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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines the significant trends in African nationalist and left-wing political thought from 1943—the year that witnessed the establishment of the Non-Europe Unity Movement (NEUM), the achievement of full membership rights for women in the African National Congress (ANC), and publication of the ANC’s policy manifesto, African Claims—to the banning of the liberation organizations after the 1960 Sharpeville massacre. These two decades were a period of rapid domestic and international change, the entrenchment of white supremacy by the apartheid regime, and the birth of new forms and philosophies of social struggle. They began with a mood of tremendous optimism among many African intellectuals that the end of World War II and the collapse of the British Empire (represented most immediately by the coming of Indian independence) would result in a new political reality for black South Africans. They ended with a wave of ferocious repression that drove the liberation organizations underground and into exile, destroyed any immediate hope for the peaceful dismantling of white minority rule, and began the transformation of apartheid into one of the most significant global issues of the later twentieth century.

Keywords: Marxism, nationalism, Pan-Africanism, nonracialism, African National Congress (ANC), Non-European Unity Movement (NEUM), Pan African Congress (PAC), Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW), Freedom Charter

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