South Africa: Opportunities Seized in the Post-Apartheid Era 1
This chapter begins with a history of the gay liberation struggle in South Africa, pre- and post-apartheid. The second section analyses the movement's evolving relationship with the South African state, arguing that the remarkable successes noted above are primarily a function of the political opportunity structure afforded by the historic transition from authoritarian rule to multi-racial democracy. Central to that opportunity structure has been the emergence of a sympathetic state-comprised of elite supporters of gay rights in the dominant African National Congress (ANC) party and all branches of government, and a commitment to the supremacy of a constitution that guarantees equality to all South Africans. Racial oppression has a long history in South Africa, but the victory of the National Party (NP) in 1948 began the formalization of apartheid policies focused on strict racial separation and white domination. South Africa's first national gay organization, the Gay Association of South Africa (GASA) formed in Johannesburg in 1982.