TO SWIM WITH CROCODILES, land, violence, and belonging in South Africa, 1800-1996

: Kelly (J.)

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342pp., illus., maps, paperback, First SA Edition, Pietermaritzburg, 2019


First published in 2018 in the USA.

"A compelling, fascinating account of African chiefs, their subjects, and how their concerns about land, security, belonging, and social reproduction made and remade shifting and dynamic political alliances from the nineteenth century through the end of apartheid. Through meticulous archival research and numerous oral accounts, Kelly highlights African agency and power, demolishes lingering mythologies of primordial 'tribal' Africans relentlessly victimized and manipulated by apartheid policies and 'third force' state-sponsored violence. In doing so, this book prompts us to rethink what we thought we knew about the ANC-IFP civil wars that very nearly derailed South Africa's democratic transition." Robert Trent Vinson, Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies, College of William and Mary

"To Swim with Crocodiles is a triumph on many levels. Kelly intervenes in local, regional, national, and continental history. Her deeply learned study offers critical insights into the ways in which local history in KwaZulu-Natal revealed the tangled politics of chiefship and white supremacy. Simultaneously, the book offers a rich and fluent understanding of the civil wars that marked the end of apartheid and develops theories on land and authority" Daniel Magaziner, Associate Professor of History, Yale University

Jill Kelly is Assistant Professor of African History at Southern Methodist University, USA.