“Jeremy Seekings's history of the United Democratic Front (UDF) is a masterful compilation of information based on scores of interviews. Given the nature of the organization, record keeping was initially poor, while in later years files were often confiscated or destroyed. His has thus been a tedious job of reconstruction.”
African Studies Review
The new South Africa cannot be understood without a knowledge of the history of the UDF and its role in the transition to democracy.
This is the first major study of an organization that transformed South African politics in the 1980s. By coordinating popular struggles on the ground and promoting the standing of the African National Congress, the UDF played a central role in the demise of apartheid and paved the way for South Africa's transition to democracy.
Based on extensive documentary and interview sources, the book traces the UDF's birth, career, and dissolution. It is a remarkable tale of strategic and tactical decision-making: of how opponents of apartheid made choices that helped to seal the fate of white domination while avoiding the general bloodbath that always threatened.
Jeremy Seekings has a joint appointment as Professor of Political Studies and Sociology at the University of Cape Town. He is also Director of the Social Surveys Unit in the Centre for Social Science Research at UCT. He is the author of Heroes or Villains: Youth Politics in the 1980s (Ravan Press, 1993) and coauthor of From Race to Class: The Changing Nature of Inequality in South Africa.
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