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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Township histories, insurrection and liberation in late apartheid South Africa
Author:Sapire, HilaryISNI
Periodical:South African Historical Journal (ISSN 0258-2473)
Geographic term:South Africa
anti-apartheid resistance
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02582473.2013.777089
Abstract:This article reviews the literature on resistance in South Africa's African townships that emerged in response to the township insurgencies of the 1980s and early 1990s. It focuses on two bodies of writing: the literature that chronicled the revolt as it unfolded on the one hand, and the historical literature that explored township politics and culture during the first half of the twentieth century on the other. It evaluates these writings' strengths and points to the inevitable gaps and blind spots. It also highlights the disjunctures that existed between the two. The current wave of historical writing on South Africa's liberation struggle as well as the reassertion of township-based resistance and of township history gives this survey a particular salience. The article argues for the need for both a 'joined-up' liberation history that gives due place to the township-based rebellions (as opposed to one that is subordinated to that of the exiled ANC in contemporary public history) and one that recognizes the deeper roots of, and continuities with, earlier phases of township resistance and rebellion. It also considers this body of writing in the light of subsequent critiques of the resistance paradigm and the social history approach that dominated the study of townships in the 1980s. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]