Southern Africa in Crisis

  • Bill Freund


World War II was a time of social and economic pressures in South Africa just as it was further north. It spurred an intensified industrial growth that gave to secondary industry an unprecedented importance in national life. The proportion of Africans increased greatly among factory workers and the flood of new migrants to the cities, responding to job opportunities, swamped the existing locations allocated for African. As Chapter 8 suggested this gave to African workers a new bargaining power that took the form of strikes and squatter movements, particularly in the Johannesburg area.


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  1. Most of the relevant bibliography is journalistic, some of it of excellent quality, and an immense amount of contemporary writing on southern Africa does exist. A compressed and perceptive recounting with an emphasis on the latest developments can be found in John Saul and Stephen Gelb, ‘Crisis in South Africa: Class Defense, Class Revolution’, Monthly Review, XXXIII (1981), also issued as a book by the review press. There is a somewhat older but valuable overview in Martin Legassick, ‘Legislation, Ideology and Economy in Post-1948 South Africa’, JSAS, I (1974). Some of the readings on South African society suggested for Chapter 8 are relevant here too.Google Scholar
  2. For Afrikaner nationalism, see T. Dunbar Moodie, The Rise of Afrikanerdom (University of California Press, 1975) and several important articles of Dan O’Meara, notably The Afrikaner Broederbond: Class Vanguard of Afrikaner Nationalism 1927–48’, JSAS, III (1977) and his wide-ranging The African Mine Workers’ Strike of 1946 and the Political Economy of South Africa’, Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, XIII (1975). Further developments receive sensitive treatment inGoogle Scholar
  3. Heribert Adam and Hermann Giliomee, Ethnic Power Mobilized (Yale University Press, 1977), although they exaggerate the political centrality of Afrikaner nationalism as opposed to class struggle.Google Scholar
  4. Gwendolen Carter provides a compendium of useful material on the system the Nationalists built in the early years in power, The Politics of Inequality (Praeger, 1959 revised edn). There is some historical discussion in Albie Sachs’ Justice in South Africa (University of California Press, 1973). On the architect of separate development, Alex Hepple, Verwoerd (Penguin Books, 1967) is interesting. A frequently very shrewd attempt to come to grips with the thinking of those who managed the South African state as of the time it was written isGoogle Scholar
  5. Heribert Adam, Modernizing Racial Domination (University of California Press, 1971). The first account of a Bantustan in the making wasGoogle Scholar
  6. Gwendolen Carter et al, South Africa’s Transkei (Northwestern University Press, 1967). More recent descriptions includeGoogle Scholar
  7. Jeffrey Butler, Robert Rotberg and John Adams, The Black Homelands of South Africa (University of California Press, 1977) andGoogle Scholar
  8. Barry Streek and Richard Wicksteed, Render Unto Kaiser; a Transkei Dossier (Ravan, 1982). On the republic’s overseas economic connections, Ruth First et al. y The South African Connection (Penguin, 1972) is the oldest long study.Google Scholar
  9. For the ANC, consult the autobiography of Chief Albert Luthuli, Let My People Go (Collins, 1962) and the collected speeches of his successor as president,Google Scholar
  10. Nelson Mandela, No Easy Walk to Freedom (Heinemann, 1965). The turn to armed struggle is assessed sympathetically in Ben Turok, ‘The Violent Alternative’, Socialist Register, 1972 and in more depth inGoogle Scholar
  11. Basil Davidson, Joe Slovo and A.R. Wilkinson, Southern Africa: The New Politics of Revolution (Penguin, 1976).Google Scholar
  12. A number of critical studies of the liberation movement and African nationalism in South Africa exist: Fatima Meer, ‘African Nationalism — Some Inhibiting Factors’ in Herbert and Kogila Adam, eds, South Africa: Sociological Perspectives (Oxford University Press, 1971);Google Scholar
