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Francis Meli in A History of the ANC believes that the African National Congress can be split into several time frames each facing different situations and going about dealing with them in different ways The relevant period of the 1970s to the 1980s which we are to deal with in this essay can be best analysed in chapter 7 of his book The re-emergence of the ANC 1969-1985 I am not simply trying to deal with the ANC here merely pointing out that he sees this as a comeback for his union Whether or not this is the same for other unions at the time is to be seen also what effect they have on politics also needs to be analysed I do know from the time period 1969 onwards that this was a successful time for those in favour of black liberation in South African politics so taking this line of approach as a revival of the unions may go a long way to discover what effect the unions had on political change in the 1970s and 1980s Certainly each decade in the recent political history of South Africa has specific characteristics that serve to mark it apart We can see that the 1950s were a time of apartheid implementation whereas the 1960s were a decade in which opposition movements were intensely repressed banned driven underground or exiled abroad The 1970s however took a different shape as I have mentioned earlier one that witnessed the re-awakening of opposition to white supremacy It marked the countless strikes in Durban the Soweto uprising of 1976 and the ascendance of black consciousness movements as well as other independent trade unions The 1980s can clearly be seen as time whereby the groundwork was clearly laid for transition to democracy in the 1990s Taking this viewpoint that the 1980s culminated in laying the groundwork for democracy to occur in the 1990s it is essential to state that the
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