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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The impossible concept: settler liberalism, pan-Africanism, and the language of non-racialism
Author:Soske, JonISNI
Periodical:African Historical Review (ISSN 1753-2531)
Geographic terms:South Africa
Great Britain
Subjects:political terminology
race relations
African National Congress (South Africa)
political history
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/17532523.2015.1130188
Abstract:This article traces the history of four words: 'non-racial', 'non-racialism', 'multi- racial', and 'multi-racialism'. Its main concern is to identify when and how these terms developed a role within British colonial and South African political discourse. At the end of the 1950s, the struggles within the anti-apartheid movement became entangled with a broader discussion across southern and eastern Africa regarding democracy, nationalism, and political representation. In clarifying the significance of this moment, this article reconstructs the earlier history of 'multi-racial democracy' from its formulation in South African liberal circles in the 1930s to its incorporation into British colonial policy following the Second World War. It then traces the divergent conceptualisations of non-racialism and African nationalism that developed in response to multi-racial democracy. It concludes that African National Congress (ANC) leaders adopted the language of non-racial democracy in a reactive fashion after the 1958 Africanist split in order to clarify the organisation's position on group rights. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]