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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'They became afraid when they saw us': MK insurgency and counterinsurgency in the Bantustan of Transkei, 1988-1994
Author:Douek, DanielISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:South Africa
African National Congress (South Africa)
anti-apartheid resistance
armed forces
political conditions
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070.2013.765751
Abstract:The increasingly overt sympathies of the Transkei Bantustan military ruler, Bantu Holomisa, towards the African National Congress (ANC) during the late 1980s preceded the unbanning of the ANC by the South African government, and created a regional stronghold for the ANC and for its armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). Interviews with ex-combatants and archival research shed new light on MK activities in the Transkei during the years 1988-1994, and on the extensive counterinsurgency campaign mounted by South African Defence Forces Military Intelligence to weaken MK. This campaign included an attempt to topple Holomisa by a coup which was thwarted by MK forces several months after negotiations between the ANC and the South African government began in February 1990. MK forces based in the Transkei continued a duel in the shadows with the apartheid military until the ANC came to power in 1994. This little-known case illustrates MK's ability to organise and operate effectively when backed by a supportive regime. It also contributes to the historiographical debate about the ANC's military activities during the transition era, suggesting that during this period MK's strategy was primarily a defensive response to apartheid counterinsurgency rather than an offensive strategy to shape the transition in the ANC's favour. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]