Sobukwe and Apartheid

Benjamin Pogrund, Author Rutgers University Press $40 (406p) ISBN 978-0-8135-1692-9
Robert Sobukwe is the forgotten man of the South African anti-apartheid struggle, a founder of the Pan-Africanist Congress and chief mover in the anti-pass-law demonstrations that led to the 1960 massacre of unarmed protestors at Sharpeville. Imprisoned for eight years after the event and then banned by the South African government, Sobukwe was largely absent from the public eye from 1960 until his death from cancer in 1978. Pogrund, a journalist now with London's Independent , was a close friend who has written this biography in part to correct the historical record. The result is a consistently fascinating and moving portrait. More important, Pogrund places Sobukwe's life in the larger context of South African history, allowing American readers to understand the evolution of the system of apartheid with startling clarity. He touches, for example, on the government's decision in the late 1950s to reconstruct ``the tribalism that had been on the wane'' among black South Africans. Sobukwe wrote to the author,``I'll never write an autobiography, Benjie.'' Pogrund has done his friend great justice in this volume, an essential book on the South African struggle. ( June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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