The Virtuous Archive: crucial to writing good history?

Over the last two centuries the archives, those repositories of records collected over time, have almost become seen as the preserve of the historian. They offer a mass of often systematised information about most historical periods which the historian can exploit to illuminate aspects of the past that would otherwise be incomprehensible. Yet the archives are not everything, as any “good” history will acknowledge.

Such history writing must be based on reliable sources, inclusivity, and sound interpretation of the evidence gathered. It is seldom that these three things can be achieved purely by basing one’s work on archival research. This piece will focus on the content of history writing, with an acknowledgment of the importance of form. It will begin by examining the undoubted merits of archival research in framing written history. However, it will then argue that a broader knowledge base than purely archival research is necessary to enable greater inclusivity and reliability in history writing, as it allows cross-examination of sources. This will be followed by the suggestion that other research methods are required for some historical inquiries where consulting the archives is simply not an option.

Throughout, emphasis will be placed on the importance of writing history in a well-structured manner based on reasoned interpretations of the information gathered, no matter what knowledge sources are used. It is important to recognise that both content and form will vary significantly based on the type of historical inquiry undertaken and therefore all “good” histories will by no means look alike.

The secret archives of the Vatican
The secret archives of the Vatican

 

The Virtuous Archive

The collection and preservation of records has been a preoccupation of humankind for thousands of years, as highlighted by the extensive legal, administrative and military orders inscribed on stone tablets from the ancient city of Ebla in present-day Syria, dating from around 2250BC.[1]

Archives have developed in form and quantity since this time, culminating in the digital age where electronic archives have become increasingly prevalent and represent the latest attempt of the human race to efficiently catalogue its past.[2]

Despite these progressions, some of the functions of archival research for the historian have remained the same. One of the most important aspects of writing “good” history is attaining an accurate chronological framework in order to place events in their “true” context. Historians have partaken in archival research for this purpose for centuries. For example, Thucydides, considered as one of the founders of history in the Western historiographical tradition, used archival records of officeholders to determine the start date of the Peloponnesian War in the fifth century BC.[3] As contemporary historians still use Thucydides’ work as a starting-point when studying the war, it intimates at the importance of archival research in establishing the chronology of events from the distant past.

As Clanchy warns us in regards to archives in medieval England, dating is not a formality. Many of the documents retained in such collections are undated or intentionally dated inaccurately for personal motives[4], making it difficult and contestable to construct a chronological framework from these particular records. Nevertheless, the able historian should be able to distinguish which documents are both reliable and properly dated through studying their contents and by triangulating records with other archival deposits. This is essential, as a discernible and understandable chronology is central to effective historical writing.  Other sources of knowledge perhaps do not offer the same dating potential in this respect that archives do.

Many fabulous texts from Medieval England survive in the archives. But their origin and purpose are not always clear
Many fabulous texts from Medieval England survive in the archives. But their origin and purpose are not always clear

 

Another merit of basing historical writing on archival research is simple logistics. As Michel Foucault argues, “history is…possibly the most cluttered area of our memory…history has become the unavoidable element in our thought.”[5] The complex nature of historical inquiry, with its unending possibilities and extraordinary breadth of subject, makes order a problem. “Good” history writing requires focus on aspects of the past relevant to the author’s particular line of inquiry. It is easy to be side-tracked into including narratives of past events that do not contribute to the purpose of the history being written. Take for example Bartolomé de las Casas’ Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies (1542) in which the Dominican friar and historian digresses from a narrow aim of highlighting native exploitation by Spanish Catholics on the island of Hispaniola, to a sprawling, incoherent diatribe berating Spanish torture methods and gold lust throughout the New World.[6] This lack of order simply results in an anti-Catholic polemic and evokes little sympathy for the natives, neither of which were Las Casas’ intentions.

Las Casas had no access to archival sources, which had yet to be properly established in the New World, and consequently his history is chaotic. Archival research can provide a foundation from which the historian can order their work. Modern archives collate the documents and images relating to the same subject matter or function and systematise them chronologically. From this the historian can remain focused on their specific question or inquiry, as they have clear access to the sources relevant to their study. This benefit is seen in Virginia Lunsford’s comprehensive Piracy and Privateering in the Golden Age Netherlands in which she provides great focus and depth on a fairly narrow aspect of history, largely as a result of guidance by archival research.[7] Whilst some authors have argued that increasing specialisation on narrow inquiries limits our understanding of important historical processes[8], it is only through in-depth studies such as Lunsford’s that we can begin to understand the past, which should be an aim of all written history.

 

This desire to understand the past as it was at a given point in time, what Arthur Marwick terms genetic relationism, was central to the work of the greatest proponent of archival research, Leopold von Ranke.[9] Von Ranke’s desire to “show what actually happened”[10] led him to base his history writing on archival research. In his eyes documents offered an impartial window into the past, allowing the historian to remain objective in his study.[11]

Of course von Ranke’s big failure here was his reluctance to subject the archives he studied to the external and internal criticism that Langlois and Seignobos emphasise is crucial when determining the reliability of documents.[12] Whilst von Ranke may have been misguided in his belief that the archives he trawled represented the “truth”, he recognised the importance of original evidence, which remains one of the archive’s greatest contributions to historiography. As Clanchy argues, the effort and cost of committing records to parchment in medieval times suggests they were supposed to “make a lasting memorial” and this alone offers the historian an insight into what was attributed importance in past cultures and societies.[13]

Even for more contemporary periods, archival research offers the historian an insight into political interactions, legal systems, social relations, religious affiliation and a whole range of other phenomena. What is crucial for writing history is selecting relevant and reliable information from the archive and accepting that archival evidence does not hold all the answers. It may be possible to write fairly reliable and inclusive histories from archival evidence alone – especially in regards to the particular institutions that house such records – yet such research needs supplementing. Von Ranke did not recognise this need, claiming in his Ecclesiastical and Political History of the Popes of Rome: “the imperial archives [of the Vatican] contain…the most important and authentic documents illustrative of German and of general history.”[14] Whilst his contribution to historiography is immense, to claim that von Ranke wrote comprehensive histories of his chosen subjects is somewhat dubious given his neglect of the other sources of knowledge on which such writing must also be based.

