Black Consciousness in South Africa provides a new perspective on black politics in South Africa. It demonstrates and assesses critically the radical character and aspirations of African resistance to white mirity rule. Robert Fatton analyzes the development and radicalization of South Africa's Black Consciousness Movement from its inception in the late 1960s to its banning in 1977. He rejects the widely accepted interpretation of the Black Consciousness Movement as an exclusively cultural and racial expression of African resistance to racism. Instead Fatton argues that over the course of its existence, the Movement developed a revolutionary ideology capable of challenging the cultural and political hegemony of apartheid. The Black Consciousness Movement came to be a synthesis of class awareness and black cultural assertiveness. It represented the ethico-political weapon of an oppressed class struggling to reaffirm its humanity through active participation in the demise of a racist and capitalist system.
Robert Fatton, Jr., is Assistant Professor, Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, at the University of Virginia