Limpopo's legacy as a hotbed of political activism

21 November 2019 - 15:16
'Limpopo’s Legacy: Student politics and democracy in South Africa'.
'Limpopo’s Legacy: Student politics and democracy in South Africa'.
Image: Wits Press

In 2015 and 2016 waves of student protests swept across SA campuses under the banner of FeesMustFall.

This book offers a historical perspective, analysing regional influences on the ideologies that have underpinned SA student politics from the 1960s to the present.

The author considers the history of student organisations in the Northern Transvaal (today Limpopo Province) and the ways in which students and youth influenced political change on a national scale, over generations.

The University of the North at Turfloop played an integral role in building the SA Students’ Organisation (SASO) in the late 1960s and propagating Black Consciousness in the 1970s; in the 1980s it became an ideological battleground where Black Consciousness advocates and ANC-affiliates competed for influence.

Limpopo has remained a hotbed of political activism in the country.

Generations of nationally prominent student and youth activists became politically conscientised here — among them Julius Malema, Onkgopotse Tiro, Cyril Ramaphosa, Frank Chikane and Peter Mokaba.

Turfloop (University of Limpopo) has remained politically significant in the post-apartheid era: it was here in 2007 that Julius Malema supported Jacob Zuma’s ascension to the SA presidency during the ANC’s pivotal party conference that resulted in the ousting of Thabo Mbeki.

Anne Heffernan is Assistant Professor in the History of Southern Africa at Durham University, United Kingdom and Research Associate of the History Workshop, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.