Accepted paper:

'The bantustans and South Africa's liberation struggle'

Author:

Arianna Lissoni (University of the Witwatersrand)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the debates taking place within the liberation movement in exile during the 1970s over the question of participation in bantustan politics and the problems, as well as the opportunities, they posed, especially in terms of underground organisation and waging armed struggle.

Paper long abstract:

After the imposition of Bantu Authorities in South Africa's rural 'reserves', the apartheid state continued to roll out its 'homeland' policy, with self-government and, in some cases, 'independence' being granted to the bantustans over the next decades. The liberation movement exposed and rejected these formations as political fraud. Yet, the creation and the existence of the bantustans simultaneously engendered serious discussions within its ranks about their political implications for the national liberation struggle. This paper analyses the debates taking place within the ANC and SACP in exile during the 1970s over the question of participation in bantustan politics and the problems, as well as the opportunities, they posed, especially in terms of underground organisation and waging armed struggle. These strategic debates may shed new light on the intensification of the armed struggle and the resurgence of mass struggle during the following decade.

panel His03
Alternative histories of decolonisation in Southern Africa