FIGHTING YEARS: Black Resistance and the Struggle for a New South Africa by Steven Mufson

FIGHTING YEARS: Black Resistance and the Struggle for a New South Africa

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A timely, if somewhat irritating, look at the black resistance in South Africa by veteran journalist Mufson, who now works for the Washington Post. Mufson, who was in South Africa on assignment from 1984 to 1986, witnessed the outbreak of violence and the growth of anti-apartheid groups like the United Democratic Front and Cosatu, the leading trade union organization--events that signaled to the South African government the urgent need for substantial change. He met many of the leaders of these groups as well as representatives of the then-underground ANC and PAC. He also met with those blacks who were antisocialist, antisanctions, and tended to be more conservative. The major part of the book reflects the time Mufson was actually in South Africa, an extraordinary time indeed--but even more extraordinary times followed, which Mufson doesn't fully cover. He includes a tremendous number of facts, anecdotes, and opinions, interesting in themselves but needing a more defined context and more analysis. His comments on the differences between the groups, however, are especially relevant as violence increases in the black community and the ANC finds many of its sympathizers resisting what they perceive to be its autocratic tendencies. Despite the useful information here, Mufson's failure to tailor the material to recent dramatic events, plus sloppy editing and poor organization, make this work a disappointment. It is also more for those already knowledgeable about South Africa than for the general reader.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1990
Publisher: Beacon