  13. Harold Wolpe, ‘The Theory of Internal Colonialism’ in Ivar Oxaal, ed., Beyond the Sociology of Development (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975); Archie Mafeje, ‘Soweto and its Aftermath’, Review of African Political Economy, 11 (1978) and No Sizwe, One Azania, One Nation (Zed Press, 1979). Gail Gerhart sympathetically chronicles the rise of the Africanist tendency in Black Nationalism in South Africa (University of California Press, 1978). On particular facets, see alsoGoogle Scholar
  14. Govan Mbeki, South Africa: The Peasants’ Revolt (Penguin, 1964) on the Pondoland risings and Cosmas Desmond, The Discarded People (Penguin, 1971), which examines the dumping of Africans into the homelands.Google Scholar
  15. Events in the 1970s have caused considerable re-examination of the underpinnings of the South African system. This begins to be noted in Leonard Thompson and Jeffrey Butler, eds, Change in Contemporary South Africa (University of California Press, 1975). Collections that articulate American liberal perspectives on southern Africa includeGoogle Scholar
  16. Gwendolen Carter and Patrick O’Meara, Southern Africa: The Continuing Crisis (Indiana University Press, 1979). Accounts that consider the significance of Soweto areGoogle Scholar
  17. Alex Callinicos and John Rogers, Southern Africa After Soweto (Pluto Press, 1977);Google Scholar
  18. Baruch Hirson, Year of Fire, Year of Ash (Zed Press, 1979)Google Scholar
  19. and J. Kane-Berman, South Africa: The Method in the Madness (Pluto Press, 1979).Google Scholar
  20. R.W. Johnson, How Long Will South Africa Survive? (Macmillan, 1977) has some original and stimulating ideas. The public writings and courtroom evidence of Steve Biko are collected in The Testimony of Steve Biko (M. Temple Smith, 1979). Together with Johnson, Robert Davies, ‘Capital Restructuring and the Modification of the Racial Division of Labour’, JSAS, V (1979), is useful on the political economy of the late 1970s.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Elsa Joubert’s Poppte (Hodder &: Stoughton, 1980) powerfully expresses the impact of labour control/Bantustan policy on the lives of black working-class women in particular. South African dissident journals of high quality include the South African Labour Bulletin, Africa Perspective and Work in Progress, all begun in the 1970s.Google Scholar
  22. On conflicts elsewhere in southern Africa there is a large but very uneven literature. Two long but far from authoritative studies of K. Angola are John Marcum, The Angolan Revolution (MIT Press, 1969–78) andGoogle Scholar
  23. René Pelissier, La guerre du minotaure (Orgeval, France, 1978). Basil Davidson wrote an attractive account of the MPLA in the field during their strongest phase, In The Eye of the Storm (Longman, 1972). Eduardo Mondlane’s account of the Mozambican revolution covers up conflicts but is valuable: The Struggle for Mozambique (Penguin Books, 1969). See also John Saul, ‘FRELIMO and the Mozambique Revolution’ in Saul and Arrighi, Essays in the Political Economy of Africa, cited earlier. For a critical survey of Angola since the MPLA victory see W.G. Clarence-Smith, ‘Class Structure and Class Struggle in Angola in the 1970s’, JSAS, VII (1980).Google Scholar
  24. On the Rhodesián war the best accounts are Kees Maxey, The Fight for Zimbabwe (Rex Collings, 1975) and David Martin and Phyllis Johnson’s book ‘authorised’ by ZANU, The Struggle for Zimbabwe (Monthly Review Press, 1981). For the UDI regime seeGoogle Scholar
  25. Larry Bowman, Politics in Rhodesia (Harvard University Press, 1973) andCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Martin Loney, Rhodesia: White Racism and Imperial Response (Penguin, 1975). There is a sensitive feeling for African politics inGoogle Scholar
  27. Nathan Shamu-yarira, Crisis in Rhodesia (Andre Deutsch, 1965). For Namibia the literature has been less interesting. Ruth First, South West Africa (Penguin, 1963) gives a good background description.Google Scholar
  28. See also Reg Green, Marja-Liisa and Kimmo Kiljunen, eds, Namibia: The Last Colony (Longman, 1982).Google Scholar

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© Bill Freund 1984

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  • Bill Freund

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