UDF Launch 40 years ago – Photos by Paul Weinberg
The United Democratic Front (UDF), a popular mass democratic and civil movement, was launched in Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town, in 1983 at the height of apartheid. Here are some images taken by photographer Paul Weinberg, drawn from his archive, to remember that significant moment.
The UDF comprised more than 400 public organizations, including trade unions, student organisations, women’s and religious organisations. Under the banner of a “non-racial, united South Africa”, it was an extremely inclusive and dynamic movement which challenged apartheid society. Its popular slogan was “UDF Unites, Apartheid Divides.” The UDF was initially formed to challenge and oppose established in the introduction of the Tricameral movement by the white-dominated National Party government but later grew into a formidable political force which intersected with the political movements in exile and the highly effective anti-apartheid movements throughout the world. It dissolved in 1991, deferring to the ANC, which in principle also stood for a ‘non-racial’ future. Some would, in retrospect, argue was a mistake, believing that its work was done and the ANC would take its foundational political work further.