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End of an Elite

R.W. Johnson

21 March 1996
SlovoThe Unfinished Autobiography 
by Joe Slovo.
Hodder, 253 pp., £18.99, February 1996, 0 340 66566 1
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... When JoeSlovo died in 1995 his body was carried on an army gun carriage through Soweto in post-apartheid South Africa’s first state funeral. Forty thousand people sat through the long tributes in Orlando Stadium ...
24 October 1991
... SACP welcomed Gorbachev’s removal because ‘his government could have become obstructive to the socialist objective,’ and Gwala himself has publicly reiterated his defence of Stalin. To be fair, JoeSlovo, the SACP General Secretary, issued a statement in which he described events in the USSR as ‘very disturbing’ and expressed the hope that ‘the fresh winds of reformed socialism, which ...
8 March 1990
... away from their faults and their indefensible policies.’ So it is that the South African Left finds itself legal once more, much to its own amazement. ‘I am completely dumbstruck,’ said JoeSlovo, the SACP’s general secretary, when the news was broken to him in the VIP lounge of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. The Left is in remarkably good shape for a movement that has been hounded for ...
21 February 1991
... came from his private income – he didn’t have to work so he just sat around and read books’); and Ruth First (‘a tremendously able woman but very arrogant – and very tough’). He also met JoeSlovo, today the SACP leader and the dominating figure on the ANC’s team in the early negotiations with de Klerk. Joe used to go everywhere with Ruth First [whom he married] and my brother-in-law ...
5 August 1993
... is further complicated by the fact that a number of SACP cadres – Thabo Mbeki is a leading example – have allowed their party membership to lapse, while others, notably the party chairman, JoeSlovo, have given priority to non-party work within the ANC or Cosatu. Slovo stands at the very heart of the ANC-SACP relationship. He is the ANC’s chief strategist and the architect of all its major ...

An Unreliable Friend

R.W. Johnson: Nelson Mandela

19 August 1999
Mandela: The Authorised Biography 
by Anthony Sampson.
HarperCollins, 500 pp., £24.99, May 1999, 0 00 255829 7
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... at Kliptown and send their (pre-selected, politically reliable) delegates to swamp the Liberals. Sampson makes no mention of these fronts. When it comes to the drafting of the Charter itself we get JoeSlovo’s famous line about how ‘tens of thousands of scraps of paper came flooding in,’ as if the Charter was really put together on that basis. Initially, Sampson suggests that its author was ...

Getting together

Heribert Adam

14 June 1990
... major actors’ and ‘senior partners’, relegating the junior rivals to the other side of the table, opposed to ANC hegemony. The leader of a past Stalinist party as Mandela’s right-hand man – JoeSlovo, that is to say – obsesses white South Africa. In fact, dedicated, bright SACP members occupy most of the influential positions in the ANC and the Unions as a separate vanguard underground ...

The Logic of Nuremberg

Mahmood Mamdani: Nuremberg’s Logic

7 November 2013
... assembly would draw up the final constitution, within the framework of principles agreed on by a meeting of negotiators appointed by all parties. As the ANC prepared to make historic concessions, JoeSlovo, the general secretary of the Communist Party, wrote an article in the party journal, the African Communist, proposing a power-sharing arrangement. As part of the deal, the bureaucracy of the ...

Could it have been different?

Roger Southall: R.W. Johnson’s South Africa

8 October 2009
South Africa’s Brave New World: The Beloved Country since the End of Apartheid 
by R.W. Johnson.
Allen Lane, 701 pp., £25, April 2009, 978 0 7139 9538 1
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... have found a wealth of material both to support and to test his arguments. A serious look at established histories of the ANC might have saved him from such egregious errors as his assertion that JoeSlovo and Ruth First, leading members of the then underground SACP, catapulted their ‘protégé’ Nelson Mandela to the leadership of the ANC, thereby ensuring that the armed struggle and the ...
15 August 1991
... suffrage election – and nothing should be taken for granted yet – this presumptive paying of tribute is going to seem pretty silly. The leadership strode onto the stage. The SACP leader, JoeSlovo, took up the chairman’s position in the middle of the front row – an astonishingly confident gesture for a white man in such a black conference. Next to him sat Trevor Huddleston, who opened the ...
9 July 1992
... of wealth. The (Johannesburg) Sunday Times recently published a photo taken at the 50th birthday party of the ANC crown prince, Thabo Mbeki. There, glass in hand, stand the Communist leader, JoeSlovo, the billionaire hotel king, Sol Kerzner, and sundry other captains of finance and industry. The most interesting thing about the photo is that, quite clearly, none of those in it feels embarrassed ...

Diary

Jenny Diski: On Not Liking South Africa

3 July 2008
... Hills, a row of solidly built houses for ‘doctors and professional people’, put up by the apartheid government to conceal the hostels from passing white eyes. And there were the tin shacks of JoeSlovo informal settlement (the government-approved name for ‘shanty towns’), where, by arrangement, I was invited to look around while a young woman sat on a bed texting as her mother stood ...
3 July 1986
South Africa without Apartheid 
by Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley.
California, 315 pp., £15.25, July 1986, 0 520 05769 4
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Move your shadow: South Africa Black and White 
by Joseph Lelyveld.
Joseph, 390 pp., £14.95, February 1986, 0 7181 2661 0
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Capitalism and Apartheid: South Africa 1910-1984 
by Merle Lipton.
Gower/Temple Smith, 448 pp., £18.50, September 1985, 0 85117 248 2
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The Militarisation of South African Politics 
by Kenneth Grundy.
Tauris, 133 pp., £14.95, May 1986, 1 85043 019 5
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... militants will be among the main beneficiaries: a pattern we have seen in too many African states to be surprised by.The real conundrum is the ANC. There is no doubt that Communists such as JoeSlovo do play a powerful role within the exile leadership. Nor is there any doubt that men like Slovo are old-style Leninist-Stalinists: Slovo, for example, has no time for trade-union autonomy. ‘It ...
20 October 1994
... Ministry, conscious of Clinton’s support for the Mandela Government, maintained a glacial silence until eventually Dullah declared that he had never actually made the offending speech. Similarly, Joe Modise, the Minister of Defence, denounced Israel, announced the purchase of corvettes for the Navy, and tried to censor a newspaper, all without Cabinet consent. The Ministry of Administration ceded ...

Mandela: Death of a Politician

Stephen W. Smith: Mandela, the Politician

9 January 2014
... details of the surrender instrument, the so-called ‘sunset clause’ – a government of national unity for the five years following democratic elections – proposed in 1992 by the SACP leader, JoeSlovo. In this regard, the outrageous decision by the jury in Oslo to award the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 jointly to Mandela and de Klerk, the forgiving victim and the penitent perpetrator, made ...

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