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An African VolkThe Apartheid Regime and Its Search for Survival$
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Jamie Miller

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190274832

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190274832.001.0001

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“If you say change, I’ll say I can’t”

“If you say change, I’ll say I can’t”

A New Vision

(p.283) 9 “If you say change, I’ll say I can’t”
An African Volk

Jamie Miller

Oxford University Press

Chapter 9 shows how the demise of Vorster and his visions allowed for the implementation of the hawks’ doctrines as government policy. It argues that because Vorster had attached so much importance to his campaign of international rehabilitation, the sudden deterioration of South Africa’s international standing substantially damaged his personal authority. This created a conducive atmosphere for Botha’s prescriptions of unilateralism and defiance, as the party moved decisively to the right. Total onslaught and total strategy became entrenched at the heart of Pretoria’s understanding of its place in the world, its engagement with African nationalism, and its existential predicament in the region—and remained there right up until the end of the Cold War. Finally, the chapter shows how the state’s raid on Cassinga in May 1978 became an exemplar for the regime’s future statecraft, a singular success amid demoralization and failure that offered a guiding light moving forward.

Keywords:   Total onslaught, total strategy, Rhodesia, South-West Africa/Namibia, Carter administration, ideology, Cassinga

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