South Africa: Mitchells Plain Birthplace of the UDF Declared a Provincial Heritage Site

It's 36 years since the United Democratic Front was launched in Mitchell's Plain on 20 August 1983 at the Rocklands community hall. On 20 August 2019, the hall was declared a provincial heritage site.

"I remember it as though it were yesterday. Over 4,000 people were inside this hall. I was one of the people who worked tirelessly to make the launch a success. When we were informed that the UDF launch was going to be held in Mitchell's Plain, we were very excited, but also understood the hard work that was ahead of us," said UDF member Veronica Siemmers.

The anti-apartheid organisation comprised various grassroots organisations such as churches, trade unions, civic associations and sports bodies. The launch date of 20 August was chosen because it was the month in which the apartheid government would introduce legislation for the Tricameral Parliament. The intention was for the Tricameral Parliament to have Indian and coloured people vote in separate houses on matters affecting them, however, the white house dominated by the National Party would still be the most powerful in terms of decision-making.

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