Revolutionary Papers

Revolutionary Papers is a transnational research collaboration exploring 20th century periodicals of Leftanti-imperial and anti-colonial critical production. Read More

Dawn: Journal of Umkhonto wa Sizwe

In the wake of uMkhonto we Sizwe’s (MK) ‘Mkatashinga Mutiny’ in Angola (1983-1984) and the Congress Alliance’s Kabwe Conference (1985), the ANC’s Department of Political Education (DPE), expressed a need to provide sustained and substantive political education for MK cadres based in Angola. According to the DPE, the reasons for the mutiny – three separate MK rebellions of increasing intensity and violence – were not only because of apartheid state infiltrations, but also because of indiscipline within the MK’s ranks. To remedy this indiscipline, the DPE proposed the establishment of a political school in the ‘West’, and quickly began collecting materials and equipment with this aim in mind. In the meantime, however, this education would be partly facilitated through MK’s journal, Dawn. This paper, which falls under the Counter-Political stream, situates Dawn in the interstices between the disciplinary procedures of the Congress Alliance, and a genuine commitment by elements within that Alliance to the revolutionary overthrow of apartheid. In short, it proposes thinking Dawn as a site of contestation, one that both contributed to policing and maintaining the limits of the Alliance’s struggle against apartheid, but also one through which competing pedagogies and notions of struggle would be voiced. It will demonstrate this by focusing on the mythologisation of Chris Hani in Dawn during this period, and by drawing upon debates occurring at the time between two broad groupings: those who abdicated for the revolutionary overthrow of apartheid, and those who, according to the former, already had one eye on negotiations.

Sam Longford

Sam Longford is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of History, UWC, and coordinator of the Remaking Societies Remaking Persons (RSRP) Forum. His PhD dissertation, “The Untimely Deaths of Chris Hani: Discipline, Spectrality, and the Haunting Possibility of Return”, was grounded by a sustained engagement with public history, anti-apartheid struggle historiography, and different philosophies of […]