Pope John Paul II | Apathied in south Africa

Pope John Paul II was an outspoken opponent of apartheid. In 1985, while visiting the Netherlands, he gave an impassioned speech at the International Court of Justice condemning apartheid, proclaiming that "no system of apartheid or separate development will ever be acceptable as a model for the relations between peoples or races."



On Sunday (17/9) Pope John Paul II celebrated his first Mass in post-apartheid South Africa in front of about 100,000 people. The Mass, held at a horse-racing track in Germinston, near Johannesburg, was rich with African ritual, dance and music. The Pope told the congregation that the world was rejoicing in the change that had come about in South Africa and hoped the situation would be mirrored in other parts of Africa. 


In September 1988 he made a pilgrimage to countries bordering South Africa, while demonstratively avoiding South Africa itself. During his visit to Zimbabwe, he called for economic sanctions against South Africa's government.

Organisation for African Unity

The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was created in 1963. Its primary objectives were to eradicate colonialism and improve social, political and economic situations in Africa. It censured apartheid and demanded sanctions against South Africa. African states agreed to aid the liberation movements in their fight against apartheid. In 1969, fourteen nations from Central and East Africa gathered in Lusaka, Zambia, and formulated the "Lusaka Manifesto", which was signed on 13 April by all of the countries in attendance except Malawi. This manifesto was later taken on by both the OAU and the United Nations.

The Lusaka Manifesto summarised the political situations of self-governing African countries, condemning racism and inequity, and calling for black majority rule in all African nations. It did not rebuff South Africa entirely, though, adopting an appeasing manner towards the apartheid government, and even recognising its autonomy. Although African leaders supported the emancipation of black South Africans, they preferred this to be attained through peaceful means.

South Africa's negative response to the Lusaka Manifesto and rejection of a change to its policies brought about another OAU announcement in October 1971. The Mogadishu Declaration stated that South Africa's rebuffing of negotiations meant that its black people could only be freed through military means, and that no African state should converse with the apartheid government.