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Voices from South Africa's Mining Massacre
Donato Francesco Mattera has been celebrated as a journalist, editor, writer and poet. He is also acknowledged as one of the foremost activists in the struggle for a democratic South Africa, and helped to found both the Union of Black Journalists, the African Writerís Association and the Congress of South African Writers. Born in 1935 in Western Native Township (now Westbury) across the road from Sophiatown, Mattera can lay claim to an intriguingly diverse lineage: his paternal grandfather was Italian, and he has Tswana, Khoi-Khoi and Xhosa blood in his veins. Yet diversity was hardly being celebrated at that time. In one of apartheidís most infamous actions, the vibrant multicultural Sophiatown was destroyed in 1955 and replaced with the white suburb of Triomf, and the wrenching displacement, can be felt in Matteraís writing. The story of his life in Sophiatown as told in this essay is intricate. Covering Matteraís teenage years from 1948 to 1962 when Sophiatown was bulldozed out of existence, it weaves together both his personal experience and political development. In telling the story of his life as a ìcolouredî teenager, Mattera takes on the ambitious goal of making us recapture the crucial events of the 1950s in Sophiatown, one of the most important decades in the history of black political struggles in South Africa.
Environmental Relations in the Making of the Transkei
In this groundbreaking study, Jacob A. Tropp explores the interconnections between negotiations over the environment and an emerging colonialrelationship in a particular South African context—the Transkei—subsequently the largest of the notorious “homelands” under apartheid.In the late nineteenth century, South Africa’s Cape Colony completed its incorporation of the area beyond the Kei River, known as the Transkei, and began transforming the region into a labor reserve. It simultaneously restructured popular access to local forests, reserving those resources for the benefit of the white settler economy. This placed new constraints on local Africans in accessingresources for agriculture, livestock management, hunting, building materials, fuel, medicine, and ritual practices. Drawing from a diverse array of oral and written sources, Tropp reveals how bargaining over resources—between and among colonial officials, chiefs and headmen, and local African men and women—was interwoven with major changes in local political authority, gendered economic relations, and cultural practices as well as with intense struggles over the very meaning and scope of colonial rule itself.Natures of Colonial Change sheds new light on the colonial era in the Transkei by looking at significant yet neglected dimensions of this history: how both“colonizing” and “colonized” groups negotiated environmental access among and between each other, and how such negotiations helped shape the broader making and meaning of life in the new colonial order.
Racial Identity in the South African Coloured Community
A History of Unity and Division
The independence of Mozambique in 1975 and its decolonisation process attracted worldwide attention as a successful example of ìnational unityî. Yet, the armed conflict that broke out between the government and the guerrilla force in 1977 lasted for sixteen years and resulted in over a million deaths and several million refugees, placing this concept of ìnational unityî into doubt. For nearly twenty years, Sayaka Funada-Classen interviewed people in rural communities in Mozambique. By examining their testimonies, historical documents, previous studies, international and regional politics, and the changes that various interventions under colonialism brought to the traditional social structure, this book demonstrates that the seeds of ìdivisionî had already been planted while the liberation movement was seeking ìunityî in the struggle years. Presenting a comprehensive history of contemporary Mozambique, this book is indispensable for Mozambican scholars. It promises to serve as a landmark study not only for historians and the scholars of African studies but also for those who give serious consideration to the problems of conflict and peace in the world.
Community Organizing and Democracy in South Africa
The end of apartheid in South Africa broke down political barriers, extending to all races the formal rights of citizenship, including the right to participate in free elections and parliamentary democracy. But South Africa remains one of the most economically polarized nations in the world. In The Politics of Necessity Elke Zuern forcefully argues that working toward greater socio-economic equality—access to food, housing, land, jobs—is crucial to achieving a successful and sustainable democracy.
Drawing on interviews with local residents and activists in South Africa’s impoverished townships during more than a decade of dramatic political change, Zuern tracks the development of community organizing and reveals the shifting challenges faced by poor citizens. Under apartheid, township residents began organizing to press the government to address the basic material necessities of the poor and expanded their demands to include full civil and political rights. While the movement succeeded in gaining formal political rights, democratization led to a new government that instituted neo-liberal economic reforms and sought to minimize protest. In discouraging dissent and failing to reduce economic inequality, South Africa’s new democracy has continued to disempower the poor.