Von Ranke was an unapologetic advocate of archival supremacy
Von Ranke was an unapologetic advocate of archival supremacy

 

Stepping Out of the Archive

Basing a history predominantly on one source of knowledge, such as archival research, is notoriously dangerous and can lead to the manipulation of evidence through two main means. Firstly, historians can use archival evidence for political reasons, usually relating to nationalism and xenophobia. This has long been a practice, exemplified by Edward I’s use of historical writing based on monastic archival research to claim Scotland as his territory in 1291.[15] More recently, Japanese revisionist historians have pointed to a lack of archival evidence to deny the occurrence of the “Nanjing Massacre” in China in 1937.[16] These written histories can cause severe tensions within and between countries, as highlighted by the “textbook controversies” that often destabilise contemporary Sino-Japanese relations.[17] Such claims can only gain credibility because of the emphasis placed on archival research in writing history. Secondly, distorted or biased histories can be produced (not always deliberately) by relying primarily on the archives because of the problem regarding impartiality alluded to above. As Carolyn Steedman pertinently reflects:

 

The archive is made from selected and consciously chosen documentation from the past and also from the mad fragmentations that no one intended to preserve and that just ended up there.[18]

 

Archival evidence is certainly not impartial and cannot automatically be seen as a “true” representation of the past. Records are not often preserved for the sake of future historians and should they be then it is likely that they are trying to portray a manipulated version of the past for the benefit of particular individuals or institutions. For example, it is widely believed that the papal archives, whilst enormous in content, have been collated selectively with the omission (at least to the public) of documents potentially damaging to the reputation of the Vatican.[19] Consequently, relying on archival research can lead to impartial and inaccurate publications, naturally contributing to inferior histories.

 

Even when archival evidence can be established as reliable and valid to a particular line of historical inquiry the historian should still try and make use of other sources of knowledge to supplement their research. It has already been noted that not all archival evidence is available to the public and, furthermore, the perishable nature of archives means historians are unlikely to get the full picture from this knowledge source alone. China in particular has seen the destruction of numerous archives dating back to the Ming dynasty of the fourteenth century and before, either as a result of political sabotage or natural disasters.[20] To counter both archival manipulation and shortfalls, it is preferable to corroborate such research with other forms of historical inquiry.

 

One way to supplement or test archival research is by making use of archaeological excavations. As Tabaczynski suggests, “historical cognition is situated between that which is material…and that which is non-material.”[21] The idea that we understand the past best with a balance of material and non-material evidence places a degree of importance on archaeology being able to add to our archival knowledge in pursuit of more inclusive writings. It is essential to note that much of our archival evidence pertaining to ancient civilisations, in particular, is only available because of archaeological excavations, as highlighted by the numerous findings of prehistoric Near Eastern texts.[22]

The archaeological investigations at Palmyra are under threat from ISIS terrorists. They have provided a great insight into the history of the Middle East over the past few decades
The archaeological investigations at Palmyra are under threat from ISIS terrorists. They have provided a great insight into the history of the Middle East over the past few decades

Archaeology can contribute to our historical writing in two primary ways. Firstly, it enhances our understanding of the past by adding to and correcting archival research already undertaken on a particular subject. For example, considerable archival information exists relating to the size and composition of naval forces in Renaissance Europe, yet few, if any, accurate drawings exist of the ships used.[23] This knowledge gap can be filled by archaeological studies of shipwrecks and technology found at Renaissance shipyards to give a more complete portrayal of ship design during the period[24], correcting the dubious pictorial evidence and providing an insight into regional variations.

The merits of combining archival and archaeological research are further evident in Charles Hudson’s Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun in which he gives an expert account of Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto’s expedition through Florida in the early 1540s and the natives he encountered, which could not have been written based on one research method alone.[25]  Secondly, they can prevent inaccuracies derived from the archives from being included in historical works. For instance, archival evidence derived from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of medieval England refers to the “kingship” that existed in the country from 500AD, suggesting the existence of an early state-society. However, the archaeological record suggests that such a state-society only began to emerge under Alfred in the ninth century, based on coin findings across the country.[26]

Conversely, archaeologists have excavated mass graves around the Nanjing area to confirm execution sites that undermine those histories denying the “massacre” (based on a lack of archival evidence) committed there by the Japanese Imperial Army in 1937.[27] Archaeological evidence can therefore help improve the reliability and inclusivity of written histories although it must be acknowledged that it cannot be applied to all historical inquiries.

One does need to make reference to the archives to prove the Nanjing Massacre
One does need to make reference to the archives to prove the Nanjing Massacre

 

A further source of knowledge that can contribute to good historiography  is documentary evidence obtained from outside the archives. There often appears to be an implicit belief amongst historians that only documents held in designated repositories are worthy of research, although we have already determined the limitations they can have.

Chinese scholars, especially, have referred to ancient and medieval histories that made use of archival research long since perished .[28] These works can supplement the limited contemporary archival research (as well as archaeological evidence) relating to ancient and medieval societies, although they must be open to the same levels of interpretive criticism regarding their reliability.[29] Indeed, ancient histories are seen by some as primary sources in their own right in Western historiography as the works of the likes of Herodotus reveal information not available in the contemporary archival record.[30]

Published memoirs and diaries can be similarly illuminating as they offer additional information of events and historical periods that cannot be gleaned from “official” archival records. Memoirs like Winston Churchill’s The History of the Second World War are being frequently exploited by Australian political historians in order to support their archival research into the recent past.[31] Non-written memories in the form of oral communication should also be consulted before writing contemporary history for, as Coffman argues, it “provides a human touch and a richness that one cannot get from paper documents.”[32] Forrest Pogue based his history on the Allied Expeditionary Force during WWII on oral research by conversing with relevant soldiers and commanders, which was supplemented by archival evidence. His Supreme Command is widely regarded as both accurate and detailed and explores the emotive impact of the War that could not have been attained from the archives alone.[33]

Whilst the impartiality and inaccuracy of memory cannot be guaranteed either, it is just another example of how historians can, and should, corroborate and collate their evidence by using a variety of knowledge sources. The archive alone will seldom produce the most comprehensive and accurate histories.

 

In addition, there are occasions when an effective history should not be based on archival research at all; when no archives exist relating to specific historical subjects and periods. This is most applicable to the study of non-literate societies where archives did not emerge until colonisation by a foreign power.[34] Indeed, A.P. Newton commented in 1923 that Africa had no history prior to the European arrival because of the absence of written documents and archival evidence.[35] Such elitist sentiment has thankfully been eliminated from most academic circles.

