World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Liberalism in South Africa


Liberalism in South Africa

This article gives an overview of liberal parties in South Africa. It is limited to liberal parties with substantial support, mainly proved by having had a representation in parliament.


  • Introduction 1
  • Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith 2
  • The timeline 3
    • Liberal Party of South Africa 3.1
    • From Progressive Party to Democratic Alliance 3.2
  • Liberal leaders 4
  • Liberal thinkers 5
  • Liberal organisations 6
  • Liberal journalists 7
  • References 8
  • See also 9


Liberalism was not organized in South Africa until 1953, although there was some liberal tradition in parties present at the time. This changed in 1953 with the formation of the anti-Apartheid Liberal Party of South Africa, which was multi-racial. A second liberal tradition started in 1959 with the forming of the Progressive Party.

Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith

On 4 January 1974, Harry Schwarz the Transvaal leader of the United Party met with Mangosuthu Buthelezi and signed a five-point plan for racial peace in South Africa, which came to be known as the Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith. Its purpose was to provide a blueprint for the government of South Africa by consent and racial peace in a multi-racial society, stressing opportunity for all, consultation, the federal concept, and a Bill of Rights. It also affirmed that political change must take place though non-violent means, at a time when neither the National Party nor the African National Congress were looking to peaceful solutions or dialogue. The declaration enshrined the principles of peaceful transition of power and equality for all, the first of such agreements by acknowledged black and white political leaders in South Africa and was heralded by many as a breakthrough in race relations in South Africa. Liberal figures and others such as Alan Paton praised the declaration. The declaration drew much media interest both inside and outside South Africa. Schwarz leader of the liberal 'Young Turks' in the UP, would be expelled with other liberals from the party the following year.

The timeline

Liberal Party of South Africa

  • 1953: The Liberal Party of South Africa is formed by Alan Paton
  • 1968: The SALP decides to disband rather than obey legislation outlawing multiracial political parties. The decision was also influenced by the fact that the leadership of the SALP had been decimated by banning orders and other restrictive measures, and by the fact that many stalwarts had been forced into exile.

From Progressive Party to Democratic Alliance

Progressives or Democrats

Liberal leaders

Liberal thinkers

In the Contributions to liberal theory the following South African thinkers are included:

Liberal organisations

Liberal journalists


  1. ^ The Independent (UK)
  2. ^ Mail & Guardian

See also

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.