According to the conventional wisdom, the ANC after its banning in
1960 by the apartheid government and the imprisonment of its
leaders largely disappeared off the face of South Africa until
public support for it revived in the wake of the Soweto Uprising of
1976. This title takes issue with that view. Drawing on substantial
oral testimony, Raymond Suttner, an academic and former ANC
underground worker, develops a convincing case that internally
based activists, working independently of the exile organisation,
were able to reconstitute networks within South Africa after the
ANC had been declared illegal. He discusses the salient
characteristics of their underground work and presents a
fascinating investigation of the various kinds of 'heroic
masculinity' that helped invigorate the ANC's clandestine life.
Interesting too is his discussion of the way in which the
organisation itself supplied a surrogate focus for suppressed
personal emotions. In a final chapter, he explores the content of
the hegemony that the ANC had established by the late 1970s, which
enabled it to become the prime political beneficiary of the Soweto
Uprising of black students.
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