Histories can still be written without direct archival research and contribute hugely to our understanding of the past. For example, the utilisation of oral tradition, which varies significantly from epic poetry to detailed narratives, can give the historian great detail and relative chronology of pre-archival history in non-literate societies.[36] Whilst oral tradition is somewhat unreliable in its accuracy over long periods it can be subjected to the same cross-examination that archival research should be to improve accuracy. Irving Rouse makes use of oral tradition, archaeological excavations and linguistic studies to give a well-reasoned interpretation of pre-Columbian Taino society in the Caribbean and then compares his findings with the early documentary evidence provided by the Europeans to confirm Taino social practices.[37]

Oral history needs to be critically evaluated but it should not necessarily be overlooked
Oral history needs to be critically evaluated but it should not necessarily be overlooked

Indeed, similar methods can be employed when writing about marginalised groups within literate societies, such as the peasantry and women of medieval Europe, whose “voice” is often absent from the elitist archives of the time. Lisa Bitel studies oral heritage, literary works and archaeological evidence in Women in Early Medieval Europe to present a reasoned interpretation of daily life for women at a time when their archival presence is non-existent.[38] Without using alternative research methods “good” history cannot be produced for a whole range of societies, especially those in which archival evidence is not sufficient or absent altogether.

 

Concluding Thoughts

The foundation of history writing is reliable and inclusive content related to the historian’s field of inquiry. Archives are undoubtedly essential in providing some of this content for many (though not all) written histories, as they offer an unparalleled level of primary source material which can enhance our understanding of even the narrowest historical subjects.

One of the fundamental roles of history should be to further our understanding of past events, as more often than not they shape our contemporary world. The ordered nature of modern archives allows historians to focus their writing to begin to produce studies of great depth on specific subjects that allow us to achieve this understanding.

However, “good” history writing does not always have to be based on archival research. It should be predicated on an inclusive research methodology that makes use not only of archival evidence but other forms of knowledge gathering that are relevant to the history in question.

Whilst many historians still loathe the idea of engaging in research practices outside “traditional” historical inquiry, such as archaeology, it is crucial for reliability and levels of understanding that these knowledge bases are used wherever possible. It is reliant on the judgement of the historian to use the research sources appropriate for their study and their interpretation of the evidence to produce the most compelling writings. When this is achieved, reliability and inclusivity are attained and this, ultimately, is what we should strive of.

 

Endnotes

[1] R.J. Cox, Closing an era: historical perspectives on modern archives and records management (Westport, 2000) p. 24

[2] B.W. Dearstyne, Managing historical records programs: a guide for historical agencies (Lanham, 2000) pp.139-40

[3] E. Breisach, Historiography: ancient, medieval and modern (3rd ed.) (Chicago, 2007) p.11

[4] M.T. Clanchy, From memory to written record: England 1066-1307 (London, 1979) pp. 237-8

[5] M. Foucault, The order of things: an archaeology of the human sciences (Abingdon, 2002) pp.237-8

[6] B. De Las Casas, A short account of the destruction of the Indies (London, 1992)

[7] V. Lunsford, Piracy and privateering in the golden age Netherlands (Basingstoke, 2005) especially pp. ix-xi

[8] This trend is outlined in D. Thelen, ‘The profession and the Journal of American History’, The Journal of American History, 73 (1986) pp. 9-14

[9] A. Marwick, The nature of history (2nd ed.) (London, 1981) p.37

[10] F. Stern, The varieties of history: from Voltaire to the present (2nd ed.) (New York, 1973) p.528

[11] B. Stuchtey & P. Wende (eds.), ‘Introduction’ in British and German historiography: traditions, perceptions and transfers (Oxford, 2000) p.17

[12] C-V. Langlois & C. Seignobos, Introduction to the study of history (New York, 1904) pp. 66-7

[13] M.T. Clanchy, From memory to written record: England 1066-1307 (London, 1979) p.116

[14] L. Von Ranke, The ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome volume 1 (Philadelphia, 1841) p.viii

[15] M.T. Clanchy, From memory to written record: England 1066-1307 (London, 1979) p.132

[16] See Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, New history textbook (Tokyo, 2005) p.49

[17] Y.R. Chu, ‘Historical and contemporary roots of Sino-Japanese conflicts’ in J.C. Hsiung, China and Japan at odds: deciphering the perpetual conflict (Basingstoke, 2007) pp.31-2

[18] C. Steedman, Dust (Manchester, 2001) p.68

[19] For example see O. Chadwick, Catholicism and history: the opening of the Vatican archives (Cambridge, 1978)

[20] P.E. Wilkinson, Chinese history: a manual (Cambridge, Mass., 2000) p.889

[21] S. Tabaczynski, ‘The relationship between history and archaeology: elements of the present debate’, Medieval Archaeology, 37 (1993) p.1

[22] K.L. Sparks, Ancient texts for the study of the Hebrew bible: a guide to the background literature (Peabody, 2005) p.25

[23] R.W. Unger, ‘Four Dordrecht ships of the sixteenth century’, Mariner’s Mirror, 61 (1975) pp. 113-116

[24] L.R. Martin, The art and archaeology of Venetian ships and boats (Rochester, 2001) pp. 3-4

[25] C. Hudson, Knights of Spain, warriors of the sun: Hernando de Soto and the South’s ancient chiefdoms (Athens, 1998)

[26] P. Bahn & C. Renfrew, Archaeology: theories, methods and practice (3rd ed.) (London, 2000) p.183

[27] I. Hanson, ‘Forensic archaeology: approaches to international investigations’ in M. Oxenham, Forensic approaches to death, disaster and abuse (Sydney, 2008) p.19

[28] P.E. Wilkinson, Chinese history: a manual (Cambridge, Mass., 2000) p.490

[29] For example see H.C. McCullough, Yoshitsune: a fifteenth-century Japanese chronicle (Tokyo, 1966) pp. 5-6

[30] J.M. Hall, A history of the archaic Greek world, ca. 1200-479 BCE (Oxford, 2007) p.18

[31] S. Scalmer, ‘The rise of the insider: memoirs and diaries in recent Australian political history’, The Australian Journal of Politics and History, 56 (2010) pp. 82-95

[32] E.F. Coffman, ‘Talking about war: reflections on doing oral history and military history’, The Journal of American History, 87 (2000), p.589

[33] F.C. Pogue, The Supreme Command (Washington, 1954)

[34] See J.D. Fage, ‘The development of African historiography’ in J. Ki-Zerbo, General history of Africa 1: methodology and African pre-history (Berkley, 1981) p. 25

[35] K. Shillington, Encyclopaedia of African history, volume 1 (New York, 2005) p.627

[36] J. Vansina, ‘Oral tradition and its methodology’ in J. Ki-Zerbo, General history of Africa 1: methodology and African pre-history (Berkley, 1981) pp. 143-157

[37] I. Rouse, The Tainos: the rise and decline of the people who greeted Columbus (New Haven, 1993) pp.105-137

[38] L.M. Bitel, Women in early medieval Europe, 400-1100 (Cambridge, 2002) pp. 1-12

 

Bibliography

Books

Bahn, P. & Renfrew, C. Archaeology: theories, methods and practice (3rd ed.) (London, 2000)

