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Roger Southall’s Liberation Movements in Power Addresses “Struggle Mentality”

Liberation Movements in PowerIn the context of President Jacob Zuma’s “irritated retort” in reaction to the term born-frees, Keith Somerville writes that books such as Roger Southall’s Liberation Movements in Power: Party and State in Southern Africa should indicate to the ANC that their “right to rule” should not be taken for granted.

According to Somerville, with just over 600,000 South Africans born in 1994, and similar numbers the following two years, one-and-a-half million new voters could vote for this first time this year – “over 5% of the electorate”. Zuma’s annoyance at the term born-frees, Somerville says, is indicative of a worry that the ANC will not be able to take as given a vote from young South Africans who have never experienced apartheid.

There is ample recent literature, such as Roger Southall’s book, Liberation Movements in power: Party and State in Southern Africa, which addresses the mentality of “struggle” organizations and their assumption of a right to rule derived from their role in fighting minority rule, rather than realisation that they have to earn that right through delivering good governance and better living standards.

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