Tycho van der Hoog, Brothers in Arms: National Liberation Movements in the Frontline States, 1950-1990

Decolonization in southern Africa constituted a slow and uneven process, that was characterized by guerilla warfare and exile politics. Across the region, national liberation movements were pushed into exile. Many of these organizations found a safe haven in the Frontline States, a collection of nations that pushed against white minority rule and apartheid. It was in these places that the liberation movements were able to develop themselves into well-organized entities.

This research project examines the interactions of national liberation movements in the Frontline States between 1950 and 1990. Importantly, the Frontline States – and particularly cities such as Lusaka and Dar es Salaam – were nodes of connection, in which a diverse group of people from all walks of life were able to meet, talk, and exchange ideas. These experiences have left a profound influence on the further development of the national liberation movements.

In the scholarly literature available to us, liberation movements have mainly been analyzed on an individual basis. While this strand of research is an important building block for any future research on the liberation struggle in southern Africa, the interconnectedness of these organizations remains an understudied but vital aspect. This project seeks to embrace a trans regional perspective to the history of liberation movements in southern Africa.

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