External Mission: The ANC in Exile, 1960-1990

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9781849045063: External Mission: The ANC in Exile, 1960-1990

Nelson Mandela's release from prison in February 1990 was one of the most memorable moments of recent decades. It came a few days after the removal of the ban on the African National Congress; founded a century ago and outlawed in 1960, it had transferred its headquarters abroad and opened what it termed an External Mission. For the thirty years following its banning, the ANC had fought relentlessly against the apartheid state. Finally voted into office in 1994, the ANC today regards its armed struggle as the central plank of its legitimacy.

External Mission is the first study of the ANC's period in exile, based on a full range of sources in southern Africa and Europe. These include the ANC's own archives and also those of the Stasi, the East German ministry that trained the ANC's security personnel. It reveals that the decision to create the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) -- guerrilla army which later became the ANC's armed wing -- as made not by the ANC but by its allies in the South African Communist Party after negotiations with Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

In this impressive work, Ellis shows that many of the strategic decisions made, and many of the political issues that arose during the course of that protracted armed struggle, had a lasting effect on South Africa, shaping its society even up to the present day.

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About the Author:


Stephen Ellis is the author of groundbreaking books on the ANC, the Liberian Civil War, religion and politics in Africa, and the history of Madagascar. He is Professor of Social Sciences at the Free University, Amsterdam.

Review:


"The real message of Stephen Ellis's history of the African National Congress (ANC) in exile painfully and palpably obvious between the lines is how the conspiratorial past affects the ruling party to the present day. It makes uncomfortable reading, for it goes some way towards explaining why President Jacob Zuma, a former head of the ANC s intelligence service in exile, and his comrades now running South Africa find it so hard to embrace the notion that a diversity of opinion and tolerance of dissent must be at the heart of any functioning, decent democracy."-- The Economist


"[A] book that contains startling revelations about the ANC's flirtation with totalitarianism. ... Mr Ellis is a clear-eyed observer of all things African, a fearless butcher of sacred cows. External Mission begins by annihilating conventional understandings of the circumstances surrounding the ANC s 1961 declaration of war on apartheid. According to Mr Ellis, all critical decisions were actually taken by the South African Communist Party (SACP), which sought support from Moscow and Beijing and then bounced the ANC into following its lead. ... Mr Ellis goes so far as to report that Mr Mandela was almost certainly a member, at least for a time, of the SACP's central committee." -- Wall Street Journal


"There is hardly a page of this fascinating book does not throw fresh light on South Africa s murky past. Impeccably researched and written in the clear, dispassionate prose of a historian, Stephen Ellis has provided an indispensable guide to the ANC." --Martin Plaut, Africa editor, BBC World Service


"This thoroughly researched book explains much about why SA is in the condition it is today. It makes it depressingly obvious that our "rainbow nation" is no longer the legacy of Nelson Mandela, or even Thabo Mbeki, but rather of Joe Modise."-- South Africa's Financial Mail


"[External Mission] will probably cast Ellis as a troublemaker in the ANC's South Africa, but there can be little doubt that his research is sound and his interpretations credible. He provides exhaustive evidence for what are now recognized to have been the most significant weaknesses of the ANC in exile [and] adds much data on the extent of corruption within the party. Ellis's book will undoubtedly stand as the definitive account of the ANC in exile." -- Patrick Chabal, International Affairs


"Ellis's evidence is impress and he makes his case forcefully. A battery of archival sources including the ANC's own records help to underpin his argument." -- Times Literary Supplement


''Stephen Ellis' book provides a readable, detailed and well-researched account of these events ... If you read nothing else, I would strongly recommend his brilliant final chapter entitled 'Perspectives'." -- Nigel Watt, Chartist


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Stephen Ellis
Verlag: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd Mrz 2015 (2015)
ISBN 10: 1849045062 ISBN 13: 9781849045063
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Buchbeschreibung C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd Mrz 2015, 2015. Taschenbuch. Buchzustand: Neu. Neuware - Award-winning book looking at the complicated history of the ANC. 288 pp. Englisch. Artikel-Nr. 9781849045063

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