The Detainees' Parents Support Committee (DPSC) was started in 1981
in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was set up by the parents,
spouses and families of activists who were detained and had no
recourse to legal intervention. Many in this movement had not been
politically involved. Members of the DPSC stood on street corners
with placards calling for the release of their children. They
organised food, clothing and legal representation for detainees
across the country, and they supported the detainees' families.
DPSC activists marched, petitioned, argued, wrote and protested for
the release of all detainees. They made public the brutal
operations of the security establishment. The DPSC helped to draw
international attention to the atrocities being perpetuated against
children - some as young as nine - by the apartheid state. And the
evidence amassed by the DPSC helped to lay some of the groundwork
for South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The
Knock on the Door tells the story of the DPSC and of how the
anti-detention movement became part of the mass uprising that
brought down apartheid. It is an inspiring account of ordinary
people coming together to stand up against racism and the abuse of
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