Bitel, L.M. Women in early medieval Europe, 400-1100 (Cambridge, 2002)

Breisach, E. Historiography: ancient, medieval and modern (3rd ed.) (Chicago, 2007)

Chadwick, O. Catholicism and history: the opening of the Vatican archives (Cambridge, 1978)

Chu, Y.R. ‘Historical and contemporary roots of Sino-Japanese conflicts’ in J.C. Hsiung (ed.), China and Japan at odds: deciphering the perpetual conflict (Basingstoke, 2007), pp. 23-42

Clanchy, M.T. From memory to written record: England 1066-1307 (London, 1979)

Cox, R.J. Closing an era: historical perspectives on modern archives and records management (Westport, 2000)

De Las Casas, B. A short account of the destruction of the Indies (London, 1992) (Edited and Translated by Nigel Griffin)

Dearstyne, B.W. Managing historical records programs: a guide for historical agencies (Lanham, 2000)

Fage, J.D. ‘The development of African historiography’ in J. Ki-Zerbo, General history of Africa 1: methodology and African pre-history (Berkley, 1981), pp. 25-42

Foucault, M. The order of things: an archaeology of the human sciences (Abingdon, 2002)

Hall, J.M. A history of the archaic Greek world, ca. 1200-479 BCE (Oxford, 2007)

Hanson, I. ‘Forensic archaeology: approaches to international investigations’ in M. Oxenham, Forensic approaches to death, disaster and abuse (Sydney, 2008), pp. 17-28

Hudson, C. Knights of Spain, warriors of the sun: Hernando de Soto and the South’s ancient chiefdoms (Athens, 1998)

Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, New history textbook (Tokyo, 2005)

Langlois, C-V. & Seignobos, C. Introduction to the study of history (New York, 1904) (Translated by G.G. Berry)

Lunsford, V. Piracy and privateering in the golden age Netherlands (Basingstoke, 2005)

Martin, L.R. The art and archaeology of Venetian ships and boats (Rochester, 2001)

Marwick, A. The nature of history (2nd ed.) (London, 1981)

McCullough, H.C. Yoshitsune: a fifteenth-century Japanese chronicle (Tokyo, 1966)

Rouse, I. The Tainos: the rise and decline of the people who greeted Columbus (New Haven, 1993)

Shillington, K. Encyclopaedia of African history, volume 1 (New York, 2005)

Sparks, K.L. Ancient texts for the study of the Hebrew bible: a guide to the background literature (Peabody, 2005)

Steedman, C. Dust (Manchester, 2001)

Stern, F. The varieties of history: from Voltaire to the present (2nd ed.) (New York, 1973)

Stuchtey, B. & Wende, P. (eds.), ‘Introduction’ in British and German historiography: traditions, perceptions and transfers (Oxford, 2000), pp. 1-24

Vansina, J. ‘Oral tradition and its methodology’ in J. Ki-Zerbo, General history of Africa 1: methodology and African pre-history (Berkley, 1981), pp. 142-165

Von Ranke, L. The ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome volume 1 (Philadelphia, 1841) (Translated from the German by Sarah Austin)

Wilkinson, P.E. Chinese history: a manual (Cambridge, Mass., 2000)

 

Journals

Coffman, E.F. ‘Talking about war: reflections on doing oral history and military history’, The Journal of American History, 87 (2000), pp. 582-592

Scalmer, S. ‘The rise of the insider: memoirs and diaries in recent Australian political history’, The Australian Journal of Politics and History, 56 (2010), pp. 82-104

Tabaczynski, S. ‘The relationship between history and archaeology: elements of the present debate’, Medieval Archaeology, 37 (1993), pp. 1-14

Thelen, D. ‘The profession and the Journal of American History’, The Journal of American History, 73 (1986) pp. 9-14

Unger, R.W. ‘Four Dordrecht ships of the sixteenth century’, Mariner’s Mirror, 61 (1975), pp. 109-116

Seven Dead in Spanish Bull Runs: time running out for the spectacle of Iberia?

Seven people have been gored to death in Spain over the past month during popular bull-running festivals. The news comes just a few days after renowned matador Francisco Rivera Ordonez was left with severe injuries after being savagely attacked during a corrida in Huesca.

Spectacles involving the taunting and killing of bulls were common in Ancient Crete, Rome and Thessaly over a millennium ago and have remained popular – not to mention legal – in Spain, Portugal and several Latin American countries. That said, bullfighting and bull-running do not receive the nationwide approval they once did in Spain, with both the Canary Islands and Catalonia having outlawed the corrida.

Bullfighting in Spanish provinces in the 19th century
Bullfighting in Spanish provinces in the 19th century

 

Bullfighting in Spain today
Bullfighting in Spain today

Arguments over animal cruelty compete with narratives trumpeting the cultural significance of bull-baiting in all its forms although, in truth,  the spectacle is unlikely to disappear in its practicing countries anytime soon. Indeed, the running of the bulls in Pamplona remains an important date in the Spanish calendar. Originating in the 13th century – when it coincided with a series of bullfighting ‘fiestas’ – the Pamplona run attracts tourists from around the world and has been broadcast on Spanish national television for three decades. Injuries to participants is a yearly occurrence, although only 15 deaths have been recorded since 1910.

This latest spate of deaths in other bull-runs across the country is likely to provide momentum to activists seeking to end the practice, although it will take a very brave government to ban the sport, which remains an important economic (as well as cultural) contributor to Spain.

The running of the bulls in Pamplona
The running of the bulls in Pamplona

Bullfighting too is unlikely to die out quickly despite a decrease in participation and popularity. An age-old tradition, it follows three carefully-managed stages:

  1. A banderillero (assistant) performs some preliminary manoeuvres to allow the matador to assess the bull’s behaviour.
  2. The matador commences his capework, drawing the bull as close to him as possible whilst avoiding being gored.
  3. Picadors enter on horseback and jab the bull in the neck to weaken its muscles, allowing the matador to swoop in and slay the beast with his sword, usually to a rapturous reception from the baying crowd.

For people in many countries where bullfighting is not a national pastime this ‘process’ seems rather barbaric. However, the sport has become so ingrained in Spanish and, to a slightly lesser extent, Latin American culture that any criticism of it is almost deemed a racist assault. It is for this reason in particular – nationalism – that bullfighting and bull-running are likely to persist in their current forms for many years to come.

Whether this a triumph for national solidarity or a gross abuse of animal rights – not to mention the unnecessary risk placed on civilians – will probably depend on your country of origin.

