By Colin Bundy
“[This] thoughtful biography…examines the ways in which [Govan Mbeki] placed greater emphasis than many other cadres on the political importance of rural people…This is a very accomplished monograph. Neither sentimental nor vague and dispassionate, Bundy distils Mbeki's legacy as that of writer, teacher and revolutionary, albeit one who had participated in a ‘modest revolution.’”
Kate Law, Journal of African History
Govan Mbeki (1910–2001) was a core leader of the African National Congress, the Communist Party, and the armed wing of the ANC during the struggle against apartheid. Known as a hard-liner, Mbeki was a prolific writer and combined in a rare way the attributes of intellectual and activist, political theorist and practitioner. Sentenced to life in prison in 1964 along with Nelson Mandela and others, he was sent to the notorious Robben Island prison, where he continued to write even as tension grew between himself, Mandela, and other leaders over the future of the national liberation movement. As one of the greatest leaders of the antiapartheid movement, and the father of Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa from 1999 to 2008, the elder Mbeki holds a unique position in South African politics and history.
This biography by noted historian Colin Bundy goes beyond the narrative details of his long life: it analyzes his thinking, expressed in his writings over fifty years. Bundy helps establish what is distinctive about Mbeki: as African nationalist and as committed Marxist—and more than any other leader of the liberation movement—he sought to link theory and practice, ideas and action.
Drawing on exclusive interviews Bundy did with Mbeki, careful analysis of his writings, and the range of scholarship about his life, this biography is personal, reflective, thoroughly researched, and eminently readable.
Colin Bundy is one of South Africa’s foremost historians and the author of The Rise and Fall of the South African Peasantry as well as the biography of Govan Mbeki in the series Ohio Short Histories of Africa. More info →
Save 20% ($11.96)
US and Canada only
Availability and price vary according to vendor.
Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center
South Africa’s Suspended Revolution tells the story of South Africa’s democratic transition and the prospects for the country to develop a truly inclusive political system. Beginning with an account of the transition in the leadership of the African National Congress from Thabo Mbeki to Jacob Zuma, the book then broadens its lens to examine the relationship of South Africa’s political elite to its citizens.
The African National Congress (ANC) is Africa’s most famous liberation movement. It has recently celebrated its centenary, a milestone that has prompted partisans to detail a century of unparalleled achievement in the struggle against colonialism and racial discrimination. Critics paint a less flattering portrait of the historical ANC as a communist puppet, a moribund dinosaur, or an elitist political parasite.
Patrice Lumumba was a leader of the independence struggle in what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the country’s first democratically elected prime minister. After a meteoric rise in the colonial civil service and the African political elite, he became a major figure in the decolonization movement of the 1950s.
Thomas Sankara, often called the African Che Guevara, was president of Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in Africa, until his assassination during the military coup that brought down his government. Although his tenure in office was relatively short, Sankara left an indelible mark on his country’s history and development.
Sign up to be notified when new African Studies titles come out.
We will only use your email address to notify you of new titles in the subject area(s) you follow. We will never share your information with third parties.