This article describes the African National Congress (ANC) underground in South Africa in the years immediately
preceding the 1976 Soweto uprising, and it makes three main contributions to the existing literature on the topic.
The first is primarily descriptive, and involves providing greater detail than has hitherto been offered on the
ANC’s clandestine organisational presence in neighbouring Swaziland, Mozambique and Tanzania that facilitated
the revival of the underground in South Africa. The other two are of value in analysing the longer history of the
ANC’s armed struggle: firstly, the article describes Military Combat Work, the training regime offered to
Umkhonto we Sizwe cadres in the Soviet Union, and which formed the template that was to guide the prosecution
of the armed struggle in future years. The second involves backdating to the pre-Soweto uprising period, many of
the challenges facing the armed struggle that historians have hitherto characterized as being a post-June 1976
phenomenon. This article describes the Challenges the ANC in exile faced hosting the hundreds of cadres that
joined its ranks after recruiting work within South Africa began in the early to mid-1970s.