Sevilla circa 1850. The primeval spectacle of man vs beast continues to stir passions in the Spanish heartland
Sevilla circa 1850. The primeval spectacle of man vs beast continues to stir passions in the Spanish heartland

Where the blood sports of the West have generally been abandoned, confined to a handful of illegal closed door ceremonies, the ‘fine art’ of the corrida remains defiant, its proponents heroes of the common man, vaunted as modern colossuses.

From Sharpeville to Soweto to Marikana: the difficult legacies of South Africa’s massacres

The fallout from the 2012 Marikana  massacre continues with the South African police chief refusing to accept the conclusions of a judge-led inquiry that placed the blame for the deaths of 34 miners on her officers.

Police swoop in after the Marikana Massacre Source: Praag
Police swoop in after the Marikana Massacre
Source: Praag

The deadliest event since democracy took hold in 1994, Marikana has become a name almost as infamous as Sharpeville and Soweto, the scenes of two notorious mass killings during the Apartheid era.

What were the repercussions of the Sharpeville Massacre and the Soweto Uprising? And what can we expect after Marikana?

The state response to the peaceful black protests in Sharpeville on March 21st 1960 was particularly violent and unforgiving. In the immediate aftermath of the incident the state had set the standard they would follow in crushing black resistance. This would lead to the most significant repercussion of Sharpeville; the increased entrenchment of white National Party (NP) power. By declaring a state of emergency a week after the massacre, the government began to initiate violent repression against any political agitator and mass arrests totalled over 11,000 in 156 days.[1] They simultaneously outlawed the African National Congress (ANC) and Pan Africanist Congress (PAC)[2], the greatest organised challenge to white rule, to further enhance the dominance of the state. Furthermore, security measures were tightened by the NP and over the following few years thousands more of the black population were detained and convicted for being affiliated with banned organisations.[3] All this ensured that any black uprising immediately after the Sharpeville emergency was never allowed to gather any momentum and that the government was always in control of the situation. The NP also looked to ensure their domination through legal acts such as the “Bantu in European Areas” bill of October 1960, which gave state authorities even more control over black urban populations.[4]

The aftermath of Sharpeville Source: The Guardian
The aftermath of Sharpeville
Source: The Guardian

As with Sharpeville in 1960, the NP government responded brutally to the Soweto Uprising of June 1976, with 4,000 injured in the subsequent eight months.[5] Additionally, the government tried to ban any black political organisations, as they had in 1960, which resulted in several such outfits associated with the influential Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) being declared illegal over the next year.[6] However, despite the immediate police response to the Soweto uprising, the government clampdown on the protests and black resistance was not nearly as swift and ruthless as it had been after Sharpeville. It is argued that Vorster remained very subdued for the ten weeks following June 1976 allowing black resistance to gain the momentum that Verwoerd didn’t allow in 1960.[7] Therefore, it is crucial to examine the individual leadership of the two Prime Ministers in order to understand why the repercussions of two similar events were eventually so different.

Schoolchildren flee during the Soweto Uprising  Source: Sharpeye
Schoolchildren flee during the Soweto Uprising
Source: Sharpeye

Verwoerd’s response to the Sharpeville emergency was immediate with the banning of the black organisations and declaration of a state of emergency. Furthermore, Verwoerd quickly tried to justify the actions of the state by forcing a retraction from the Dutch Reformed Church after their condemnation of the event.[8] This helped him maintain popular white support for his policies and resulted in greater white unity and increased NP support throughout the 1960s.[9] At the same time Verwoerd managed to create Party unity despite there being obvious divisions amongst some of its members. Whilst Verwoerd recovered from an assassination attempt, his acting Prime Minister Sauer publicly called for reform of apartheid policy to allow blacks more autonomy.[10] However, on his return to duty Verwoerd quickly made clear his intention to refuse any concessions to the black population and with the support of the NP federal council, quietened the reformists within his government.[11] This created a strong, united white government supported by the majority of the white populace, which left any black resistance few weaknesses to target within the state.

Apartheid's chief proponent, Hendrik Verwoerd Source: SA History
Apartheid’s chief proponent, Hendrik Verwoerd
Source: SA History

The ability of Verwoerd to unite the NP in the months after March 1960 was not matched by Vorster in the months following the Soweto uprising. Vorster’s inability to justify the state’s actions in June 1976 under increasing international fury led many of the white population to begin to question their invincibility.[12] Unlike Verwoerd after Sharpeville who increased support for the NP, Vorster and his successor Botha saw NP support decrease from 82 per cent in October 1976 to 56 per cent in October 1982.[13] This was in large part down to the NP split that occurred in 1982, which was a repercussion of the government reform initiated after the Soweto riots. As the rioting continued for some time after the Soweto uprising, new Prime Minister Botha realised that by 1978 some amendment to apartheid policy was necessary.[14] Consequently tentative efforts at reform were implemented, unlike after Sharpeville, with increased opportunity for black private property in urban areas and additional education funding.[15] However, the reforms were fairly limited so that only a minority of the black urban elite benefited and led to renewed black protests for reform across the country in 1979 and 1980.[16] At the same time, Botha also alienated a large portion of the NP who was against any reform that would undermine the position of the Afrikaners. This division would prevent decisive action being taken by the government to completely halt black resistance after Soweto and instead of achieving unity, led to the breakaway of NP members to form the Conservative Party in 1982.[17]

Verwoerd’s unwavering policy was also important for the NP in resisting the international condemnation and economic withdrawal from South Africa that was a vitally important repercussion of the Sharpeville emergency. “For many people in the world…the Sharpeville massacre was the first time they became aware what sort of government South Africa had.”[18] UN resolutions of condemnation and a voluntary arms embargo from a few nations threatened to isolate South Africa in the international community.[19] However, Verwoerd was unmoved by the worldwide criticism and refused to reform his policies; putting the state at odds with the Commonwealth that South Africa was a member of. To prevent continuing criticism, Verwoerd withdrew from the Commonwealth and held an all-white referendum that chose to make South Africa a republic.[20] This act gave the NP greater independence to carry out their apartheid policies and allowed Verwoerd to set about stabilising the state so that he could begin to draw positive foreign interest back to South Africa.

The international anti-apartheid movement gathered real momentum after the Soweto Uprising Source: The Guardian
The international anti-apartheid movement gathered real momentum after the Soweto Uprising
Source: The Guardian

The global response to the Soweto uprising was similar to that in 1960, yet more severe, with “a chorus of international voices damning South African racism.”[21] As with the aftermath of the Sharpeville emergency, UN sanctions were quickly imposed on South Africa, except this time they were mandatory. The sanctions after Sharpeville were only voluntary and were indeed ignored by countries that had major interests in South Africa. Nevertheless, by 1977 there was a mandatory arms embargo on South Africa, which was also excluded from the UN and the ILO, as well as several other International Organisations.[22] The harsh sanctions were argued for by the worldwide anti-apartheid campaign that had gained full momentum by 1976. This movement was initiated predominantly by the many black and white South Africans who emigrated from the country in horror at the Sharpeville emergency sixteen years earlier,[23] showing how the repercussions of the Soweto uprising were grounded in the after effects of Sharpeville.

