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Term 2 Week 10: Fighting Apartheid

This week examines how South Africans fought against apartheid during the 1960s and 1970s. This period involved a turn away from passive resistance and non-violent protest towards armed struggle. It was also during this time that a new, younger generation of activists emerged. We will focus on the turn to violence, the changing nature of resistance and the role of Black Consciousness.

Core Reading

Paul S. Landau, 'The ANC, MK, and 'The Turn to Violence' (1960-1962)', South African Historical Journal, 64 (2012), 538-63.

William Beinart, Twentieth-Century South Africa (Oxford, 2001), chapters 9 and 10. Ebook

Steve Biko, I Write What I Like (1978), Introduction and Chapter 9. Ebook

Daniel R. Magaziner, 'Pieces of a (Wo)man: Feminism, Gender and Adulthood in Black Consciousness, 1968—1977', Journal of Southern African Studies, 37, 1 (2011), pp. 45-61.

Seminar Questions

1. Why did the ANC turn to armed struggle in the aftermath of Sharpeville?

2. How did opposition to apartheid shift from the 1960s to 1990s and which actors came into play?

3. What was Black Consciousness and how did it shape anti-apartheid activism?

4. How was the Black Consciousness Movement shaped by gender and age dynamics?

Primary Sources

Extracts from Nelson Mandela's testimony at the Treason Trial 1956-1960.

'I am prepared to die: Nelson Mandela's statement from the dock at the opening of the defence case in the Rivonia Trial', 20 April 1964.

Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (1994)

'Biko: the Quest for a True Humanity', exhibition catalogue, Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Divestment pamphlets, taken from the JSTOR Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa collection: Decoding Corporate Camouflage: U.S. Business Support for Apartheid; South Africa: foreign investment and apartheid; Two Decades of Debate: the controversy over U.S. companies in South Africa.

André Brink, A Dry White Season (1979)

Fatima Meer, Prison Diary (2001)

Albie Sachs, The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter (1990).

British Anti-Apartheid Movement archives:

Ruth First's papers:

Film & Documentary

The World Against Apartheid: Have You Heard From Johannesburg? (2012) [you must be logged into your Warwick Library account to gain access to this programme]

Winnie (2017)

Further Reading

Gary Baines, 'The Master Narrative of South Africa's Liberation Struggle: Remembering and Forgetting June 16, 1976', International Journal of African Historical Studies, 40 (2007), 283-302.

Howard Barrell, 'The Turn to the Masses: The African National Congress Strategic Review of 1978–79', Journal of Southern African Studies, 18 (1992), 64-92.

H. Barrell, MK: The ANC's Armed Struggle (London, 1990).

Emily Bridger, “From ‘Mother of the Nation’ to ‘Lady Macbeth’: Winnie Mandela and Perceptions of Female Violence in South Africa, 1985-91,” Gender & History 27:2 (2015): 446-464.

Emily Bridger, 'Soweto’s Female Comrades: Gender, Youth and Violence in South Africa’s Township Uprisings, 1984–1990', Journal of Southern African Studies, 44, 4 (2018), pp. 559-574.

Sahkela Buhlungu, 'The Building of the Democratic Tradition in South Africa's Trade Unions after 1973', Democratization, 11 (2004), 133-58.

Colin Bundy, 'Street sociology & pavement politics', Journal of Southern African Studies, 13 (1986–7), pp. 303–30

Charles Carter, 'Community and Conflict; The Alexandra Rebellion of 1986', Journal of Southern African Studies, 18, 1 (March 1991), pp. 115-142.

William Cobbett and Robin Cohen (eds), Popular Struggles in South Africa (London, 1988).

Stephen Davis, Apartheid's Rebels: Inside South Africa's Hidden War (London, 1987)

Stephen Ellis, The Genesis of the ANC's Armed Struggle in South Africa 1948–1961', Journal of Southern African Studies, 37, 4 (2011), pp. 657-676.

Stephen Ellis, External Mission: The ANC in Exile, 1960-1990 (London, 2012).

Steven Friedman, Building Tomorrow Today: African Workers in the Trade Unions, 1970–1985 (Johannesburg, 1987).

Clive Glaser, '"We Must Infiltrate the Tsotsis": School Politics and Youth Gangs in Soweto, 1968-1976', Journal of Southern African Studies, 24 (1998), 301-23.

C. Glaser, Bo-Totsi. The Youth Gangs of Soweto, 1935-1976 (Oxford, 2000).

Anne Heffernan and Noor Nieftagodien (eds), Students Must Rise: Youth Struggle in South Africa Before and Beyond Soweto '76 (Johannesburg, 2018).

David Hirschmann, 'The Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa', The Journal of Modern African Studies, 28, 1 (1990), pp. 1-22

Baruch Hirson, Year of Fire, Year of Ash. The Soweto Revolt: Roots of a Revolution (London, 1979)

John Illife, 'The South African Economy', Economic History Review 52 (1999), 87–103.

Anna Konieczna and Rob Skinner (eds), A global history of anti-apartheid: 'forward to freedom' in South Africa (Basingstoke, 2019). Ebook

Antjie Krog, Country of My Skull (2000)

Philip I. Levy, 'Sanctions on South Africa: What Did They Do?', American Economic Review, 89 (1999), 415-20.

Tom Lodge, Mandela: A Critical Life (2007)

Archie Mafeje, 'Soweto and Its Aftermath', Review of African Political Economy, 5 (1978), 17-30.

Daniel R. Magaziner, The Law and the Prophets: Black Consciousness in South Africa, 1968-1977 (Athens OH, 2010).

'"My activism started then": the Soweto uprising remembered', The Guardian, 16 June 2016.

Terence Moll, 'Did the Apartheid Economy Fail?, Journal of Southern African Studies, 17 (1991), 271-291.

Grant Olwage (ed.), Composing apartheid: music for and against apartheid (Cambridge, 2008). Ebook

Helena Pohlandt-McCormick, '"I Saw a Nightmare...": Violence and the Construction of Memory (Soweto, June 16, 1976)'History and Theory, 39, 4 (2000), pp. 23-44.

Helena Pohlandt-McCormick, "I Saw a Nightmare…": Doing Violence to Memory: The Soweto Uprising, June 16, 1976 (New York, 2006).

Hilary Sapire, 'Township Histories, Insurrection and Liberation in Late Apartheid South Africa', South African Historical Journal, 65 (2013), 167-98.

Hilary Sapire and Chris Saunders (eds), Southern African Liberation Struggles: New Local, Regional and Global Perspectives (Cape Town, 2013).

Jeremy Seekings, '"Trailing Behind the Masses": The United Democratic Front and Township Politics in the Pretoria‐Witwatersrand‐Vaal Region, 1983–84', Journal of Southern African Studies, 18 (1992), 93-114.

Rob Skinner, The foundations of anti-apartheid: Liberal humanitarians and transnational activists in Britain and the United States, c.1919-64 (Basingstoke, 2010). Ebook