Independent Lens

Have You Heard from Johannesburg? - The Bottom Lin

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This mini-series chronicles the unprecedented international movement of citizen activists who fought for three decades to bring down the brutal, racist system of apartheid in South Africa when their governments would not. This is the story of the first-ever international grassroots campaign to successfully use economic pressure to help bring down a government. Recognizing the apartheid regime's dependence on its financial connections to the West, citizens all over the world, from employees of Polaroid to a General Motors director, from student account-holders in Barclay's Bank to consumers who boycott Shell gas, all refuse to let business with South Africa go on as usual. Boycotts and divestment campaigns bring the anti-apartheid movement into the lives and communities of people around the world, helping everyday people understand and challenge Western economic support for apartheid. Faced with attacks at home and growing chaos in South Africa, international companies pull out in a mass exodus, causing a financial crisis in the now-isolated South Africa and making it clear that the days of the apartheid regime are numbered.

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