By comparing movements in South Africa to those in other African and Latin American states, this book identifies profound challenges to democratization. Zuern asserts the fundamental indivisibility of all human rights, showing how protest movements that call attention to socio-economic demands, though often labeled a threat to democracy, offer significant opportunities for modern democracies to evolve into systems of rule that empower all citizens.
Conflict and Discourse in Lesotho, 1870–1960
Robert Mugabe and the Collapse of Zimbabwe
When the southern African country of Rhodesia was reborn as Zimbabwe in 1980, democracy advocates celebrated the defeat of a white supremacist regime and the end of colonial rule. Zimbabwean crowds cheered their new prime minister, freedom fighter Robert Mugabe, with little idea of the misery he would bring them. Under his leadership for the next 30 years, Zimbabwe slid from self-sufficiency into poverty and astronomical inflation. The government once praised for its magnanimity and ethnic tolerance was denounced by leaders like South African Nobel Prize-winner Desmond Tutu. Millions of refugees fled the country. How did the heroic Mugabe become a hated autocrat, and why were so many outside of Zimbabwe blind to his bloody misdeeds for so long?
In A Predictable Tragedy: Robert Mugabe and the Collapse of Zimbabwe Daniel Compagnon reveals that while the conditions and perceptions of Zimbabwe had changed, its leader had not. From the beginning of his political career, Mugabe was a cold tactician with no regard for human rights. Through eyewitness accounts and unflinching analysis, Compagnon describes how Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) built a one-party state under an ideological cloak of anti-imperialism. To maintain absolute authority, Mugabe undermined one-time ally Joshua Nkomo, terrorized dissenters, stoked the fires of tribalism, covered up the massacre of thousands in Matabeleland, and siphoned off public money to his minions—all well before the late 1990s, when his attempts at radical land redistribution finally drew negative international attention.
A Predictable Tragedy vividly captures the neopatrimonial and authoritarian nature of Mugabe's rule that shattered Zimbabwe's early promises of democracy and offers lessons critical to understanding Africa's predicament and its prospects for the future.
African Americans against Apartheid, 1946-1994
"An important contribution to the political history of this period [and] a must for those interested in the influence of the great pan-Africanists." -- Elliott P. Skinner
This study traces the
evolution of the anti-apartheid movement from its origins in the 1940s through the
civil rights and black power eras to its maturation in the 1980s as a force that
transformed U.S. foreign policy. The
movement initially met resistance and was soon repressed, only to reemerge during the civil rights era, when it became radicalized with the coming of the black freedom movement. The book looks at three important political groups: TransAfrica -- the black lobby for Africa and the Caribbean; the Free South Africa Movement; and lastly the Congressional Black Caucus and its role in passing sanctions against South Africa over President Reagan's veto. It concludes with an assessment of the impact of sanctions on the release of Nelson Mandela and his eventual election as president of South Africa.
The Public Anthropology of Kalanga Elites
Are self-interested elites the curse of liberal democracy in Africa? Is there hope against the politics of the belly, kleptocracies, vampire states, failed states, and Afro-pessimism? In Reasonable Radicals and Citizenship in Botswana, Richard Werbner examines a rare breed of powerful political elites who are not tyrants, torturers, or thieves. Werbner's focus is on the Kalanga, a minority ethnic group that has served Botswana in business and government since independence. Kalanga elites have expanded public services, advocated causes for the public good, founded organizations to build the public sphere and civil society, and forged partnerships and alliances with other ethnic groups in Botswana. Gathering evidence from presidential commissions, land tribunals, landmark court cases, and his lifetime relationship with key Kalanga elites, Werbner shows how a critical press, cosmopolitanism, entrepreneurship, accountability, and the values of patriarchy and elderhood make for an open society with strong, capable government. Werbner's work provides a refreshing alternative to those who envision no future for Africa beyond persistent agony and lack of development.