His06
Late-apartheid South Africa or the 'long transition', 1984-1994: moments of rupture and continuity

Convenors:
Laura Evans (Sheffield Hallam University)
Rachel Johnson (Durham University)
Anne Heffernan (Durham University )
Stream:
History
Location:
David Hume, LG.06
Sessions:
Thursday 13 June, 8:45-10:15

Short abstract:

The panel explores 'connections and disruptions' in South Africa, 1984-1994. We consider the multiple possibilities of violence and negotiation during these years, questioning the beginnings and endings of the processes that shaped 'transition'.

Long abstract:

This panel explores 'connections and disruptions' in the context of South Africa, 1984 to 1994: the final decade of National Party rule and the subsequent reshaping of the constitutional order. We consider the multiple possibilities of violence and negotiation during these years, questioning the beginnings and endings of the processes that shaped the political 'transition'. We aim to explore the radical contingencies of the period 1984-1994 in South Africa; tracing the longer roots (routes?) of transition and the lingering legacies of choices taken and bargains made at the intersections of projects of state reform, state repression and political mobilisation. How do we now view the messy details; the loose ends; the inconvenient individuals and the multiple dynamics of South Africa's 'long transition'? These years saw the splintering of national, local and international dynamics alongside the emergence of a national story of t ransition that historians now grapple to reconcile. How should these years be periodised and the threads of violence, negotiation and 'people's power' prioritised in our histories? The panel explores the power of particular narratives and 'versions of events' that shaped the transition process and continue to shape historical scholarship. We will examine new ways of writing the period 1984-1994 that offer fresh perspectives on this decade as a crucible of historical change.