THE STRUGGLE: A History of the African National Congress by Heidi Holland

THE STRUGGLE: A History of the African National Congress

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An immensely readable but frankly partisan account of the oldest black political movement in South Africa--the African National Congress (ANC). Founded in 1912 by tribal leaders and members of the black intelligentsia to further black interests and agitate peacefully for the removal of racial discrimination, the ANC is likely to play a major role in the formation of any future black government. South African journalist Holland traces the history of the movement to the present, describing how the elitist and conciliatory founders have over the years been replaced by more radical leaders like Walter Sisulu, Chris Hani, Govan Mbeki, and, of course, the imprisoned Nelson Mandela. She also discusses the role of the Communist Party in the ANC, a role that led not only to fears of Soviet subversion but to a split in the Congress itself, between the nonracialists and those who believed in Africa for the Africans. It was this split that ultimately lead to the founding of the Black Consciousness movement by the late Steve Biko. The split continues to the present, with the PAC (The Pan-African Congress) and the more radical comrades forming a left-wing threat to the ANC. Holland's brief sketches of ANC leaders like Sisulu, the late Nobel Peace Prize-winner Chief Albert Luthuli, and Nelson Mandela, though somewhat uncritical, are useful introductions to these key figures. She also frankly assesses the chances of the ANC coming to power in the immediate future, and, while sympathetic to the ANC, acknowledges the significance of groups to its left and right, as well as white concerns at what they observe in the rest of the continent. With no pretensions to scholarship, Holland offers a timely book for this hopeful period in South Africa's frequently troubled history.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1990
Publisher: Braziller