UDF chronicle wins prestigious prize

26 April 2004

Professor Jeremy Seekings of the School of Economics is the joint winner of this year's prestigious Bill Venter/Altron award for excellence in academic literature.

He shares the prize with the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Professor Jeff Guy. Each received a purse of R30 000 and certificate from the donor, Dr Bill Venter, chair of the Altron Group.

Seekings' prize-winning book The UDF: A History of the United Democratic Front in South Africa 1983-1991, chronicles the rise of an organisation that played a central role in the struggle for democracy in South Africa. Between its formation in 1983 and its dissolution in 1991, the UDF inspired and coordinated political organisation and protest across much of the country.

In his analysis, Seekings places the UDF in the broader context of South African politics and the late apartheid period, documenting the formation, operation and demise of the coalition. He examines the difficulties of building an organisation on the ground as well as its regional and national networks and the front's successful campaigns against the National Party government's constitutional reforms of 1983-84.

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