n African Review of Economics and Finance - The forgotten people: Political banishment under apartheid, Saleem Badat : book review

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2042-1478
  • E-ISSN: 2410-4906


makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the variety of repressive strategies adopted by the apartheid state. While the number of people banished between 1948 and 1982 (the period studied in this book) is quite small (160), it represented an important strand of the state's efforts to suppress rural 'unrest'. Banishment, banning (restricting a person to their home and forbidding them from attending meetings), endorsement (cancelling their permission to remain and work in an urban area), and deportation (removing a person to the nominally independent Bantustan to which they 'belonged'), and detention (imprisonment without trial), made up a set of extra-legal strategies of political suppression and punishment that, while not unique to apartheid South Africa, reflected its peculiarly Kafkaesque quality. All five strategies, one could argue, were based on a distinctive concept of space as an instrument to dislocate and reconstruct societies according to the visions of apartheid's architects, echoing the much larger-scale removals of entire communities.

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