Hirschmann, David
October 1973
Foreign Affairs;Oct73, Vol. 52 Issue 1, p168
The article examines the significance and direction of change in South Africa in 1973. At the moment, the black leader who is most effective in dealing with the government is Bophuthatswana's Chief Lucas Mangope. Although his style is low-key, and he is astute enough to appreciate the advantages of having the government's ear, his demands for large slices of territory in order to make geographical sense of his homeland grow steadily more determined. For all the suffering caused by apartheid, history's chief indictment of the policy may yet be that it actually succeeded in distracting attention from the conditions of the African living outside the Bantustans until it was too late. What is new is that the blacks, now more aware of the juxtaposition of their economic deprivation with their economic power, appear to have reached the conclusion that a docile acceptance of their lot is not the only alternative open to them. And so it was that the Zulus of Natal came out in a series of wildcat strikes. Between January 1 and March 31 of this year, there were 160 strikes, affecting 146 industries and involving 61,410 workers. Although this economic power of the black man is abundantly clear, his ability to use it effectively and to relate it to political action is yet to be determined. Even less certain is, the future political impact of the urban black. A noteworthy development has been the spread of black consciousness, which recognizes the urgent need for blacks to stop waiting for white political attitudes to alter, and to start organizing their own pressure groups.


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