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n Historia - Early ANC leaders and the British world: ambiguities and identities

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Abstract

In the article the author interrogates the lives of a range of early African political leaders in the first two decades of the twentieth century to argue that their attitudes to things British were more complex and ambiguous than hitherto perceived by historians. British liberalism and culture strongly influenced the early leaders of the ANC. After the denial of full South African citizenship to black people in 1910 and the imposition of harsh anti-African legislation, their leaders appealed to Britain and to a sense of 'British justice' based on their professed Empire loyalism. 'British' themes remained part of the plethora of identities of ANC leaders until at least the twenties but complicated the assertion of African identities. There were many ambiguities in African attitudes to the British World, which could range from support for 'the glorious British Empire' to more ironic or even derisory references to being 'slaves under the Union Jack'.

In die artikel ondersoek die skrywer aspekte van die lewens van vroeë swart politieke leiers in die twintigste eeu om aan te dui dat hulle ingesteldheid teenoor dit wat Brits was, baie meer kompleks is as wat daar tot op die hede deur historici aanvaar is. Britse liberalisme en kultuur het die vroeë leiers van die ANC bepaald beïnvloed. Nadat swartmense in 1910 die reg geweier is om volwaardige Suid-Afrikaanse burgers te wees, en nadat diskriminerende wetgewing deurgevoer is, het hulle leiers 'n beroep op Brittanje gedoen om die 'Britse sin vir geregtigheid' te laat seëvier op grond van hulle uitgesproke imperiale lojaliteit. 'Britse' temas het deel van die magdom identiteite gebly wat die leiers tot minstens in die twintigerjare openbaar het. Dit het egter manifestasies van Afrika-identiteite bemoeilik. Daar was baie dubbelsinnigheid in swart houdings teenoor die Britse wêreld. Dit het gewissel van steun vir die 'glorieryke Britse Ryk', tot meer ironiese of selfs neerhalende verwysings na 'slawerny onder die Union Jack'. Onderliggend aan die sterk selferkende pro-Britse sentimente van ANC leiers was daar minder 'lojale' houdings en meer komplekse identiteite. Hierdie identiteite het gebly en bygedra tot die mengsel van sosiale en nasionale eienskappe wat houdings en opvattings in die teenswoordige Suid-Afrika beïnvloed.

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/content/hist/47/1/EJC38062
2002-05-01
2016-12-05
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