As a result of this increased international pressure, Vorster’s government was left in a weakened state that was being preserved in the main through brutal repression of any opposition under the Terrorism Act, which was responsible for the death of prominent BCM leader Steve Biko.[24] This only increased South Africa’s international alienation and was compounded by the rapid withdrawal of foreign capital from the country, which the South African economy relied on so much.[25] Again, this repercussion of the Soweto uprising was not a new phenomenon, as there was a temporary removal of foreign investment from South Africa during the period of unrest that followed the Sharpeville emergency.[26] Nevertheless, the brutally efficient state action initiated by Verwoerd after March 1960 led to an almost complete stabilisation of the state at the time of the Rivonia arrests in 1963.[27] Consequently, “foreign investors responded by rewarding the reimposition of political authority rather than penalising the intensification of repression.”[28] There was too much to be gained for investors to stay out of South Africa and consequently UK businesses alone invested R1, 200m throughout the 1960s.[29] As a result, it can be argued that one of the repercussions of Sharpeville was that foreign investment increased in the long-term, as the emergency and its aftermath drew attention to how important South Africa was to foreign business interests.

The Rivonia Trial helped reassure foreign investors that South Africa was stable Source: ECR
The Rivonia Trial helped reassure foreign investors that South Africa was stable
Source: ECR

Unlike after Sharpeville, many of the foreign investors who withdrew from South Africa after the Soweto uprising didn’t return, as overseas alternatives, mass emigration and moral outrage at the apartheid regime took its toll.[30] Once more, the long-term repercussions of Sharpeville can be seen, as vast numbers of businessmen tried in 1960 to highlight the importance of giving concessions to black workers so that the South African economy could survive if foreign investment didn’t return.[31] Luckily for them it did in the 1960s but post-Soweto was different and despite some vain attempts from businesses to establish an Urban Foundation after 1976 to improve the quality of life for black workers[32], it was too late. The failure of the government of the 1960s to concede to some reform therefore indirectly led to an economic downturn in the late 1970s, leaving South Africa reliant on unpredictable gold prices.[33] With the NP worried about the end of white domination and decolonisation in the states to the north,[34] the government faced both internal and external threats in the late 1970s. In turn, with an economic slump and increasing emigration, supporting the necessary security forces for the defence of white rule was becoming increasingly difficult.

The crisis in the NP government after the Soweto uprising would contribute to the return of armed action by the ANC in South Africa for the first time in thirteen years.[35] The organisation’s prolonged absence from the political scene in South Africa was a direct repercussion of the Sharpeville emergency when along with the PAC, they were outlawed. The ruthless suppression of any non-violent ANC protest after Sharpeville led their members to the realisation that they needed to revise their tactics, with Nelson Mandela remarking in 1961: “this closes a chapter in our methods of political action.”[36] Here Mandela hinted at a more militant form of resistance, which became apparent with large-scale ANC sabotage operations against government targets in the early 1960s.[37] With the formation of the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) wing of the ANC in 1961[38] and continued PAC violence against white civilians[39] it was clear that the black resistance movement had left peaceful protest behind. However, the Verwoerd government’s efficient and vicious preservation of the state meant that by the time of the Rivonia arrests of 1963, most black organisation members were either imprisoned or exiled. Whilst this led to over a decade of unparalleled white supremacy in South Africa, the long-term consequences of the government’s actions against the resistance movement after Sharpeville would come back to haunt the NP in the years after 1976.

Source: QU South Africa
Source: QU South Africa

Whilst neither of the banned black political resistance organisations was responsible for the Soweto uprising, those that participated provided the ANC in particular with a level of grassroots support that would help them re-launch their campaign within South Africa.[40] Furthermore, “the 1976 uprising marked an important turning point in the generational balance of power in Soweto, as in other urban areas.”[41] The rise to prominence of black urban youths in the resistance movement after Soweto energised the protests against white domination. Additionally, it created huge problems for the NP government. With the resistance campaign now being channelled through the schools, it wasn’t as simple as banning political organisations, as in 1960, because there was now a much wider and far-reaching base of support. Whilst the government responded with the same brutality as in 1960 to the protests, many students and young men managed to flee South Africa where they were gladly accepted by the ANC in exile.[42]

Here it is clear to see how both a long-term repercussion of Sharpeville and a short-term repercussion of Soweto combined to significant effect. During their exile as a result of the post-Sharpeville government banning, the ANC had significantly improved their organisation and structure abroad. As a result of students fleeing detention after the Soweto uprising, the ANC were able to incorporate vast new numbers of support for militant training at their bases in Zambia, Tanzania and Angola.[43] This gave the ANC the potential to return to guerrilla operations in the South African interior, which had appeared impossible in the 1960s. Furthermore, the ANC was even drawing support from students who had been arrested during the Soweto riots, as a repercussion of a disastrous error of judgement on the part of the South African security forces. By imprisoning many of the radical students on Robben Island, the South African government inadvertently created “the site of an extraordinary program of political education.”[44] The prisoners became “educated” in ANC ideology and militant tactics by the likes of Mandela, Govan Mbeki and Walter Sisulu who were incarcerated on Robben Island,[45] as a result of their increasingly violent methods after the Sharpeville emergency. Therefore, rather than quashing the militant sentiments of many of the urban youth, the government facilitated their development as agitators against the state.

Robben Island became a political training camp for its inmates Source: Daily Telegraph (1964)
Robben Island became a political training camp for its inmates
Source: Daily Telegraph (1964)

The government’s ineffective response to the Soweto uprising and the lasting legacy of the ANC in exile after Sharpeville were to have serious repercussions for the NP in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. A rapid emergence of black organisations across all walks of life after 1976 was typical of the new “militant political culture” that the uprising had caused.[46] These organisations would combine with existing student groups and “graduates” from Robben Island to form an integral part of the United Democratic Front (UDF),[47] which would channel resistance against the state throughout the 1980s and play a crucial part in the downfall of apartheid.[48] Students of the BCM looked to the ANC to organise their struggle[49] and the ANC in turn developed the student’s influences into a more united vision of liberation. These students in particular would become important leaders in the UDF[50], initiating a united black resistance movement against an ever divided and weakened government.

