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Saturday, September 5, 2009


End Conscription Campaign calling for exhibits.

Prior to democracy in South Africa, every white South African male over the age of 17 was called up for compulsory military service. The penalty for refusing to conform was jail. As South African military power and aggression grew in the 1970’s, some young soldiers began to realise they were defending apartheid injustices. When resistance erupted in South Africa’s black townships in 1984, conscripts found themselves in a civil war.

The End Conscription Campaign - a national NGO - and its supporters brought a special brand of creative campaigning to the broad anti-apartheid struggle while walking a legal tightrope.

With its strong international support network, the ECC tirelessly campaigned for an end to conscription into an apartheid army while representing conscientious objectors The ranks of conscience objectors swelled, so did popular support for the ECC. The ECC was banned in 1986, but unilaterally unbanned itself in 1989. During this banning period, anti-conscription work was continued by the Conscientious Objector Support Groups.

The End Conscription Campaign is celebrating 25 years since it was founded by hosting a series of events around the country. The events will be participative, creative and educational. In Durban, one of the major events will be an exhibition at the Durban Art Gallery on September 17 titled Out of Step which will echo ECC’s non-co-operation with conscription as well as white cultural expectations regarding racism and sexism.

Out of Step runs at the Durban Art Gallery from September 17 to end October and will strongly focus on some of the creative approaches to the ECC campaigns. The vision for the exhibition is both to remind us of the war resistance movement in South Africa, the role it played in the country’s transformation, as well as to educate the new generation of South Africans who were too young to remember the ECC and what it stood for. It is also important for all to be reminded of the myriad valuable social, political, spiritual and human-rights issues learned through this process.

For the duration of the exhibition, one of the walls in the gallery will become a Wall of Remembrance / Death be Not Proud to honour the lives of friends, colleagues and family lost as a result of conscription into the SADF – via death, injury, mental illness, emigration etc.

The ECC calls on conscripts, conscientious objects and people involved in conscription to the SADF who have appropriate ECC-related literature, memorabilia, photographs, artworks, old posters, T-shirts and information to consider loaning it to the organization for the duration of the exhibition.

Either contact Dr Richard Steele on 031 201-6508 / or leave it in the End Conscription Campaign pigeon-hole / mail-box at the Corner Café (corner of Brand and Cromwell) in Glenwood. Please clearly attached your name and contact information.

For more info / to join the Google ECC group – go to (If you do not already have a Google account you will need to create one first.)