“The Idea of the ANC takes a look at how conception of power, promoting unity, and a commitment to human liberation have in the past shaped politics in [South Africa] and the possible role they could play in guiding the leadership of the ANC’s responses to future challenges.… Be sure to get this exciting and very easy to read pocket book.”
LOOCHA Magazine (South Africa)
“…an insightful analysis of the potential long-term impact of core ANC concepts…”
“[A] sobering but measured account….In an accessible manner, synthesizing historiographies and thus ideas, the Ohio Short Histories…provide comprehensible introductions to the nature of South Africa's past, particulalry the role that the ANC have had in shaping the trajectory of the country's recent history.”
Kate Law, Journal of African History
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. For such skeptics, the ANC—now in government for two decades—has betrayed South Africans rather than liberating them.
South Africans endure deep inequality and unemployment, violent community protests, murders of foreign residents, major policy blunders, an AIDS crisis, and deepening corruption. Inside the ANC there are episodes of open rebellion against the leadership, conflicts over the character of a postliberation movement, and debilitating battles for succession to the movement’s presidency. The ANC is nevertheless likely to remain the party of government for the foreseeable future.
This remarkable book explores how ANC intellectuals and leaders interpret the historical project of their movement. It investigates three interlocking ideas: a conception of power, a responsibility for promoting unity, and a commitment to human liberation. Anthony Butler explores how these notions have shaped South African politics in the past and how they will inform ANC leaders’ responses to the challenges of the future.
Anthony Butler is Professor of Political Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Previously, he was Chair in Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and a Fellow of Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge. Butler was educated at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. He writes a weekly column for Johannesburg’s Business Day newspaper and is the author or editor of six other books, including Cyril Ramaphosa and Contemporary South Africa. More info →
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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.
This brilliant little book tells the story of the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League from its origins in the 1940s to the present and the controversies over Julius Malema and his influence in contemporary youth politics. Glaser analyzes the ideology and tactics of its founders, some of whom (notably Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo) later became iconic figures in South African history as well as inspirational figures such as A. P. Mda (father of author Zakes Mda) and Anton Lembede.
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.
“No nation can win a battle without faith,” Steve Biko wrote, and as Daniel R. Magaziner demonstrates in The Law and the Prophets, the combination of ideological and theological exploration proved a potent force.The 1970s are a decade virtually lost to South African historiography. This span of years bridged the banning and exile of the country’s best-known antiapartheid leaders in the early 1960s and the furious protests that erupted after the Soweto uprisings of June 16, 1976.
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