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Title:Resonances of youth and tensions of race: liberal student politics, white radicals and Black Consciousness, 1968-1973
Author:Macqueen, Ian
Periodical:South African Historical Journal (ISSN 0258-2473)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:black consciousness
student movements
race relations
Abstract:This paper examines the relationship between white liberal students and black students in the Black Consciousness-aligned South African Students' Organization (SASO), which was officially launched in July 1969 at the University of the North, Turfloop. It explores the often fraught personal relationships between young leaders, but also points out their commonalities: a search for ideas, resonances they felt with international struggles for justice, and the unique and distinctive history that characterized South Africa during this period. In South Africa in the early 1970s activists elaborated the radical ideas of the 1960s, and as international movements for social justice lost their momentum in other countries, opposition to State power resurfaced in South Africa. The paper points to the personal transformations in white student leaders as they sought to accommodate the Black Consciousness challenge and respond in constructive ways. It also points to the regional histories of radicalism, focusing first on the Cape (the Mafeje affair of 1968), secondly on the Northern Transvaal (Stellenbosch as a source of progressive politics) and finally on Durban (the so-called 'Durban moment', which describes the confluence of intellectual discourses and practical projects in the city in the early 1970s, which signalled a shift in the regional importance of student activism from the Cape to Durban). Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]