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02 | The challenges of democratic transition in South Africa

Authors: Simon Bekker

Year: 1995

Publisher: CEA

ISBN: 9789728335014

Digital edition

Sub-Saharan Africa, its recent history, politics, and social economic conditions have been addressed by academics, expert commentators, and journalists as one narrative. This narrative typically begins with political independence, and moves on to the establishment of regional unions and alliances with changing East-West bloc political as well as economic goals, then moves to the rise of new elites in the post-colonial period, and the emergence of one-party states and military governments. Droughts and failing economies, based as they have been on primary – largely agrarian – production as well as the weakening of state organisation form an important element of the narrative. Conflicts based on ethic as well as socio-economic factors have been widespread. The narrative often closes with renewed World Bank intervention and the introduction of structural adjustment measures intended to address the financial relationship between these states and international financial bodies. Processes of democratisation coincide with, and are seen to be linked to, these interventions.

Table of contents

The challenges of democratic transition in South Africa:
1. South Africa and Africa: the new discourse
2. The Geography of South Africa
3. The South African miracle: a condensed political history