Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in South Africa

Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in South Africa

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South Africa's transition to democracy took place against a backdrop of shadow war between the apartheid regime's counterinsurgency forces and the African National Congress' armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). This book analyses in unprecedented detail the hidden history of MK's struggle and its contribution to South Africa's liberation, while exposing new dimensions of clandestine apartheid-era violence. Drawing on interviews with former MK guerrillas, Daniel Douek traces the evolution of MK's operations across southern Africa from the 1960s, culminating in the 1990-4 negotiations between the ANC and the white supremacist regime. As political violence escalated, the battle waged in the shadows became nothing less than a struggle to shape South Africa's future. Counterinsurgency forces recruited spies, deployed death squads, engaged in psychological warfare, and targeted ANC leaders, including MK chief Chris Hani. Even once ANC elites had come to power, apartheid counterinsurgency operations continued to undermine South Africa's new democracy by marginalizing MK guerrillas within the "new" security forces, leaving legacies of violence and instability still felt today.
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