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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

“Handle history with care – it might come back to bite you”: Stephen Coan on Tribing and Untribing the Archive


Former features writer for the Witness, writer-director in film and theatre, and freelance journalist, Stephen Coan, recently wrote an article on Tribing and Untribing the Archive, edited by Carolyn Hamilton and Nessa Leibhammer, discussing the significance of past events which has shaped the current political order. Read Coan’s insightful piece here:

Decolonisation. The use of the word is much in vogue at present; usually invoked to advocate a move away from a Eurocentric focus to one that is Afrocentric. If the concept is to be pursued with serious intent it could have quite unexpected implications for traditional leaders, not only in the province of KwaZulu-Natal but the whole of South Africa.

These implications are made clear in Tribing and Untribing the Archive – Identity and the Material Record in Southern KwaZulu-Natal in the Late Independent and Colonial Periods, edited by Carolyn Hamilton and Nessa Leibhammer, published in two slipcased volumes and consisting of twenty essays and an epilogue drawn from a multidisciplinary team of contributors, including archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, art historians, archivists and curators.

According to the editors the essays provide a window into “not only to see how archives give shape to history, but also how history gives shape to archives.”

But what exactly is “the archive”? On one level it is what has been written: what is found in state repositories, missionary records, personal papers, recorded oral testimony and newspapers. However Tribing and Untribing the Archive goes further, drawing attention “to the extent of the material culture record … little appreciated by researchers outside art history and archaeology.”

Consequently material objects such as snuff spoons, sticks, photographs and artworks are brought within the compass of the archive thus allowing scope for such essays as Nontobeko Ntombela’s Shifting contexts: Material, Process and Contemporary Art in Times of Change and Hlonipha Mokoena’s quirky and intriguing ‘Knobkerrie’: Some Preliminary Notes on the Transformation of a Weapon into a Swagger Stick, or Sometimes a Stick is Not Just a Stick which teases out out the meaning and complexities of a photograph (c.1890) depicting two policemen, one (white and seated) with a swagger stick and the other (black, barefoot, and standing) holding a knobkerrie.

Another group of essays, which include an aspect of Christoph Rippe’s pioneering work on the photographic collections at Mariannhill Monastery plus André Croucamp’s delving into tourism promotion by the Natal Government Railways, reveal how the image of “the Zulu” popularly assumed to be a product of the Zulu heartland north of the Thukela was in fact constructed much further south with paintings and photographs made within easy travelling distance (firstly by horse, then rail) of Durban.

Whatever a contributor’s particular focus all the essays coalesce under the umbrella of the title essay, Tribing and Untribing the Archive by Hamilton and Leibhammer, which elaborates on how “yoked together in the service of colonial and later apartheid rule, the pernicious combination of tribe and tradition continues to tether modern South Africans to ideas about the remote past as primitive, timeless and unchanging, despite substantial scholarly and public critical discussion of the fallacy of these notions.”

Speaking at the book’s launch in Johannesburg contributor John Wright said the most frequent response to its content was: “‘Well, if we can’t call them tribes, what can we call them?’”
“It’s the wrong question,” he countered. “The issue is not about finding new names for a category, but rethinking the nature of the category altogether. Historical work is showing that before the 19th century Africans lived not in bounded, relatively homogeneous ‘tribes’, but in polities, for which we have no word in English, that were fluid, relatively loosely structured groups, organized round the exigencies of making and remaking alliances, and incorporating newcomers.”

“Many people – black and white – today find it very difficult to think beyond Africans as ‘always’ having lived in tribes. They find it very difficult to think historically about African polities.”

While Tribing and Untribing the Archive has a specific regional focus – that of southern Kwazulu-Natal, bounded by the Thukela River in the north and the Mzimvubu in the south – the insights it contains have far wider application. “This area had a very distinctive colonial experience,” said Hamilton at the launch. “And it had a very distinctive experience before that, both before and after Shaka built up his power. What happened in this region has ramifications for the rest of the country.”

