On the edge of History: small political parties and groupings in South Africa's Transition, 1990-1997

Jason Robinson

My thesis is entitled 'On the edge of History: small political parties and groupings in South Africa's Transition, 1990-1997'. I look principally at four sets of groupings- the Democratic Party, the Pan-Africanist Congress(PAC), Homelands (Bophuthatswana, KwaZulu and Transkei) and Afrikaner parties (Afrikaner Volksunie, Conservative Party and Freedom Front)- during the constitutional negotiations at this time. The purpose of this study is to analyse the participation of these four political groupings in negotiations (such as Codesa, MPNP and the Constitutional Assembly) and to examine their place in the transition more broadly.  It examines how they responded to the process, how they mobilised, including the use of violence by the PAC and Afrikaner right especially and how they became marginalised.  It looks at how the alternatives they sought were rejected or accommodated. An analysis of these elements in the transition period tells us a good deal about the nature of the post-Apartheid state and the emergence of one-party dominance in a unitary state.