Spear of the Nation: Umkhonto weSizwe: South Africa's Liberation Army, 1960s-1990s

Spear of the Nation: Umkhonto weSizwe: South Africa's Liberation Army, 1960s-1990s

by Janet Cherry

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Overview

Umkhonto weSizwe, Spear of the Nation, was arguably the last of the great liberation armies of the twentieth century—but it never got to “march triumphant into Pretoria.” MK—as it was known—was the armed wing of the African National Congress, South Africa’s liberation movement, that challenged the South African apartheid government. A small group of revolutionaries committed to the seizure of power, MK discovered its principal members engaged in negotiated settlement with the enemy and was disbanded soon after.

The history of MK is one of paradox and contradiction, of successes and failures. In this short study, which draws widely on the personal experiences of—and commentary by—MK soldiers, Janet Cherry offers a new and nuanced account of the Spear of the Nation. She presents in broad outline the various stages of MK’s thirty-year history, considers the difficult strategic and moral problems the revolutionary army faced, and argues that its operations are likely to be remembered as a just war conducted with considerable restraint.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780821444436
Publisher: Ohio University Press
Publication date: 08/06/2012
Series: Ohio Short Histories of Africa
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 156
File size: 361 KB

About the Author

Janet Cherry is a human rights activist, researcher, and academic who teaches at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. She has written and published on the history of the liberation struggle for the South African Democratic Education Trust.

Table of Contents

Preface 1. Introduction 2. The turn to armed struggle, 1960–3 3. The Wankie and Sipolilo campaigns, 1967–8 4. Struggling to get home, 1969–84 5. Reaping the whirlwind, 1984–9 6. The end of armed struggle 7. A sober assessment of MK Sources and further reading Index

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