JOHANNESBURG, AUG. 20 -- The bloody strife in South Africa's black townships spread today through areas east of Johannesburg and around Pretoria, lifting the death toll for the last eight days of factional fighting to 383.

Late tonight, reports indicated that the violence had spilled into Bophuthatswana, one of South Africa's segregated black homelands west of Pretoria where large squatter communities have settled within commuting distance of the capital.

The violence is an outgrowth of a long-standing conflict in Natal province between supporters of Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Movement and those of Nelson Mandela's African National Congress, the main black nationalist group working to end white-minority rule in South Africa.

Schools throughout the area were empty today amid rumors of imminent attacks by ANC and Inkatha supporters. A news agency report from the sprawling squatter settlements of Winterveld and Mabopane in Bophuthatswana said rumors of a planned Inkatha raid sent hundreds of schoolchildren running from their classrooms for safety.

Elsewhere, the fighting appeared to consist mainly of reprisal attacks by young ANC supporters against migrant workers' hostels that are largely inhabited by pro-Inkatha Zulu tribesmen. About 20 percent of black South Africans living and working in the Johannesburg and Pretoria areas are Zulus, the tribe that forms Inkatha's power base.

In Kwathema township outside the city of Springs, about 35 miles east of Johannesburg, youths tore down a migrant workers' hostel after fighting in the township had left at least 56 people dead. At Shoshanguve outside Pretoria, hundreds of youths marched on another hostel but were stopped by police before reaching it.

For the last week, the Zulu-inhabited hostels had been viewed as staging posts for most of the attacks on surrounding communities. Today, in a turnabout, the hostels appeared to be prime targets.

Soweto, Johannesburg's main black township, was relatively quiet today after troops moved in over the weekend to reinforce police riot units. In four days of violence there, 103 people had been reported killed and 443 injured. It was the second time in a week that violence has subsided after the deployment of troops in the area.

The continuing violence confronts President Frederik W. de Klerk with a difficult choice. If he takes no strong action, his already shrinking white constituency is likely to erode further, with nervous whites joining the far-rightist Conservative Party. But if he reimposes the state of emergency he lifted last month, the ANC may respond by rescinding its decision to suspend its guerrilla struggle, and the negotiating process between black leaders and the white government on a new power-sharing constitution could begin to unravel.

Mandela, the ANC deputy president, faces an equally tough choice. If he does not agree to a high-profile meeting with Buthelezi, as the Inkatha leader has demanded, he risks appearing to place political considerations ahead of human life. But if he does meet with Buthelezi, he could split his organization. Many ANC members strongly oppose such a meeting, labeling it a ploy by Inkatha to boost its leader's image.

Expressing this view, the South African Youth Organization, an ANC ally, issued a statement today accusing Buthelezi of using violence to secure a meeting with Mandela that would elevate his stature and that of Inkatha, which is seeking to establish itself nationwide as a political rival to the ANC.

The statement was released soon after Inkatha members in Kagiso township west of Johannesburg called off a meeting with local ANC leaders, saying there would be no local peace talks until Mandela met Buthelezi. Kagiso had been struck by violence last week.

"It is our view that if the people of this country were to allow an individual or an organization to use terror and intimidation to secure a meeting that was intended to advance the opportunistic interests of a particular organization, they would be setting a dangerous precedent," the statement said.

"While we are not opposed to a meeting with Buthelezi in principle, we are saying that it would be wrong to meet him in the current circumstances. He must first demonstrate his commitment to peace by going to the {migrant workers'} hostels and stop his {Zulu warrior units} from attacking innocent people," the youth organization added.

In another development, the government withdrew indemnity from arrest granted in May to three top members of the ANC. The move was expected to heighten tensions between the government and the ANC.

A government notice renewed indemnities for other ANC leaders until the end of the year, but omitted the names of Mac Maharaj, Ronald Kasrils and Chris Hani, all members of the ANC's militant wing and of the South African Communist Party.

The government did not explain the action, but it was believed to be connected with police allegations that some ANC members continued to organize guerrilla cells after being granted the indemnity.