The African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa extended the struggle against apartheid into the international arena when it was banned in 1960. This aspect of its policy became crucial and remained paramount until South Africa's first democratic elections were held in 1994. This paper focuses on the ANC's attempts to secure the support of the community of African states, and singles out three themes that were dominant in the period under review, namely acceptance by the African states; the modus operandi of their assistance; and their role in the negotiation process. The findings are based partly on new archival documentation, drawing two main conclusions. First, the ANC only won exclusive backing from African states after a lengthy struggle. Second, their diplomatic support proved to be a pivotal factor during the negotiations in South Africa after 1990, significantly contributing to the ANC's eventual victory in 1994.
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