Although the NP tried to implement a “total strategy” in 1978 to coordinate state activities against a “total onslaught,”[51] the black resistance movement had gained the momentum that Verwoerd had not allowed in the early 1960s. Indeed, whilst the security forces intensified their violence against the resistance movement in the 1980s and early 1990s[52] the damage had been done by the results of the Soweto uprising. In the face of an increasingly furious worldwide anti-apartheid campaign, a united black resistance movement and more reformist cabinet members, white domination continued to erode after Soweto until finally, in 1994, it came to an end.

De Klerk and Mandela: the end of Apartheid Source: Daily Telegraph
De Klerk and Mandela: the end of Apartheid
Source: Daily Telegraph

As Deon Geldenhuys correctly surmises, Soweto “displayed many of the features of the Sharpeville crisis of 1960, only in more acute form.”[53] Whilst the Verwoerd government’s response in 1960 helped initiate over a decade of complete white superiority, the government response after 1976 helped facilitate a strong resistance movement that would ultimately contribute to the downfall of apartheid. Nevertheless, it would be unfair to completely blame the government of 1976 for its own downfall. Some of the repercussions of Sharpeville only surfaced after the Soweto uprising. The ANC returned from exile better trained and organised, the unreformed economy suffered greatly with the large withdrawal of foreign capital in 1976 and international opposition to apartheid peaked due mainly to those activists who emigrated after the Sharpeville massacre. Therefore, the crisis for the government in the late 1970s can be seen as a consequence both of the short-term repercussions of the Soweto uprising and the long-term repercussions of Sharpeville, as the two are heavily interlinked. However, it is also difficult to see Verwoerd’s government contributing to their own downfall in the way Vorster’s and Botha’s did, as their slow and ineffective response to growing black momentum certainly contributed to the severity of the repercussions of Soweto.

 

The immediate repercussion of the Marikana massacre was the exposure of fault lines within the black community and the explicit recognition that for many black Africans post-Apartheid life has not yielded the promised rewards.

With the white man blameless, a period of introspection should have been undertaken. However, the ANC government of Jacob Zuma has become increasingly detached from the people, a self-justifying regime incapable of bringing about real change.

The massacre was the result of both a challenge to the unhappy status quo and a heavy-handed response by a Police force overwhelmed by insecurities in a nation that is bordering on anarchy such is the crime rate.

The report into the massacre and the response it has generated will not lead to any immediate changes. Yet there is hope that the disagreements will open up channels for public discussion about the status of black South Africans more than two decades into the democratic era. Simultaneously, it should raise questions about why the Police responded with such brutality and whether this a systemic fault brought about by the uncontrolled levels of violence that continue to ravage this amazing country.

 

Endnotes

 

[1] M. Murray, South Africa: time of agony, time of destiny: the upsurge of popular protest (London, 1987) p. 242

[2] W. Beinart, Twentieth-century South Africa (2nd edn., Oxford, 2001) p. 166

[3] D. Welsh, ‘The executive and the African population: 1948 to the present’, in R. Schrire (ed.), Malan to De Klerk: leadership in the apartheid state (London, 1994) p. 162

[4] D. Posel, The making of apartheid, 1948-1961: conflict and compromise (Oxford, 1997) p. 245

[5] S. Ellis & T. Sechaba, Comrades against apartheid: the ANC & the South African Communist Party in exile (London, 1992) p. 82

[6] J. Seekings, The UDF: a history of the United Democratic Front in South Africa, 1983-1991 (Cape Town: Oxford, 2000) p. 30

[7] D. Welsh, ‘The executive and the African population: 1948 to the present’, in R. Schrire (ed.), Malan to De Klerk: leadership in the apartheid state (London, 1994) p. 173

[8] H. Giliomee, ‘The leader and the citizenry’, in R. Schrire (ed.), Malan to De Klerk: leadership in the apartheid state (London, 1994)  p.108

[9] Ibid., p.113

[10] D. Posel, The making of apartheid, 1948-1961: conflict and compromise (Oxford, 1997) pp. 238-9

[11] M. Lipton, Capitalism and apartheid: South Africa, 1910-1986 (Aldershot, 1986) p. 301

[12] S. Johns & R. Hunt Davis Jnr., Mandela, Tambo and the African National Congress: the struggle against apartheid, 1948-1990: a documentary survey (New York; Oxford, 1991) p. 189

[13] C. Charney, ‘Class conflict and the National Party split’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 10 (1984) p. 274

[14] T.R.H. Davenport & C. Saunders, South Africa: a modern history (5th edn., Basingstoke, 2000) p.459

[15] W. Beinart, Twentieth-century South Africa (2nd edn., Oxford, 2001) pp.245-6

[16] Ibid., pp.247-9

[17] G.H.L. Le May, The Afrikaners: an historical interpretation (Oxford, 1995)

[18] S. Ellis & T. Sechaba, Comrades against apartheid: the ANC & the South African Communist Party in exile (London, 1992) p. 30

[19] M. Lipton, Capitalism and apartheid: South Africa, 1910-1986 (Aldershot, 1986) pp. 29-30

[20] D. Geldenhuys, ‘The head of government and South Africa’s foreign relations’, in R. Schrire (ed.), Malan to De Klerk: leadership in the apartheid state (London, 1994)  p. 263

[21] A. Ashforth, The politics of official discourse in twentieth-century South Africa (Oxford, 1990) p.196

[22] M. Lipton, Capitalism and apartheid: South Africa, 1910-1986 (Aldershot, 1986) p. 346

[23] G. Mbeki, Learning from Robben Island: the prison writings of Govan Mbeki (London, 1991) p.168

[24] S. Johns & R. Hunt Davis Jnr., Mandela, Tambo and the African National Congress: the struggle against apartheid, 1948-1990: a documentary survey (New York; Oxford, 1991) p. 189

[25] S. Ellis & T. Sechaba, Comrades against apartheid: the ANC & the South African Communist Party in exile (London, 1992) pp. 82-3

[26] D.T. McKinley, The ANC and the liberation struggle: a critical political biography (London, 1997) p.27

[27] S. Ellis & T. Sechaba, Comrades against apartheid: the ANC & the South African Communist Party in exile (London, 1992) p. 38

[28] W. Beinart, Twentieth-century South Africa (2nd edn., Oxford, 2001) p. 173

[29] G. Mbeki, Learning from Robben Island: the prison writings of Govan Mbeki (London, 1991) p.169

[30] D. Geldenhuys, ‘The head of government and South Africa’s foreign relations’, in R. Schrire (ed.), Malan to De Klerk: leadership in the apartheid state (London, 1994)  p. 274

[31] M. Lipton, Capitalism and apartheid: South Africa, 1910-1986 (Aldershot, 1986) p. 301

