Cover image for Liberals against apartheid : a history of the Liberal Party of South Africa, 1953-68
Liberals against apartheid : a history of the Liberal Party of South Africa, 1953-68
Vigne, Randolph.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire : MacMillan Press Ltd ; New York, N.Y. : St Martin's Press, 1997.
Physical Description:
xi, 268 8 unnumbered pages leaves of plates : illustrations, map ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JQ1998.L55 V54 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The Liberal Party of South Africa was founded in 1953 to promote nonracial democratic liberalism in opposition to white supremacist apartheid. Under Alan Paton, it quickly moved into the extra-parliamentary field and won considerable black support, competing with Communism and black nationalism. Growing influence brought heavy government attack, and the banning of nearly 50 of its leaders, black and white. Despite forced dissolution in 1968, the Liberals' ideas have triumphed over those of left and right in the new South Africa.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

As political parties go, South Africa's Liberal Party had a brief life. Conceived by urban whites as a protest to the racist rigors of apartheid in 1953, the Liberal Party was eventually banned in 1968. Few South Africans mourned its passing. As Vigne points out in this fascinating study, its membership never exceeded a few thousand, nor did it ever attract support from the black majority. Former members of the party today, however, feel vindicated as the current government implements policies that parallel the Liberal platform of the 1960s. Vigne, a former Liberal leader and political exile, uses his own experience (amply expanded through rigorous archival research and extensive interviews) to present a detailed history of the party. He is not uncritical of Liberal policy and practices, though at base there is an affectionate nostalgia for this period of struggle. Most Liberals, e.g., Alan Paton and Leo Marquard, were members of South Africa's intellectual elite, which makes for interesting vignettes and portraits. Exceptionally well written, Vigne's book provides a thorough history of white voices crying in the wilderness of early apartheid. All levels. J. A. Works Jr. University of Missouri--St. Louis