The Bantustan State and the South African Transition: Militarisation, Patrimonialism and the Collapse of the Ciskei Regime, 1986–1994 (Englisch)

In: African Historical Review   ;  50 ,  1-2  ;  101-129  ;  2018

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This article examines the Ciskei bantustan and processes of state formation during the transition to democracy. In the Ciskei, the rule of Brigadier Oupa Gqozo rested on the continued support of the South African state: identified as the weakest link in the National Party's conservative alliance, the Ciskei became the first target for the African National Congress's mass action campaign of 1992. The struggle in the Ciskei thus had some significance for the shape of the transition. While at a constitutional level the National Party eventually conceded to the reincorporation of the bantustans in late 1992, it continued to stall change and to bolster the bantustans through covert military operations and land transfers to bantustan elites. These dynamics of state formation are critical aspects of the history of the transition and were at the heart of the emerging political conflict in the Ciskei, which by mid-1992 was escalating into civil war. This article examines mass mobilisation, political repression and the consequences of the patrimonial militarisation of the Ciskei state in the Ciskei/Border region. By focusing on processes of state formation and struggles over the fabric of the state, the article provides a corrective to the prevailing academic focus on the elite negotiations and argues for the value of social histories of the bantustan states for understanding the enduring legacies of these regimes.

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