Target of the Regime  



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Target of the Regime deals with the climate of violence that prevailed in the 1970’s and peaked in the late 1980’s ultimately forcing the white Nationalist government to unban the black political parties and finally to transition into majority rule by and for all South Africans.  



30"x 18"    Oil on Canvas    (2000)                                               $1400


There were victims in every racial group, but in overwhelming numbers blacks of every political persuasion suffered the most.   Women and children also suffered disproportionately both as direct targets of the regime and intra-community violence and indirectly through the extreme poverty and deprivation suffered under Apartheid.

Violence by whites against blacks manifested itself in many ways including harassment, displacement, repression, abductions, night raids, roadblocks, body searches and the more traditional methods of planned military and police operations.  The latter were buttressed by the myriad laws justifying these operations and actions.

Blacks utilized many peaceful means of protest including boycotts, work stoppages, slowdowns, marches and demonstrations before resorting to tactics of sabotage and guerilla warfare.  In the townships communities formed self-defense units (SDU’s) and special protection units (SPU’s) which engaged in action against both their white oppressors and against informers and collaborators in acts of vigilantism.  According to the TRC Report:

“Large numbers of youth, whether politically active or not, were affected by the violence, especially those who lived near the hostels.  In many cases, the responsibility for protecting their homes and streets fell on children.  Some young people turned their attention to the defence of their communities, redirecting their energies into the formation of self-defence units that were, in their view, justified by vigilante attacks.”

The TRC Report continues:

“Some young people were recruited into vigilante activities by, for example, being offered money to attack the homes of activists.  ... Young people were also manipulated by state projects such as the Eagles, which was founded in the 1980’s and came into conflict with organizations like the South African Youth Congress (SAYCO).  Groups like the Eagles were involved in activities such as assisting the police to identify activists, launching arson attacks and disrupting political meetings.  In 1991, the Eagles were exposed as an official state project.”


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