22 April 2013

INVITATION: Panel discussion on Stephen Ellis' 'External Mission: The ANC in Exile'

Cover of 'External Mission'The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (RLF) and South African History Archive (SAHA) invite you to a lecture and panel discussion on the recent publication by Professor Stephen Ellis:

External Mission: The ANC in Exile, 1960-1990

Professor Ellis will be in discussion with Professor Sakhela Buhlungu and Dr Arianna Lissoni.

Date: Friday 10 May 2013
Time: 14h30 for 15h00
Venue: Women's Jail at Constitution Hill
RSVP: info@saha.org.za / 011 718 2560


Stephen Ellis is the Desmond Tutu professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and a senior researcher at the Afrika Studiecentrum in Leiden. He has worked as the editor of the newsletter Africa Confidential and is also a past editor of African Affairs, the journal of Britain's Royal African Society.

In 2003-2004 he was director of the Africa programme at the International Crisis Group. In 1997-98 he worked as a researcher for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. He has been visiting South Africa since 1986.

Sakhela Buhlungu is Professor of Sociology and Vice-Dean for Postgraduate Studies and
Ethics in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria, and has also taught at University
of Johannesburg and the University of the Witwatersrand. Having worked in the unions and in labour-supporting organisations in the 1980s and early 1990s, Buhlungu has published widely on the changing nature of trade unionism in South Africa and Africa, union movements' political engagement, industrial relations, political activism and the 'new' social movements.

Arianna Lissoni is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Johannesburg and a member of the History Workshop at the University of the Witwatersrand. She obtained her PhD, titled 'The South African Liberation Movements in Exile, c.1945-1970', from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She is one of the editors of the South African Historical Journal and recently co-edited a volume on One Hundred Years of the ANC: Debating Liberation Histories Today (2012)


'Rampant corruption and careerism, an obsession with security, patronage and personality conflict, intolerance of dissent, undercurrents of tribalism, sheer incompetence and arbitrary violence: these are characteristics that emerge from Stephen Ellis’s External Mission, a study of power relations within the exiled ANC' 

REVIEW, The Witness, 15 October 2012.

'WITH External Mission: The ANC in Exile, Stephen Ellis, the Desmond Tutu professor in social sciences at the Free University Amsterdam, aims to bust various myths that have developed about the African National Congress (ANC) during its exile years from 1960 to 1990.' 


'Stephen Ellis’s book shows how, in exile, which is to say the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the South African Communist Party (SACP) was pretty much the dominant influence on the ANC — politically, ideologically and organisationally — and this meant that liberal was a dirty word.'

The red and the black, by SHAUN DE WAAL, Mail & Guardian, 14 DEC 2012

'THE real message of Stephen Ellis's history of the African National Congress (ANC) in exile-painfully and palpably obvious between the lines-is how the conspiratorial past affects the ruling party to the present day.'

Economist, Jan 12th 2013