South African trade unions played a key role in the struggle against apartheid. They mobilized workers from various racial backgrounds, and united them in order to challenge subjugation in the authoritarian apartheid political economy. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) South Africa will be partnering with the South African Labour Bulletin (SALB) and the Society Work and Development Institute (SWOP) to launch a book on the history of the Food and Canning Workers Union (FCWU). It is authored by Jan Theron, former general secretary of FCWU.
On May 8, 1996, a two year mandate came to its fulfilment when the Constitutional Assembly successfully finalized a draft of a new constitution which was signed by Nelson Mandela into law on December 18, 1996. To commemorate this historical event and milestone for the formation of a democratic South Africa, the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, Constitution Hill and the German Institute for Federal Studies, are organizing a conference at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg – a place which reminds us of the horrors of the past and yet shows us the reality of the present and embraces the promises of the future.