A Turbulent South Africa: Post-apartheid Social Protest

SUNY Press
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 Highlights the continuing social unrest and public protest occurring in South Africa’s poorest districts.
Frequently praised for its democratic transition, South Africa has experienced an almost uninterrupted cycle of social protest since the late 1990s. There have been increasing numbers of demonstrations against the often appalling living conditions of millions of South Africans, pointing to the fact that they have yet to achieve full citizenship. A Turbulent South Africa offers a new look at this historic period in the existence of the young South African democracy, far removed from the idealistic portrait of the “Rainbow Nation.” Jérôme Tournadre draws on interviews and observations to take the reader from the backstreets of the squatters’ camps to international militant circles, and from the immediate, infra-political level to the worldwide anti-capitalist protest movement. He investigates the mechanisms and the meaning of social discontent in light of several different phenomena. These include, the struggle of the poor to gain recognition, the persistent memory of the fight against apartheid, the developments in the political world since the “Mandela Years,” the coexistence of liberal democracy with a “popular politics” found in poor and working-class districts, and many other factors that have played a crucial part in the social and political tensions at the heart of post-apartheid South Africa.
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About the author

 Jérôme Tournadre is Researcher in Political Science at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and a member of CNRS’s Institut des Sciences sociales du Politique, both located in France.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Mar 1, 2018
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Pages
294
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ISBN
9781438469782
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Africa / South / Republic of South Africa
Political Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Ever since Nelson Mandela dramatically walked out of prison in 1990 after twenty-seven years behind bars, South Africa has been undergoing a radical transformation. In one of the most miraculous events of the century, the oppressive system of apartheid was dismantled. Repressive laws mandating separation of the races were thrown out. The country, which had been carved into a crazy quilt that reserved the most prosperous areas for whites and the most desolate and backward for blacks, was reunited. The dreaded and dangerous security force, which for years had systematically tortured, spied upon, and harassed people of color and their white supporters, was dismantled. But how could this country--one of spectacular beauty and promise--come to terms with its ugly past? How could its people, whom the oppressive white government had pitted against one another, live side by side as friends and neighbors?

To begin the healing process, Nelson Mandela created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, headed by the renowned cleric Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Established in 1995, the commission faced the awesome task of hearing the testimony of the victims of apartheid as well as the oppressors. Amnesty was granted to those who offered a full confession of any crimes associated with apartheid. Since the commission began its work, it has been the central player in a drama that has riveted the country. In this book, Antjie Krog, a South African journalist and poet who has covered the work of the commission, recounts the drama, the horrors, the wrenching personal stories of the victims and their families. Through the testimonies of victims of abuse and violence, from the appearance of Winnie Mandela to former South African president P. W. Botha's extraordinary courthouse press conference, this award-winning poet leads us on an amazing journey.

Country of My Skull captures the complexity of the Truth Commission's work. The narrative is often traumatic, vivid, and provocative. Krog's powerful prose lures the reader actively and inventively through a mosaic of insights, impressions, and secret themes. This compelling tale is Antjie Krog's profound literary account of the mending of a country that was in colossal need of change.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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