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Apartheid's Contras

321 pages8 hours


Of the many bloody chapters in Southern Africa's Thirty Years War since the 1961 uprising against the Portuguese, none was more protracted, more complex or more deadly for civilians than the conflicts in Angola and Mozambique in the decades following their independence in 1975.

This study explores the difficult questions of the original causes of these wars and the reasons for their prolongation. The study is an original and significant exploration of the roots of war in Southern Africa. Minter provides a nuanced analysis of the interconnected roles of. social structure; external interventions;, the particular patterns of military recruitment, .conditioning, logistics and strategy that characterize Unita and Renamo; and the vulnerability and mistakes of the new Angolan and Mozambican states. The analysis serves to apportion responsibility for the enormous suffering of these years. It also outlines a new kind of Third World warfare neither classic guerrilla warfare nor straightforward external aggression; instead, one comprising elements of civil war, but dominated by the initiatives of external powers.

According to Shula Marks, Professor of the History of Southern Africa at the School of Oriental and African Studies, “Minter handles the extremely fragmentary and controversial material on the wars in southern Africa in a remarkably lucid, dispassionate yet committed way. His book takes account of the many different views and attempts to weigh the evidence systematically and judiciously. It should be read by all those with an interest in contemporary southern Africa, or whatever persuasion.”

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