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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter looks at the history of the armed struggles waged by South Africa’s liberation movements between 1960 and 1990. Among the organisations considered are the African National Congress (ANC), the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), the National Committee of Liberation/Armed Resistance Movement (NCL/ARM), the Yu Chi Chan Club, and the Black Consciousness Movement, along with their military offshoots Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), Poqo, the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA), the Azanian National Liberation Army (AZANLA) and others. The respective insurgencies are considered individually and comparatively, focusing on the tactical and strategic approaches adopted by the movements. The military methods employed by the organisations included sabotage, insurrection, guerrilla warfare and conventional conflict. The choices that they made regarding strategies and tactics were influenced by demographic, geographic, political and socio-economic considerations. But in addition to these South African factors, geopolitics also influenced the scope and intensity of armed resistance. This was because for the greater part of the period considered in the chapter, the organisations were movements-in-exile. Accordingly, their access to training, weapons, camps and infiltration routes was dependent on external goodwill. Operations within South Africa had to take cognisance of this external feature. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the process of the integration of the guerrilla armies into South Africa’s new national defence force after 1990.

Keywords: African National Congress, Pan-Africanist Congress, National Committee of Liberation/Armed Resistance Movement, Yu Chi Chan Club, Black Consciousness Movement of Azania, Umkhonto we Sizwe, Poqo, the Azanian People’s Liberation Army, Azanian National Liberation Army

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