- 1976 - (Creation)
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courage and the spectacular demonstrations at Sharpeville and Langa caught the whole country off guard and had far reaching repercussions. It created a new situation and the ANC had to make rapid adjustments to its own plans. The massacre of the people could not be tolerated. Firstly, with the advantage of a better machinery and resources at its command the ANC decided to call for a nation wide Day of Mourning on the 28th March for the victims of Sharpeville and to protest against the wanton massacre. At the same time it brought forward its own schedule for action against passes. On Sunday March 27th Chief Luthuli publicly burned his pass and called upon the country to do like wise. We damned the consequences and many of these humiliating documents disappeared in bonfires in various parts of South Africa. (Chief Luthuli was later convicted for this offence and received a suspended sentence).
There was a tremendous response throughout the country to the ANC call for the Day of Mourning and hundreds of thousands of workers did not go to work. Already after the Sharpeville massacre there had been panic in government circles and senior ministers made policy statements which indicated a growing concern about the explosive situation apartheid had created. General Rademeyer, the Commissioner of Police, went so far as to issue a public statement that virtually meant the suspension of pass laws.
With the success of the Day of Mourning and fearing the consequences of the ANC pass burning campaign, the government declared a State of Emergency.