South Africa: The DA and South Africa's Black Liberal Dilemma


Society has witnessed DA party leaders and members having public disagreements over colonial nostalgia within the party. This conflict is inspired by the political and epistemological disobedience of black socially conscious DA liberals who reject colonial nostalgia. It questions the party's legitimacy and commitment to a non-racist South Africa.

The ongoing political tensions within South Africa's largest opposition party have incited lively debates. This discourse has revealed underlying contradictions in the DA on how to approach pertinent socio-economic and political challenges in post-apartheid South Africa. These divergent intra-party views on redress policies and race relations are not new.

There has been contestation within the DA over Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), Employment Equity (EE), and leadership racial quotas in recent years. Prominent black leaders have exited the party citing the dominance of conservative liberalism, which is amplified by three core political views.

First, a rejection of race-based socio-economic redress policies based on superficial accounts about preserving meritocracy within society. This meritocracy principle is interpreted rigidly without consideration for social justice, national cohesion and history.

Second, limiting race debates to individual or personal experiences rather than systemic structural inequalities. This blind non-racialism overlooks how racial inequality persists in the structural design of...

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