About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.


First thanks to Ronnie Kasrils - King Kong, friend, commander and the greatest hairy one of them all - who planted the seed for this study, cleared the way for it and has since tolerated my defection from old verities.

Pallo Jordan and Norman Levy saw matters through the ANC. My academic referees to Oxford - Jacklyn Cock, John Daniel, Shaun Johnson and Eddie Webster - willingly perjured themselves.

The Africa Educational Trust generously financed my four years of study. I could not have hoped for kinder funders, nor for more understanding counsel than I received from its director, Kees Maxey, and my advisor, Jill Landymore.

Oxford University's Beit Fund, its Graduate Studies Committee, the Norman Chester Fund, Cyril Foster Fund and the Master of St Catherine's College, to which I was initially affiliated, provided indispensible further funding for special research.

Barbara Harper and her colleagues on the foreign desk at the Guardian gave me work and vital extra liquidity; so, too, did Ivor Barry-Jones, John Falding, Ian Macdonald and Julia Murphy on the Financial Times. Brana Radovic, also at the FT, stole some time and kindly drew the ANC organisational charts for this thesis.

Lucy Hooberman, Kate Maxwell, Brian Scheepers, Caroline Southey, Ingrid Uys and Graham Watts helped me back to humanity in the UK. While doing my research, Jeremy and Gemma Cronin looked after me in Lusaka. Rob Moore and Linda Loxton did so with their customary congeniality in Harare. In South Africa, David Niddrie, my first fellow conspirator, together with Collette Caine, Chris Vick and Latiefa Mobara proved, yet again, exceedingly generous. Mark Orkin, with Alison Lowry of Penguin Books, provided me with an opportunity to marshal my arguments at an important moment. Glenn Moss and all at Work in Progress gave me valuable space while researching in South Africa. Tom Karis and Gail Gerhart were their usual generous - and excessively patient - selves.

At Oxford, my initial supervisor, Stanley Trapido convinced me that intellectual pretension was a poor substitute for clarity - I hope evident in what follows. My later supervisor, Gavin Williams, warmly challenged me to play the devil, showed unusual wisdom and helped me to see the process to an end. Terence Ranger provided a valuable focus for African studies at Oxford University.

Without Jeremy Brickhill I would not have realised that fly-fishing is a more fruitful form of deception than politics. Jocelyn Alexander lent her grace and intelligence to the St Antony's Mallard and Claret Society (ML). Michael Stephen reminded me that criticism can be cheap compared to the costs incurred by those who fight for their freedom against a powerful enemy. Adrian Hadland and Brenda Joyce laughed at and with me. Jan-Georg Deutsch provided some wise counsel.

In the ANC, Chris Hani, Mac Maharaj, Phyllis Naidoo, Pila Pola (alias Peter Maqebane), Ivan Pillay and Garth Strachan were, like Ronnie Kasrils, particularly valued friends or educators. My interviewees, who are listed separately in the Bibliography, were generous in the most difficult of ways - in their criticism of themselves and their movement.

To all these people and organisations, and others who helped but whom I have not had space to mention, my deep gratitude. I meet my debt with the same paradoxical loyalty as that displayed by most of my interviewees - with a loyalty which now best expresses itself as criticism.

I reserve a different order of thanks for three people.

Jean Knox hosted regular picnics across the Styx for the last two and a half years of the preparation of this thesis. Without her and those forays, I fear that the pages that follow, and much else beside, would have been impossible.

Jenny Cargill, who was my wife for eight years, was also my closest comrade through the learning, lunacy, love and loathing that was my experience of the ANC.

Kate Legum finally revealed what I had long hoped: there is life beyond politics.

To Kate -

The past is another country.
For we are conscripts to our age
Simply by being born, we wage
The war we are; ...

- W H Auden1

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to theThis resource is hosted by the site.