The ANC's War against Apartheid

The ANC's War against Apartheid

Umkhonto we Sizwe and the Liberation of South Africa
Davis, Stephen R.
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/21/2017
Format: Paperback 12 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-03229-4
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For nearly three decades, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), waged a violent revolutionary struggle against the apartheid state in South Africa. Stephen Davis works with extensive oral testimonies and the heroic myths that were constructed after 1994 to offer a new history of this armed movement. Davis deftly addresses the histories that reinforce the legitimacy of the ANC as a ruling party, its longstanding entanglement with the South African Communist Party, and efforts to consolidate a single narrative of struggle and renewal in concrete museums and memorials. Davis shows that the history of MK is more complicated and ambiguous than previous laudatory accounts would have us believe, and in doing so he discloses the contradictions of the liberation struggle as well as its political manifestations.

Author Bio

Stephen Davis is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Kentucky.


This is an important and timely study, highly readable, solidly researched, and well written. It provides a fascinating and provocative engagement for those interested in histories of liberation, armed struggles, and informal armed formations.Stephen Davis charts new territory in a bold and lively fashion. Apart from furthering our knowledge and understanding of MK, he contributes significantly to scholarship on liberation movements more broadly. Essential reading.

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1. A Brief History of the Umkhonto we Sizwe and the Armed Struggle
2. "I Am Not Prepared to Answer at This Stage": History, Evidence and the Mamre Camp, December 26–30, 1962
3. The Sight of Battle: Visuality, History, and Representations of the Wankie Campaign, July 31–September 8, 1967
4. Losing the Plot: Mystery, Narrativity and Investigation in Novo Catengue, May 1977–March 1979
5. Everyday Life during Wartime: Experience, Modes of Writing, and the Underground in Cape Town During the Long Decade of the 1980s
Conclusion: Making the Struggle Concrete: Nationalist Historiography at Freedom Park

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