It took twenty-three years of armed struggle before Namibia could gain its independence from South Africa in March 1990. Swapo’s victory was remarkable in the face of an overwhelmingly superior enemy. How this came about, and at what cost, is the subject of this outstanding study that is based on unpublished documents and extensive interviews with a large range of the key activists in the struggle.
The story that emerges is one of endurance and heroism in face of atrocious brutality on the part of the colonialists. But it reveals that it was also one of painful compromises imposed by the conditions of the struggle and the subordination of internal democracy within the liberation movement to the single goal of military and diplomatic victory.
The study will be of keen interest to everyone concerned with southern Africa. Students of armed liberation struggle generally will find much to challenge received wisdom. The sheer human interest of the interviews makes the book attractive to a wide readership.
Colin Leys and John S. Saul, who led the research team, have been working on development in eastern, central, and southern Africa for over thirty years. Their books are numerous and have been deeply influential. More info →
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In the struggle against apartheid, one often overlooked group of crusaders was the coterie of black lawyers who overcame the Byzantine system that the government established oftentimes explicitly to block the paths of its black citizens from achieving justice.Now, in their own voices, we have the narratives of many of those lawyers as recounted in a series of oral interviews. Black Lawyers, White Courts is their story and the anti-apartheid story that has before now gone untold.Profess
In 1991 the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) took over Asmara and completed the liberation of Eritrea; formal independence came two years later after a referendum in May 1993. It was the climax of a thirty-year struggle, though the EPLF itself was formed only in the early 1970s.From the beginning, Eritrean nationalism was divided. Ethiopia’s appeal to a joint Christian imperial past alienated the Muslim pastoral lowland people in the areas where Eritrean nationalism first appeared.
In this compelling study of labor and nationalism during and after Namibia’s struggle for liberation, Gretchen Bauer addresses the very difficult task of consolidating democracy in an independent Namibia. Labor and Democracy in Namibia, 1971-1996 argues that a vibrant and autonomous civil society is crucial to the consolidation of new democracies, and it identifies trade unions, in particular, as especially important organizations of civil society.
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