‘With the Abyssinian Armies, in Defence of Africa’s Only Native State’: Varieties of South African Anti-Fascism, 1930s–1960s

Johnson, David (2022). ‘With the Abyssinian Armies, in Defence of Africa’s Only Native State’: Varieties of South African Anti-Fascism, 1930s–1960s. South African Historical Journal (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02582473.2022.2027004

Abstract

Noting the prominence of anti-fascist rhetoric in contemporary South African politics, the article returns to the varieties of South African anti-fascism inspired by the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Opening with a brief survey of South African support for the Italian invasion, three varieties of anti-fascism are analysed: first, white South African anti-fascism, both Prime Minister J. B. M. Hertzog’s support of sanctions against Italy in parliament and popular anti-fascism expressed in the white English-speaking press; second, black South African anti-fascism as articulated in newspapers like Bantu World and Umteteli wa Bantu; and, third, the socialist anti-fascism of the Communist Party of South Africa (in Umvikeli-Thebe/The African Defender and Umsebenzi), of Trotskyist groups (in The Spark), and of independent radicals. Two subsequent expressions of anti-fascism conclude the article. The first is the anti-fascism of the white South African soldiers who fought in Ethiopia in 1940–1941; the second, the 1966 speech in Addis Ababa by Jacob Nyaose, the Pan Africanist Congress Secretary for Labour on the national executive, which commemorated the South African soldiers who died liberating Ethiopia from fascism.

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