Talking in secret

2012-07-02 00:00

AT a time when the ruling party would have us believe that only the African National Congress (ANC) played a part in ending apartheid, Endgame by Willie Esterhuyse is an important book documenting the story of ANC leaders and a few select Afrikaners talking during the turbulent eighties. Most of the Afrikaners who participated in the talks had access to government leaders.

The idea of informal and unofficial talks between the ANC and influential Afrikaners arose from what became known as the Cons­gold project. Consgold, a British mining house had arranged a meeting of British business leaders with the ANC in 1987 emphasising the need for talks with South Africans. De Villiers initiated the first contact with the Afrikaners, while Michael Young, the public relations officer of Consgold, approached the ANC. Esterhuyse reports that the ANC leaders favoured talking to Afrikaners who were part of the establishment, rather than English liberals.

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