With the arrival of white settlers in significant numbers from the 1840s onwards southern KwaZulu-Natal became subject to colonial administration which saw Theophilus Shepstone, the Diplomatic Agent to the Native Tribes, devise a form of indirect rule which controlled African communities via the power of their chiefs. Non-compliant chiefs were either marginalised or, as in the case of the Hlubi leader Langalibalele kaMthimkhulu, designated rebels and violently subjugated. However, the great majority of chiefs recognised by Shepstone happily acquiesced in this system of government and turned it to their advantage. Thus by the end of the nineteenth century the concept of the “tribe” as the basic social and political unit of African society had become rooted in the minds of both the coloniser and the colonised.

Since 1994, as Grant McNulty details in his essay (Re)discovering the Correct History, numerous communities in KwaZulu-Natal have called for recognition of their pasts and identities both before their assimilation into the Zulu kingdom during the time of King Shaka kaSenzangakhona or their later status under colonial rule, “wrestling with how best to navigate these oppressed histories and how and what to present as evidence in support of their claims.”

This has seen frequent recourse to the archive, as the Campbell Collections in Durban and local state repositories can attest, in order “to strengthen and validate claims for traditional leadership submitted to the Nhlapo Commission and the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims.” The archive has also been used by lawyers investigating land claims while many members of the public have taken to researching their histories to try and re-establish their roots and identity.

According to McNulty the resultant re-emergence of the pre-Zulu history of the Hlubi, Ndwandwe, Quabe, and Nhlangwini represents “a direct threat to the authenticity and power of the Zulu king as a custodian and symbol of a unified Zulu nation.”

Post-1994 the liberation movements deliberately moved away from the tribal concept, a trajectory widely expected to continue. “Paradoxically, the opposite has happened,” according to Wright in Making Identities in the Thukela-Mzimvubu Region.

“National and provincial governments sought first to accommodate and then to win the support of ‘traditional leaders’ by recognising and augmenting the authority they exercised in terms of ‘customary law’ in ‘tribal areas’ based on those established in the eras of colonialism and apartheid.” Or, to put it another way, what is the decolonisation project to do with traditional leaders whose status came into being as the result of collaboration with the colonial regime or direct colonial appointment?

There are no easy answers to such questions and if nothing else, as Mbongiseni Buthelezi puts it in his perceptive epilogue: “These volumes show us that we know neither enough about the past before colonialism nor about the ways in which local institutions were reshaped in the early years of colonialism to suit a form of indirect colonial rule.”

“We need more investigation into the longer past because the more we know about the forms of social organisation, leadership, relations between neighbours and so on that existed prior to the advent of European settlement, the better we give back to the present and future their pasts.”

Tribing and Untribing the Archive marks both a beginning of that process and a challenge to the current political order.


Tribing and Untribing the Archive

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Living Together, Living Apart? explores social cohesion in South Africa

These ‘interventions’ are spurred by what in South Africa today is a buzz-phrase: social cohesion. The term, or concept, is bandied about with little reflection by leaders or spokespeople in politics, business, labour, education, sport, entertainment and the media.

Yet, who would not wish to live in a socially cohesive society? How, then, do we apply the ideal in the daily round when diversity of language, religion, culture, race and the economy too often supersedes our commitment to a common citizenry? How do we live together rather than live apart? Such questions provoke the purpose of these interventions.

The interventions – essays, which are short, incisive, at times provocative – tackle issues that are pertinent to both living together and living apart: equality/inequality, public pronouncement, xenophobia, safety, chieftaincy in modernity, gender-based abuse, healing, the law, education, identity, sport, new ‘national’ projects, the role of the arts, South Africa in the world.

In focusing on such issues, the essays point towards the making of a future, in which a critical citizenry is key to a healthy society.

