Debate between historians Stephen Ellis and Hugh Macmillan about ANC-SACP links

AFRICA, the quarterly journal published by Cambridge Univerisity Press on behalf of the International African Institute, published a debate between the two historians Stephen Ellis (African Studies Centre, Leiden) and Hugh Macmillan (African Studies Centre, University of Oxford) about the relationship between the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP), mostly during the exile years of the ANC in Lusaka. It contains a review of Stephen Ellis’s book External Mission: the ANC in exile, 1960–1990 by Hugh Macmillan, who argues that Ellis overemphasizes the relationship between the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP). In his response, Stephen Ellis justifies his approach by pointing to the importance of interpretation for the production of history.

Stephen Ellis' reponse is followed by a review of Hugh Macmillan’s new book The Lusaka Years: the ANC in Exile in Zambia, 1963 to 1994 by Arianna Lissoni. Finally, Mariya Kurbak’s considers The Hidden Thread: Russia and South Africa in the Soviet Era by Irina Filatova and Apollon Davidson.

Read the debate (PdF), visit the AFRICA webpage that contains all 4 articles, or read the Cambridge Journal Blog, with extracts from Hugh Macmillan’s review and Stephen Ellis’s response.

And there's more: James Myburgh, editor & publisher of politicsweb (South Africa), responded to the debate on 25 February: Having analysed Nelson Mandela's court statements in the 1960s and the memoir he wrote in prison, Myburgh believes that Mandela may have been a member of the SA Communist Party even before 1960.

Africa / Volume 85 / Issue 01 / February 2015 Copyright © International African Institute 2014 / published online 23 January 2015

Date, time and location

23 January 2015