Liberation Movements in Power

Party and State in Southern Africa

Roger Southall



The liberation movements of Southern Africa arose to combat racism, colonialism and settler capitalism and engaged in armed struggle to establish democracy. After victory over colonial and white minority regimes, they moved into government embodying the hopes and aspirations of their mass of supporters and of widespread international solidarity movements. Even with the difficult legacies they inherited, their performance in power has been deeply disappointing. Roger Southall tracks the experiences in government of ZANU-PF, SWAPO and the ANC, arguing that such movements are characterised by paradoxical qualities, both emancipatory and authoritarian.


Encyclopaedic in detail and scope, elegantly written and carefully analysed, and makes a convincing and nuanced argument for the degeneration of NLMs. ... (This) important volume should become essential reading to anyone hoping to unpick the failures of liberation in southern Africa. - Review of African Political Economy


Roger Southall is Professor Emeritus in Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand and a Research Associate of the Society, Work and Development Institute.