

South African Freedom Association (SAFA)

South African Indian Congress (SAIC)

South African Indian Council

South African Party

South African Police (SAP)

South African Students' Organisation (SASO)

Soweto Uprising

State Security Council (SSC)

South West African People'S Organisation (SWAPO)

Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC)

Tricameral Parliament

Truth And Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

Umkhonto Wesizwe (MK)

Unionist Party

UNITA (National Union For The Total Independence Of Angola)

United Democratic Front (UDF)

United Party (UP)

ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union)


The following sources were used in the compilation of this glossary:

N.L. Clark and W.H. Worger, South Africa: The Rise and Fall of Apartheid (Harlow, 2004).

H. Holland, The Struggle (London, 1989).

T. Karis and G. Carter/G. Gerhart, eds, From Protest to Challenge (5 vols,1972-1997).

B.J. Liebenberg and S.B. Spies, eds, South Africa in the 20th Century (Pretoria, 1993).

T. Lodge, Black Politics in South Africa Since 1945 (Johannesburg, 1985).

C. Saunders and N. Southey, A Dictionary of South African History (Cape Town and Johannesburg, 1998).

South African Democracy Education Trust, The Road to Democracy, vol. 1, 1960-1970 (Cape Town, 2004).

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.