Bounds Of Possibility: The Legacy Of Steve Biko And Black Consciousness. Edited By N. Barney Pityana, M. Ramphele, M. Mpumiwana, And L. Wilson. New York: Zed Press, 1992, 256 Pp. Learning From Robben Island: The Prison Writings Of Govan Mbeki

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Bounds Of Possibility: The Legacy Of Steve Biko And Black Consciousness. Edited By N. Barney Pityana, M. Ramphele, M. Mpumiwana, And L. Wilson. New York: Zed Press, 1992, 256 Pp. Learning From Robben Island: The Prison Writings Of Govan Mbeki

By Govan Mbeki
Ohio University Press, 1991
199 pp.
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These two remarkable books open a rare window on the experiences and thought of black South African intellectuals prominent in the resistance to apartheid. The first, a collection of essays on the black consciousness movement, contains the only published account of the life of Biko, the most important black political leader of the 1970s, who was also his era's most influential intellectual. Mbeki's book contains essays and memoranda written during his 23 years on Robben Island, South Africa's Alcatraz. Together the works reveal the wide ideological spectrum ranging from Biko's black nationalism to Mbeki's blend of orthodox Marxism with loyalty to the nominally non-Marxist African National Congress. Equally interesting is the light that both books shed on the practical problems of organizing mass resistance-whether underground or "legal"-under conditions of harsh repression.