Contributors include leading academics and public figures in South Africa today: Christopher Ballantine, Ahmed Bawa, Michael Chapman, Jacob Dlamini, Jackie Dugard, Kira Erwin, Nicole Fritz, Michael Gardiner, Gerhard Maré, Monique Marks, Rajend Mesthrie, Bonita Meyersfeld, Leigh-Ann Naidoo, Njabulo S. Ndebele, Kathryn Pillay, Faye Reagon, Brenda Schmahmann, Himla Soodyall, David Spurrett and Thuto Thipe.

Christopher Ballantine, Michael Chapman and Gerhard Maré are professors emeriti who are affiliated to the University of KwaZulu-Natal. They have all published prominently in areas of the humanities and social sciences in South Africa. Kira Erwin is a researcher at the Urban Futures Centre at the Durban University of Technology. Her publications focus on race, space and urban identities.


1 At Ease with Being ‘Citizen’ and ‘Human Being’
Njabulo S. Ndebele

2 Human Variation: What Can We Learn from Genetics?
Himla Soodyall and Faye Reagon

3 Agreeing to Disagree
David Spurrett

4 The Danger of Empty Words: from Rhetoric to Action
Kira Erwin

5 What Social Cohesion? Binding through Shared Austerity
Gerhard Maré

6 Where Walls Don’t Divide: Dreaming a Suburban Life
Monique Marks

7 Bound by Tradition: Chieftaincy in a ‘New’ South Africa
Thuto Thipe

8 ‘AmaNdiya, they’re not South Africans!’ Xenophobia and Citizenship
Kathryn Pillay

9 ‘Them’ and ‘Us’: Politics, Poetry and the Public Voice
Michael Chapman

10 ‘Urban Cool!’ Social Bridging in Language
Rajend Mesthrie

11 Sounds like a Better Future: Musicking for Social Change
Christopher Ballantine

12 Embroidering Controversy: The Politics of Visual Imaging
Brenda Schmahmann

13 Mothers, Children and Mathematics: Ways to a Better Society
Ahmed Bawa

14 Coercion or Cohesion? Educators in a Democracy
Michael Gardiner

15 Sexual Harassment and Violence: Higher Education as Social Microcosm
Jackie Dugard and Bonita Meyersfeld

16 The ‘Hidden’ Curriculum of South African Sport
Leigh-Ann Naidoo

17 The Global Obligations We Owe: A Source of Domestic Cohesion?
Nicole Fritz

18 The Death of Jacob Dlamini
Jacob Dlamini

Living Together, Living Apart?

Book details

  • Living Together, Living Apart?: Social Cohesion in a Future South Africa by Christopher Ballantine, Kira Erwin, Gerhard Mare
    EAN: 9781869143329
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

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Book launch: Tribing and Untribing the Archive: Volumes 1 and 2

University of KwaZulu-Natal Press and the Public Affairs Research Institute invite you to the launch of Tribing and Untribing the Archive: volumes one and two. Both volumes will be sold as a single set during the launch.

Event Details

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New: Ordered States: Welfare, Power and Maternalism on Zimbabwe’s (Once White) Highveld by Andrew MC Hartnack

Ordered Estates offers a sophisticated and nuanced portrait of Zimbabwe’s contemporary agrarian landscape, providing a valuable contribution to the growing body of work about changes in different social, political, structural and cultural spheres generated in the post-2000 “Fast Track” era.

- Amanda Hammar, MSO Professor of African Studies, University of Copenhagen

Ordered StatesUKZN Press is proud to present Ordered States: Welfare, Power and Maternalism on Zimbabwe’s (Once White) Highveld by Andrew MC Hartnack:

There is a growing body of work on white farmers in Zimbabwe. Yet the role played by white women – so-called “farmers’ wives” – on commercial farms has been almost completely ignored, if not forgotten.

