14 May 2014

Africa: Op-Ed - How Do We Move Towards an Emancipatory Politics in South Africa?


The news is bad, it seems. We need to recognise that, if where our politics is headed depends on tensions within the ANC, it cannot lead to an emancipatory politics. Even if President Jacob Zuma were removed, whoever replaces him operates within relationships and structures that have enabled abuse to become well established.

Steven Friedman correctly concludes (in Business Day, 9 May 2014) that the ANC may not face electoral defeat for the foreseeable future, though he, uncharacteristically, treats this as everything that may be entailed in the notion of politics. "What happens inside the African National Congress (ANC) remains more important to our political future than what happens outside it." If we want a sense of where our politics is headed, he says, "we need to look at the tensions within the ANC rather than the challenges it faces from outside."

'Outside', here, refers to other electoral parties, not the whole of the 'outside'. It is important to define our understanding of politics and its scope. It may well be that some who voted ANC will be on the streets protesting today or in the near future. It is reported, for example, that the ANC scored...

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