‘The Rivonia Generation and the turn to armed struggle in South Africa’ conference

Posted on April 24, 2019

On 26-27 March, Associate Professor Thula Simpson joined with Nic Wolpe, the CEO of the Liliesleaf Trust, to co-host a two-day conference on ‘The Rivonia Generation and the turn to armed struggle in South Africa’.

The conference was generously sponsored by the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation and marked the commencement of an ongoing collaborative project centred on commemorating the history of the liberation struggle in South Africa.

The conference took place at Liliesleaf “A site of Memory”, the historic venue which was the birth place of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and where senior leaders of MK and the Liberation Movement were arrested during the “Raid’ on the Farm on the11 July 1963.

The event brought together scholars and veterans to discuss the circumstances behind the ANC’s turn to violence in the period from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. The goal was to bring the archivally-based knowledge of the former into conversation with the first-hand experience of the latter, and in the process build the archive of knowledge regarding the shift to sabotage and guerrilla warfare in South Africa.

The scholars who presented papers at the event were Robert T. Vinson, Tlou Setumu, Paul Landau, Garth Benneyworth, Thula Simpson, Fidelis Hove and Vladimir Shubin. They were joined on the respective panels by veterans including Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, T.T. Cholo, Ben Turok, Michael Dingake, James April, Zolile Nqose and Dumiso Dabengwa, while keynote addresses were also delivered by Jackie Sedibe, Ronnie Kasrils, Mac Maharaj, Siphiwe Nyanda, and closing remarks by Pallo Jordan.

Published by Vincent Sithole

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