By Gary Kynoch
“An extremely important contribution to South African scholarship but also offers a wealth of findings for comparative scholarship in the fields of colonialism, state formation, police science, criminology, resistance, migration, and gender studies.”
Tom Lodge, author of Politics in South Africa: From Mandela to Mbeki
“Gary Kynoch’s engaging book examines how gangs of Basotho migrants used violence and crime to survive under the harsh conditions of everyday life in apartheid South Africa … Kynoch’s well-researched study expands our knowledge of the history of Basotho migrancy to South Africa’s gold mines … Kynoch must be applauded.”
International Journal of African Historical Studies
“This is a groundbreaking study that will force researchers in many different fields to investigate anew such issues as the complexity of Black township life under apartheid, the origins of South African violence and crime, gender relationships in the Black community, the underground economy, migration, urbanization, and resistance up to the present day. It is a book that should be in all research libraries, and that all South African scholars will find interesting and stimulating.”
Canadian Journal of African Studies
“A rich and provocative look at gang activity and crime in South Africa.... An intriguing and thoughtful book.”
University of Toronto Quarterly
Since the late 1940s, a violent African criminal society known as the Marashea has operated in and around South Africa’s gold mining areas. With thousands of members involved in drug smuggling, extortion, and kidnapping, the Marashea was more influential in the day-to-day lives of many black South Africans under apartheid than were agents of the state. These gangs remain active in South Africa.
In We Are Fighting the World: A History of the Marashea Gangs in South Africa, 1947–1999, Gary Kynoch points to the combination of coercive force and administrative weakness that characterized the apartheid state. As long as crime and violence were contained within black townships and did not threaten adjacent white areas, township residents were largely left to fend for themselves. The Marashea’s ability to prosper during the apartheid era and its involvement in political conflict led directly to the violent crime epidemic that today plagues South Africa.
Highly readable and solidly researched, We Are Fighting the World is critical to an understanding of South African society, past and present. This pioneering study challenges previous social history research on resistance, ethnicity, urban spaces, and gender in South Africa. Kynoch’s interviews with many current and former gang members give We Are Fighting the World an energy and a realism that are unparalleled in any other published work on gang violence in southern Africa.
Gary Kynoch is an assistant professor of history at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is the author of numerous articles on crime, policing, and violence in urban South Africa. More info →
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This book provides a significant revision of South African labor history and makes an important contribution to the debate about apartheid’s genesis. Using a range of untapped sources, it shows that there was far more strike action during World War II than has been officially acknowledged. A new working class, sometimes organized into multiracial unions, won improved wages and softened racial prejudice among white workers.Contradicting
The new South Africa cannot be understood without a knowledge of the history of the UDF and its role in the transition to democracy.This is the first major study of an organization that transformed South African politics in the 1980s. By coordinating popular struggles on the ground and promoting the standing of the African National Congress, the UDF played a central role in the demise of apartheid and paved the way for South Africa’s transition to democracy.Based
One of South Africa’s most serious problems is the large number of youths in the black townships who have been exposed to an incredible depth and complexity of trauma. Not only have they lived through severe poverty, the deterioration of family and social structures, and an inferior education system, but they have also been involved in catastrophic levels of violence, both as victims and as perpetrators. What are the effects of the milieu? What future is there for this generation?
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