The Introduction opens with a vignette focusing on John Vorster’s historic meeting with Kenneth Kaunda at Victoria Falls in 1975. This leads into the book’s central thesis: that South Africa’s African outreach during the 1970s reflected heated conceptual and political debates over the relationship between the apartheid system and the new postcolonial world, which in turn reflected fundamental differences over the relationship between nation, race, and state in the regime’s mission. The Introduction outlines the interplay of the central ideas across three levels: diplomacy, regional strategy, and domestic politics. It also introduces the major conceit of the narrative: the tension between, between the ideas favored by John Vorster’s “doves” and P. W. Botha’s “hawks.” Finally, it outlines how the book seeks to reposition the history of the apartheid state in relation to African nationalism, the global Cold War, and state formation in the global south.
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