During 1970–1985, South Africa vacillated between reform and reaffirmation of the repressive regime known as apartheid. Did these reforms slow the pace of protest, or did they facilitate protest, by intensifying discontent? Using event-history data on anti-apartheid protest we suggest that passage of reforms will increase the pace of protest while state repression will dampen it. We further hypothesize that the nature and scope of each reform would differentially affect protest by each of three official racial populations: Black Africans, Coloureds, and Asian Indians. As expected, reforms that integrated housing and jobs and reforms that legitimated the rights of black labor unions propelled protest by Black Africans against apartheid, but so did reforms that excluded Black Africans from citizenship. In contrast, relatively few reforms affected the rate of protest by Asian Indians and Coloured population groups. Finally, we found that repression decreased rates of protest significantly for all three groups.

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