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The New Radicals: the struggle against apartheid in 1970s South Africa’

Glenn Moss recounts how a new wave of radical ideas helped fuel the anti-apartheid struggle through the hard times of the 1970s.

By the end of the 1960s opposition to apartheid was in disarray. Yet in the space of a few short years, major and radical challenges developed that would set South Africa on a new path.

This lively and original book tells the story of a generation of activists who embraced new forms of opposition politics that would have profound consequences. In the process it rescues the early 1970s from previous neglect and shows just how crucial these years were in the struggle to transform society. It explores the influence of Black Consciousness, the new trade unionism, radicalisation of students on both black and white campuses, the Durban strikes, and Soweto 1976, and concludes that these developments were largely the result of home-grown initiatives, with little influence exercised by the banned and exiled movements for national liberation.

“Fascinating and important insight into the emergence of a brave young radicalism of the early 1970s embracing white campuses, black consciousness and trade unionism, which raised questions and challenges not only for the apartheid-capitalist nexus but also for the mainstream liberation movement. Looking back, there is much need for honest reflection and the author does us a service with his well-worked research and writing. It leaves one with tantalising thoughts as to whether the incipient democratic left challenges from civil society and trade union circles in South Africa today might fundamentally change our political landscape.” - Ronnie Kasrils, chief of intelligence for Umkhonto we Sizwe and government minister from 1994 to 2008

Glenn Moss was a student leader at Wits University in the 1970s. Detained and charged under security legislation in the mid-1970s, he was acquitted after a year-long trial. He went on to edit Work In Progress and the South African Review, head Ravan Press, and then work as a consultant to South Africa’s first post-apartheid government.

‘The New Radicals: A Generational Memoir of the 1970s’ by Glenn Moss
Jacana Media (2014)
296 pages


Glenn Moss | talks


Date and Time:

27 October 2014 at 7:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Housmans Bookshop
5 Caledonian Road
King’s Cross
N1 9DX
020 7837 4473

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We're very easy to find - just a two minute walk from King's Cross/St.Pancras terminals. Housmans is at the bottom end of Caledonian Road where it meets with Pentonville Road. If you have any problems finding us, give us a call!

020 7837 4473

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