Opposition in South Africa: The Leadership of Z.K. Matthews, Nelson Mandela, and Stephen Biko

By Tim J. Juckes | Go to book overview

Preface

This book is the culmination of a project that began before there was any hint that the white government in South Africa would release its most famous prisoner. As this book reached its completion, Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem (F. W.) de Klerk's efforts to replace apartheid with a nonracial constitution and a democratic political system earned them South Africa's third Nobel Peace Prize. They are deserving of such recognition. To seek to restructure a society through negotiation and to replace racial division with interracial cooperation, even harmony, has to be one of the most daunting tasks in our world.

The purpose of this book is to present a sociopsychological retrospective of South African political developments through this century. I review the lives of three heroes of the opposition movement--Z. K. Matthews, Nelson Mandela, and Stephen Biko--in detail and interweave biographical and sociopolitical information to show how individuals and evolving sociopolitical processes interact. We see the constraining power of society on individual action and the equally impressive power of individuals to modify that society.

It is possible to consider three forms of black opposition in this century. Naturally, others may label them differently, or even argue for further categorization. For the purposes of this book, however, it seems useful to point to a phase of paternalism, followed by one of multiracialism and ending with a period of exclusivism. Each of the leaders to be considered

-xiii-

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