Evaluating the Legacy of Nonviolence in South Africa

Gail M. Presbey


Nelson Mandela departed from Gandhian nonviolence when he asserted that apartheid rule made resort to violence by the African National Congress necessary. Mandela claimed that the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa was strengthened by including both violence and nonviolence. This paper investigates the claims of several authors who claim that South Africa would have gained freedom from apartheid more quickly if it had remained purely nonviolent. It finds the claims plausible, when argued carefully. But some historians and nonviolence advocates have oversimplified the story of the anti-apartheid struggle and give the impression that the struggle was more nonviolent than it was

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