1964 – 1994
The racist, minority government of South Africa began to be challenged by the African National Congress with Soviet and Cuban assistance from bases in Tanzania and Zambia and other “front-line” states. The era of peaceful resistance formally ended with the massacres in Sharpeville and Langa. For its part, South Africa sought to destabilize its neighbors, and undertook an invasion of Namibia, while also supporting UNITA in Angola and FRELIMO in Mozambique. However, increasing black population, more powerful black trade unions, and hostility from other western nations eventually placed South Africa on the defensive. While the Reagan Administration pursued a policy of “constructive engagement” with the Apartheid government, it remained a controversial proposition. Ultimately, the collapse of the eastern bloc made P.W. Botha’s release of Nelson Mandela inevitable.
Time: Mid War
Removed after event: No
Practically speaking, South African Unrest serves much the same purposes as Portuguese Empire Crumbles, though it’s a tiny bit better because its influence goes into more important countries and is recurring. I will still usually play it for Ops, unless the 2 influence in a neighbor gives me the chance to flip Angola. Practically speaking, 1 in South Africa is not a huge deal, and isn’t going to let you flip a controlled South Africa. But if the countries are open to Ops, or if I haven’t been able to get into the region, then South African Unrest is a godsend.
I almost always choose 1 in South Africa and 2 in a neighbor. For one, it’s 50% more influence, and no longer counterable with the card’s Ops. For two, Angola and Botswana are both lucrative targets, and 2 influence in Angola can sometimes flip the country. Only if I already control Angola/Botswana will I consider putting both influence into South Africa.
Despite a possible interpretation of the event’s text otherwise, you cannot use this for 1 in Angola and 1 in Botswana: it has to be 1 in South Africa plus 2 in Angola or 2 in Botswana.
A previous version of this card implied you could not “split up” the influence, that is, place 1 in Angola and 1 in Botswana, but the current wording and the v5 FAQ indicates that you can.
Much more annoying to deal with than Portuguese Empire Crumbles, since you can’t actually repair 3 influence with 2 Ops. If the USSR chooses 2 in South Africa, then it’s no big deal, but 2 into Botswana and/or Angola is more annoying, especially if you want to use your Ops before the event but don’t know which one the USSR will play into.
That having been said, it’s a lot less painful than some other USSR events, so I usually just suck it up and play it. But if I have nothing more urgent to space, then this is certainly going to space instead of being (at best) an empty Action Round.