Black Consciousness in South Africa: The Dialectics of Ideological Resistance to White Supremacy

Black Consciousness in South Africa: The Dialectics of Ideological Resistance to White Supremacy

Black Consciousness in South Africa: The Dialectics of Ideological Resistance to White Supremacy

Black Consciousness in South Africa: The Dialectics of Ideological Resistance to White Supremacy

Synopsis

Black Consciousness in South Africa provides a new perspective on black politics in South Africa. It demonstrates and assesses critically the radical character and aspirations of African resistance to white minority rule.

Robert Fatton analyzes the development and radicalization of South Africa's Black Consciousness Movement from its inception in the late 1960s to its banning in 1977. He rejects the widely accepted interpretation of the Black Consciousness Movement as an exclusively cultural and racial expression of African resistance to racism. Instead Fatton argues that over the course of its existence, the Movement developed a revolutionary ideology capable of challenging the cultural and political hegemony of apartheid. The Black Consciousness Movement came to be a synthesis of class awareness and black cultural assertiveness. It represented the ethico-political weapon of an oppressed class struggling to reaffirm its humanity through active participation in the demise of a racist and capitalist system."

Excerpt

The history of South Africa can be viewed as the history of black resistance to white conquest and white domination. This resistance has taken many forms which naturally underwent profound modifications in the years following the arrival of the first colonists led by Jan Van Riebeeck in 1652. Each form of resistance represented a specific reaction and attempted solution to the political, material, and organizational problems generated by white hegemony; each expressed simultaneously continuity and rupture with the practices of the past.

The forms of African resistance were determined by changes in African needs and consciousness, and by the structural transformations in the economic and political systems. In turn, these changes and structural transformations imposed serious limitations on the effectiveness of African resistance since they were seldom initiated or controlled by Africans. Moreover, for more . . .

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