SOUTH AFRICA: TIME OF AGONY, TIME OF DESTINY by Martin Murray

SOUTH AFRICA: TIME OF AGONY, TIME OF DESTINY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Despite the schlocky title, an authoritative study of indigenous South African resistance to apartheid. Murray (Sociology; SUNY at Binghamton) devotes most of this lengthy (492 pp.) work to events following the 1976 Soweto uprising, beginning with a detailed discussion of the current prime target of resistance to apartheid: the ""Total Strategy doctrine"" of the Botha regime. Reflecting the shift in control of the dominant Nationalist party from wage earners and farmers towards a more educated, more liberal bourgeoisie, this doctrine aims to give the appearance of reform while fully protecting white rule. Thus the infamous ""Homelands"" policy that set up ghettoized black nations under the guise of self-rule, and thus the adoption of a new constitution granting minor political power to Asians and ""coloreds""--but not to blacks. But anti-apartheiders have totally rejected Botha's ploy. and, as Murray shows, South Africa in the last decade has been an inferno of protest. The roll call of resistance is long and pervasive: first on Murray's list is the independent black trade union movement, a hodgepodge of organizations many of which federated in 1985 into the radical COSATU. Next are the UDF and the more radical National Forum, two rival alliances of church, women's, youth, sporting, student, and professional groups. Also detailed here are the outlawed African National Congress, and a panoply of less influential guerrilla and political bodies. Murray follows this look at opposition groups with a frightening account of the escalating confrontation between whites and resistance, concluding with a warning that civil war seems the inexorable end of an ever-more polarized and volatile situation. Too detailed and tightly focused to interest the general reader, but a brilliant account of a rebellion nearing the boiling point.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1987
Publisher: Schocken