For all the public role and overt power ascribed to white male farmers, their wives played an equally important, although often more subtle, role in power and labour relations on white commercial farms. This “soft power” took the form of maternalistic welfare initiatives such as clinics, schools, orphan programmes and women’s clubs, most overseen by a “farmer’s wife”. Before and after Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence these played an important role in attracting and keeping farm labourers, and governing their behaviour. After independence they also became crucial to the way white farmers justified their continued ownership of most of Zimbabwe’s prime farmland.

This book provides the first comprehensive analysis of the role that farm welfare initiatives played in Zimbabwe’s agrarian history. Having assessed what implications such endeavours had for the position and well-being of farmworkers before the onset of “fast-track” land reform in the year 2000, Hartnack examines in vivid ethnographic detail the impact that the farm seizures had on the lives of farmworkers and the welfare programmes which had previously attempted to improve their lot.

About the author

Andrew Hartnack holds a PhD from the University of Cape Town. He is a Director at the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation, a leading South African research and advocacy organisation.

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The Anatomy of Political Predation – a research paper by Power Politics in Zimbabwe author Michael Bratton

Power Politics in ZimbabweThe summary of a paper co-written by Michael Bratton that led to his recent publication Power Politics in Zimbabwe is available to read online at Developmental Leadership Program.

The paper, written by Bratton and Eldred Masunungure, is titled “The Anatomy of Political Predation: Leaders, Elites and Coalitions in Zimbabwe 1980 – 2010″ and is available to download DLP here.

Related stories:

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Read the summary:

The Anatomy of Political Predation: Leaders, Elites and Coalitions in Zimbabwe 1980 – 2010
January 2011
Michael Bratton & Eldred Masunungure

This essay offers an interpretation of the rise and fall of Zimbabwe’s political economy through the lens of leadership. Of special interest are the actions of elite coalitions that link political parties, the state bureaucracy, and the security sector. We argue that, in Zimbabwe, a predatory civil-military coalition – even when participating in negotiated political settlements – always placed its own political survival and welfare above broader developmental goals.

Research Questions

The paper addresses two main research questions:

(a) Why, after independence, did a ruling political elite resort more to predation than development?

(b)Why, even in the face of a current political and economic crisis, have rival elites failed to forge a common developmental coalition?

Overview of the Argument

In addressing the first question, we show that, in consolidating state power, civilian rulers and their military allies violently suppressed political opposition, engaged in corruption, and challenged the economic interests of commercial farming and business elites. In so doing, leaders undermined the institutions of the state and the rule of law.

Politically, they alienated the labor movement and civil society, which went on to form a rival opposition coalition.

Our proposed answer to the second question casts light on the limits of negotiated political settlements. At critical junctures in the country’s history – notably at independence in 1980 and
with a Global Political Agreement in 2008 – leaders accepted power-sharing arrangements that restricted their freedom of maneuver. Lacking strong leadership commitments, however, the rules underpinning these externally driven, hastily negotiated and reluctantly accepted political settlements in Zimbabwe have never taken root.

Other factors also help to explain Zimbabwe’s post-colonial trajectory:

(a) The inherited structure of a diversified economy enabled an increment of develop- ment in the early years of independence. But, by the same token, the legacy of a strong state provided ready-made instruments for repression.

(b) The political culture of militarized elite, which was forged in the crucible of a national liberation war, led rulers to feel entitled, not only to rule Zimbabwe in perpetuity, but to
seize the nation’s wealth as they saw fit. The paper takes the form of an analytic narrative organized chronologically by historical periods.

The narrative is framed in terms of key concepts of leadership: namely how elites, as agents operating within inherited structures and negotiated political settlements, form coalitions for development or predation.

