|dc.description.abstract||As a conjunctural construct located between politics, society and art, the popular-democratic
construes the resistance literature of the 1970s and 1980s as being expressive of an entire
social movement to end oppression and transform society. Through the construct of the
popular-democratic voices that have been marginalised, fragmented, dislocated, excluded or
otherwise silenced can be seen in relation to each other and to the sources of oppression.
The introductory chapter addresses the characteristics of the popular-democratic, and the
caveats and challenges that attend it. The remaining nine chapters are divided into three
sections of three chapters each.
The first section examines repression of different types: structural repression, coercive
repression/state violence and cultural repression. An important index of the structural
oppression of apartheid is the home, which a range of resistance writers addressed in depth
when they dealt with city life and the townships, forced removals, homeless people, rural
struggles, migrants and hostels, commuting, the "homelands" and exile.
The coercive apparatus of the state, the security forces, were used against dissidents in the
neighbouring states and within the country. The literature addresses the effects of the cross
border raids, assassinations, abductions and bombings. The literature that deals with internal
repression examines the effects of the mass detentions, restrictions, listings and bannings as
well as the impact of the states of emergency, P.W. Botha's "total strategy", and the actions of
the death squads.
An examination of the conservative liberal constructions of resistance literature helps to
clarify why resistance literature remains inadequately conceptualised ("Soweto poets",
"protest literature") although there has been a vibrant and challenging corpus. The way in
which the audience of resistance literature is constructed is identified as a key problem. The
responses of various resistance writers, in poems, interviews, letters and articles, to
conservative liberal prescriptions are contextualised.
The middle section of the argument focuses on the organisations that developed to challenge
oppression. Through an examination of the literature that was influenced by the activism and
the cultural and philosophical production of Black Consciousness, it is apparent that the
movement was continuous with the rest of the struggle for liberation. The satirical poems that
challenged both the state and the conservative liberals offer powerful displays of verbal wit.
The struggles of workers are addressed through texts that deal with their plight and call for
worker organisations. The trade union COSA TV paid close attention to the development of
worker culture, which proved to be critical when the state cracked down on the resistance
organisations. The production values and effects of very different plays about strikes, The
Long March and Township Fever receive particular attention.
The rise of the United Democratic Front (UDF) is anticipated in literature that celebrates the
potential of ordinary South Africans to achieve political significance through unity.
Constructed out of substantial ideological pluralism, the UDF arose as an act of political
imagination and organisational strategy. The ideological convergence between the UDF and
COSATU on the question of bidding for state power constituted a turning-point in a nation
built on the intolerance of difference.
The last section focuses more closely on the productive responses of the culture of resistance
to specific aspects of repression, such as the censorship of the media and the arts, the killings
of activists, the struggles around education and the keeping of historical records (which
enable an interrogation and reconstruction of discursive and interpretive authority).||en