State, Opposition and Exit
People had been emigrating from Southern Africa long before the Union of South Africa was established. However, after the victory of the National Party in the 1948 election, new groups of people started leaving (or chose not to return) because of the policies of the new government. A combination of actual or anticipated physical and symbolic violence made life so unbearable for political activists in South Africa that many decided to move. The level and nature of violence experienced was neither even nor uniform. Its intensity and range fluctuated over the following decades, reflecting particular periods in the post-war development of the South African state and the evolution of its relations with the opposition. As a result, different people came under divergent pressures at various periods, and debates about the appropriateness and the meaning of exit changed over time. In the next two chapters, I examine who left, when, how and why. I give considerable weight to the accounts provided by the displaced themselves. I am interested in the way that their post-facto accounts are constructed as narrative accounts of resistance.
KeywordsCommunist Party African National Congress National Party South African Government House Arrest
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