is the first study of the fraught relationships between the ANC and their relatives inside apartheid's first
Timothy Gibbs reinterprets the complex connections between nationalist elites and the chieftaincies, and overlapping ideologies of national and ethnic belonging. In South Africa, like the rest of the continent, the chieftaincies had often been well-springs of African leadership in the early 20th century, producing leaders such as Nelson Mandela, who hailed from the 'Native Reserves' of rural Transkei. But then the apartheid government turned South Africa's chieftaincies into self-governing, tribal Bantustans in order to shatter African nationalism, starting
with Transkei in 1963.
Drawing on a wealth of first-hand accounts and untapped archives, Mandela's Kinsmen offers a vividly human account of how the Bantustan era ruptured rural society. Nevertheless, Gibbs uncovers the social and political institutions and net- works that connected the nationalist leadership on Robben Island and in exile to their kinsmen inside the Transkei. Even at the climax of the apartheid era - when interlocking nationalist insurgencies spiralled into ethnically based civil wars across South Africa and the southern African region - elite connections still straddled Bantustan divides.
These relationships would shape the apartheid endgame and forge the post-apartheid policy.
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