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The book approaches South African politics through a democratic development perspective. The question of what are South Africa's prospects for democratic consolidation forms the underlying thread throughout the book.
It is divided into five parts, namely: Legacies of the past; Negotiating South Africa's transition; Procedural democratisation; Substantive democratisation and South Africa's international relations. The book is written using accessible academic language and covers the theoretical explanations for and practical aspects of politics within the South African context.
South Africa is ready for a new vocabulary than can form the basis for a national consciousness which recognises racialised identities while affirming that, as human beings, we are much more than our racial, sexual, class, religious or national identities. The Colour of Our Future makes a bold and ambitious contribution to the discourse on race. It addresses the tension between the promise of a post-racial society and the persistence of racialised identities in South Africa, which has historically played itself out in debates between the 'I don't see race' of non-racialism and the 'I'm proud to be black' of black consciousness. The chapters in this volume highlight the need for a race-transcendent vision that moves beyond 'the festival of negatives' embodied in concepts such as non-racialism, non-sexism, anti-colonialism and anti-apartheid. Steve Biko's notion of a 'joint culture' is the scaffold on which this vision rests; it recognises that a race-transcendent society can only be built by acknowledging the constituent elements of South Africa's EuroAfricanAsian heritage. The distinguished authors in this volume have, over the past two decades, used the democratic space to insert into the public domain new conversations around the intersections of race and the economy, race and the state, race and the environment, race and ethnic difference, and race and higher education. Presented here is some of their most trenchant and yet still evolving thinking.
In 2012, Unisa, as the home of African intellectuals, and the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, as a premiere think tank on African matters, came together to host a Colloquium on Mbeki @ 70. The essays presented on that day have been collected and edited into this book, Building Blocks Towards an African Century - Essays in Honour of Thabo Mbeki, Former President of the Republic of South Africa. In reflecting on the times and life of President Mbeki, the contributing scholars have had to contend with the challenge that the person who is the subject matter of the discourse is among us and will also read and make his own judgement about what is recorded. The work done by the contributors, both in terms of their participation at the Colloquium of Mbeki @ 70 and their writings that constitute this volume of essays, is an exceptional and outstanding undertaking. What is reflected in these essays goes beyond the person of Thabo Mbeki to include the identification of the problems that Africa needs to solve and venturing answers to some of the difficult questions that they pose. Readers will navigate through these interesting theses and will ascertain, among others, the following: A detailed account of Mbeki as a statesman and intellectual forms a compelling and must-read introduction to this volume. That includes a critical analysis of the ANC's performance under President Mbeki, its achievements, and the fault lines of South Africa's nascent democracy owing to difficult policy choices; A thorough examination of Thabo Mbeki's contribution to intellectual engagement about Africa's past, present, and future. The book offers the current generation of leaders with the tools of analysis to enable them to respond accurately to the problems facing Africa's future; While Thabo Mbeki has contributed immensely to the enhancement of Africa's profile through the AU and other multinational institutions, the authors express misgivings about the strengths, relevance, and sustainability of Africa's institutions, in particular, the AU; The important question of `Who is an African?' is thoroughly debated, and various permutations are offered as to whether that should be answered simply as a matter of colour or identity on the one hand, or a matter of ideas, vision, and commitment to Africa's agenda on the other; A strong and reasoned argument is made to assist the reader to look at Africa from a different and new perspective in terms of the need to focus on Africa's people rather than simply on the basis of social or political structures and, in that context, the authors debate the critical matter of feminism in Africa; An analysis of the fantasy of the supremacy of the white tribes in South Africa is made, which leads to the conclusion that that fantasy has the negative effect of impeding efforts towards the achievement of unity; The essays would not be complete without an examination of the important issue of leadership as epitomised by Mbeki's vision, his thinking, and his works, and that is used to pose the question: what kind of leadership is required in today's Africa to deal with her challenges?; In the end, the Colloquium sought to address the matter of Afrocentricity in the process of knowledge production as a means of responding to Africa's challenges rather than positioning Africans as simply the consumers of pre-packaged information from elsewhere and not Africa.
The world remains uncertain. Africa is fragile. Many issues remain unresolved and the African, and global, situation is worsening. South Africa has been at the crossroads for long enough. There can be no more delays – the time has come to address the many critical issues.
In Africa’s Wellbeing in an Uncertain World, Vusi Gumede discusses these critical issues about Africa, with specific focus on South Africa. He has revisited opinion articles and blogs he has been writing since the mid-2000s and taken his ideas and arguments, together with his deliberations on the recent changes globally and in Africa, and presented them in this thought-provoking book. While taking into account what others have said about similar issues, this is an attempt to get us to talk about these challenges, the important issues and fundamental problems, with a view to finding solutions.
The future of the African continent could be bright if all the efforts that are being pursued for the improved wellbeing of Africans succeed. But, as Vusi Gumede reflects in this book, if South Africa is to achieve the society envisaged in the Constitution, then all South Africans – whatever the colour of their skin – have an important role to play.
This comparative book debates migration and regional integration in the two regional economic blocs, namely the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The book takes a historical and nuanced citizenship approach to integration by analysing regional integration from the perspective of non-state actors and how they negotiate various structures and institutions in their pursuit for life and livelihood in a contemporary context marked by mobility and economic fragmentation.
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