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Philosophy Research Seminars

Thursday, 27th February 2014

10:00 am

Room 8-48, Theo van Wijk Building, Unisa Main Campus

The ANC is defunct and the PAC is dead: The Soweto Revolt, Student formations and the exiled movement, 1976-1985

Presenter: Steve Lebelo, Lecturer, Department of History, University of South Africa

Abstract:

In an interview with the then Weekend World in August 1976 Tsietsi Mashinini, the exiled president of the Soweto Students Representative Council (SSRC) condemned the African National Congress (ANC) and Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) as a spent force in the struggle for liberation. Just under 10 years later, in May 1985, Prof. Lawrence Schlemmer published an article in the Sowetan in which he claimed that “the ANC was the least successful liberation movement in contemporary history”. Yet, just under 10 years thereafter, the ANC was the ruling party in a democratic transition. Were Mashinini and Schlemmer delusional, as the ANC claimed?

This study will not attempt to answer the question. On the contrary, it seeks to examine the impact of the SSRC on the exiled movement, particularly the ANC in the decade after unrest erupted in Soweto in 1976. It recognises the claim the revolt revitalised the ANC and its armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). In 1978 this perception of the ANC was reinforced by P. W. Botha’s “Total Strategy”, a response to what he claimed was the ANC’s “Total Onslaught”. But the revolt also helped demystify the ANC, pointing to significant weaknesses in the exiled movement.

The study will show that the SSRC and its exiled offshoot, the South African Youth Revolutionary Council (SAYRCO) helped undermine the ANC’s and MK’s recruitment drive both inside the country and in exiled. It also explores the claim students leaving the country between 1976 and 1980 typically joined the ANC. The reality was rather more complex, helping to generate a range of perceptions about the ANC’s potential to execute the liberation struggle to its logical conclusion. The more critical question that the study seeks to provoke is whether Mashinini and Schlemmer may have predicted that the ANC would eventually capitulate.

Thursday, 13th March 2014

10:00 am

Room 8-48, Theo van Wijk Building, Unisa Main Campus

Reclaiming God and reclaiming our Dignity: the history and future of black liberation from internalized oppression

Presenter: Tshepo Lephakga, Lecturer of Theological Ethics, Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, University of South Africa

Abstract:

One of the most painful things brought about by the Apartheid system in South Africa is instilling internalized feeling of oppression in blacks. Its result has been a pathological self-hate within blacks themselves. According to Mason, “we harbor inside ourselves the pain and the memories, the fears and the confusions, the negative self-images and the low expectations, turning them into weapons with which to re-injure ourselves, everyday of our lives”. Thus, reconciliation is needed within the blacks themselves to restore them to the state of creation as ordained by God.


For more information, please contact Ndumiso Dladla (Tel.: 012 429 6403) or Terblanche Delport (Tel.: 012 429 3391).