[32] A. Ashforth, The politics of official discourse in twentieth-century South Africa (Oxford, 1990) p.200

[33] T.R.H. Davenport & C. Saunders, South Africa: a modern history (5th edn., Basingstoke, 2000) p.460

[34] W. Beinart, Twentieth-century South Africa (2nd edn., Oxford, 2001) pp. 243-44

[35] H. Barrell, ‘The turn to the masses: the African National Congress’s strategic review of 1978-9’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 18 (1992) p. 72

[36] D.T. McKinley, The ANC and the liberation struggle: a critical political biography (London, 1997) p.28

[37] Y. Muthien, ‘Protest and resistance in Cape Town, 1939-1965’, in R. Cohen et al. (eds.), Repression and resistance: insider accounts of apartheid (London, 1990) p. 74

[38] S. Ellis & T. Sechaba, Comrades against apartheid: the ANC & the South African Communist Party in exile (London, 1992) p. 32

[39] Y. Muthien, ‘Protest and resistance in Cape Town, 1939-1965’, in R. Cohen et al. (eds.), Repression and resistance: insider accounts of apartheid (London, 1990) p. 74

[40] H. Barrell, ‘The turn to the masses: the African National Congress’s strategic review of 1978-9’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 18 (1992) p. 77

[41] C. Glaser, ‘ “We must infiltrate the Tsotsis”: school politics and youth gangs in Soweto, 1968-1976’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 24 (1998) p. 318

[42] M. Lipton, Capitalism and apartheid: South Africa, 1910-1986 (Aldershot, 1986) p. 346

[43] S. Johns & R. Hunt Davis Jnr., Mandela, Tambo and the African National Congress: the struggle against apartheid, 1948-1990: a documentary survey (New York; Oxford, 1991) p. 191

[44] P. Gready, ‘Autobiography and the “Power of Writing”: political prison writing in the apartheid era’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 19 (1993) p. 518

[45] D.T. McKinley, The ANC and the liberation struggle: a critical political biography (London, 1997) p.48

[46] J. Seekings, The UDF: a history of the United Democratic Front in South Africa, 1983-1991 (Cape Town: Oxford, 2000) p. 29

[47] M. Murray, South Africa: time of agony, time of destiny: the upsurge of popular protest (London, 1987) p. 197

[48] W. Beinart, Twentieth-century South Africa (2nd edn., Oxford, 2001) pp. 251-2

[49] J. Seekings, The UDF: a history of the United Democratic Front in South Africa, 1983-1991 (Cape Town: Oxford, 2000) p. 30

[50] S. Ellis & T. Sechaba, Comrades against apartheid: the ANC & the South African Communist Party in exile (London, 1992) p. 83

[51] M. Swilling & M. Phillips, ‘State power in the 1980s: from “total strategy” to “counter-revolutionary warfare”’, in J. Cock & L. Nathan (eds.), War and society: the militarisation of South Africa (Cape Town, 1989) pp. 135-6

[52] S. Ellis, ‘The historical significance of South Africa’s Third Force’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 24 (1998) p. 263

[53] D. Geldenhuys, ‘The head of government and South Africa’s foreign relations’, in R. Schrire (ed.), Malan to De Klerk: leadership in the apartheid state (London, 1994)  pp. 273-4

Bibliography

Books

Ashforth, A., The politics of official discourse in twentieth-century South Africa (Oxford, 1990)

Beinart, W., Twentieth-century South Africa (2nd edn., Oxford 2001)

Ellis, S. & Sechaba, T., Comrades against apartheid: the ANC & the South African Communist Party in exile (London, 1992)

Davenport, T.R.H. & Saunders, C., South Africa: a modern history (5th edn., Basingstoke, 2000)

Geldenhuys, D., ‘The head of government and South Africa’s foreign relations’, in R. Schrire (ed.), Malan to De Klerk: leadership in the apartheid state (London, 1994) pp. 245-291

Giliomee, H., ‘The leader and the citizenry’, in R. Schrire (ed.), Malan to De Klerk: leadership in the apartheid state (London, 1994) pp. 102-135

Johns, S. & Hunt Davis Jnr., R., Mandela, Tambo and the African National Congress: the struggle against apartheid, 1948-1990: a documentary survey (New York; Oxford, 1991)

Le May, G.H.L., The Afrikaners: an historical interpretation (Oxford, 1995)

Lipton, M., Capitalism and apartheid: South Africa, 1910-1986 (Aldershot, 1986)

Mbeki, G., Learning from Robben Island: the prison writings of Govan Mbeki (London, 1991)

McKinley, D.T., The ANC and the liberation struggle: a critical political biography (London, 1997)

Murray, M., South Africa: time of agony, time of destiny: the upsurge of popular protest (London, 1987)

Muthien, Y., ‘Protest and resistance in Cape Town, 1939-1965’, in R. Cohen et al. (eds.), Repression and resistance: insider accounts of apartheid (London, 1990)

Posel, D., The making of apartheid, 1948-1961: conflict and compromise (Oxford, 1997)

Seekings, J., The UDF: a history of the United Democratic Front in South Africa, 1983-1991 (Cape Town: Oxford, 2000)

Swilling, M. & Phillips, M., ‘State power in the 1980s: from “total strategy” to “counter-revolutionary warfare”’, in J. Cock & L. Nathan (eds.), War and society: the militarisation of South Africa (Cape Town, 1989) pp. 134-149

Welsh, D., ‘The executive and the African population: 1948 to the present’, in R. Schrire (ed.), Malan to De Klerk: leadership in the apartheid state (London, 1994) pp. 135-209

Journals

Barrell, H., ‘The turn to the masses: the African National Congress’s strategic review of 1978-9’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 18 (1) (1992) pp. 64-92 (Online: accessed 23/1/2009) http://www.jstor.org/stable/2637182

Charney, C., ‘Class conflict and the National Party split’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 10 (2) (1984) pp. 269-282 (Online: Accessed 23/1/2009) http://www.jstor.org/stable/2636875

Ellis, S., ‘The historical significance of South Africa’s Third Force’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 24 (2) (1998) pp. 261-299 (Online: Accessed 21/1/2009) http://www.jstor.org/stable/2637528

Glaser, C., ‘ “We must infiltrate the Tsotsis”: school politics and youth gangs in Soweto, 1968-1976’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 24 (2) (1998) pp. 301-323 (Online: Accessed 22/1/2009) http://www.jstor.org/stable/2637529

Gready, P., ‘Autobiography and the “Power of Writing”: political prison writing in the apartheid era’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 19 (3) (1993) pp. 489-523 (Online: Accessed 22/1/2009) http://www.jstor.org/stable/2636913