South Africa: The Present as History
by John S. Saul and Patrick Bond
The results of all this have been, of course, paradoxical: a series of elections since 1994 seemed to confirm the ANC's hold, both popular and legitimate, on power. Yet, simultaneously, South Africa has found itself with one of the world's highest rates of protest and dissent, expressed both in the work-place and on township streets, in universities and technikons (higher education institutions of technology), clinics and central city squares. 16 August 2014 saw the lives of nearly three dozen platinum mineworkers end prematurely and violently. The premeditated "Marikana Massacre" demonstrated to the world how little Nelson Mandela's ANC had changed South Africa's core power relations, notwithstanding the dramatic, heroic victory over racist rule in 1994.
South Africa: The Present as Historytraces South African history from early days through the long European conquest and into two decades of democracy. The current socio-economic paradox -- one that finds inequality, unemployment and poverty worsening since 1994 -- reflect Mandela's early 1990s concessions, choices which reduced the pursuit of genuine socio-economic and political transformation to the mere realisation of what can best be termed 'low-intensity democracy'. Analysing tensions exemplified by Marikana, the authors consider potential futures for an increasingly volatile society. Genuine liberatory possibilities could continue to be vanquished -- but that is not the only possible results of today's turmoil.
About the authors
John S. Saul is professor emeritus of Social and Political Science and African Studies at York University in Toronto and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and also taught in Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa. He formerly editedSouthern African Reportand has authored/edited 20 books.
Patrick Bond is a senior professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society in Durban. His books includeElite Transition;Cities of Gold,Townships of Coal,Unsustainable South Africa,Against Global Apartheid,Talk Left, Walk RightandZuma's Own Goal.
Authors John Saul & Patrick Bond