The Independence Decade (1980-1989) At independence, a favorable institutional legacy and an influx of foreign aid enabled the ZANU-PF government led by Robert Mugabe to deliver development benefits to its rural political base. A constitutional settlement imposed by the departing British government and influence from white farming and business elites initially led to moderate economic policies, for instance on land reform. At the same time, the president pardoned political allies involved in corruption scandals in an early signal that that the rule of law would be sacrificed to predation. Indeed, far from concentrating on broad-based economic development, the rulers gave priority to the consolidation of state power by installing party loyalists in the armed forces, civil service and local government. As part of this process, rulers cracked down violently on nationalist rivals in Matabeleland, ultimately absorbing the leaders of PF-ZAPU into the elite coalition.

The Adjustment Decade (1990-1999)

The second decade of independence began with leaders pushing for a de jure one-party state, a move ultimately made unnecessary by ZANU-PF’s easy de facto dominance at the polls. The regime grew increasingly intolerant of dissent and ever more willing to use violence as a campaign tool. The party asserted supremacy over the state by politicizing the bureaucracy and army and turning a blind eye to rent-seeking. Yet, faced with deficits and debts, the government had little choice but to accept reforms to structurally adjust Zimbabwe’s outdated economy. Under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai, the ZCTU reacted with a series of strikes and stay-aways and, in coalition with civic associations bent on constitutional reform, formed the MDC, an opposition party. For his part, Mugabe was only able to hold together his splintering ruling coalition by using unbudgeted state resources to buy off the militant war veterans.

The Crisis Decade (2000-2008)

The millennium marked the onset of Zimbabwe’s descent into political terror and economic collapse. The turning point was a constitutional referendum, in which the opposition scored its first electoral victory. The incumbent elite struck back with land invasions, purges of judges, and the mobilization of militias. A Joint Operations Command (JOC) of security chiefs usurped key policy making functions from the Cabinet and the Reserve Bank became a slush fund for the ruling party and armed forces.

The predictable results of these ill-advised policies were economic contraction, disintegrating public services, runaway inflation, and widespread public discontent. After MDC leaders were assaulted at a peaceful rally, external actors from the Southern Africa region stepped up pressure for a political settlement. When a June 2008 presidential election – the most violent in Zimbabwe’s history – was blatantly stolen by Mugabe, SADC forced Zimbabwe’s rival elite coalitions into an awkward power-sharing settlement.

A Period of Transition (2008-present)

The Global Political Agreement (GPA) of September 2008 led to the formation of a transitional “government of national unity” (GNU) in February 2009. This new settlement was no leader’s first choice; both Mugabe and Tsvangirai entered reluctantly. On one hand, the elite accord restored a welcome modicum of peace and economic stability. On the other hand, it papered over key issues, especially how to divide executive power, manage the economy, and ensure civilian control of the armed forces. In practice, the GNU has been unable to implement the central provisions of the GPA, leading to repeated breakdowns in communication and cooperation between President and Prime Minister. The roots of the impasse lie in the Mugabe’s unwillingness to share power and resistance to political reform by senior military elements in the dominant coalition. But the divisions, inexperience and organizational weaknesses of the rival MDC coalition are also to blame.

The Way Forward?

The occurrence of a new political settlement marks a critical juncture in Zimbabwe’s political evolution. Even if flawed, the current power-sharing agreement signals a break in the monopoly of the ZANU-PF party-state and the onset of some sort of regime transition. Over time, the politics of survival have led the decadent ZANU-PF elites into an increasingly narrow coalition, which now constitutes little more than a cabal of 200 or so military and civilian leaders targeted by Western sanctions. MDC leaders appear to have less selfserving and more broadly developmental aspirations.

But the constraints of power-sharing – obstacles imposed by incumbents, a prostrate economy, and lukewarm reengagement by international donors – limit the ability of these inexperienced
leaders to blossom into a fully-fledged development coalition.

Results and Lessons

• Like developmental leaders, predatory leaders rely on elite coalitions. In the case of Zimbabwe, the top echelons of the ruling party have always been deeply fused with leaders from military and intelligence backgrounds. This legacy from the liberation war carried over into the postcolonial period.

• As governments mismanage the economy, and as patronage resources shrink, so political elites tend to coalesce around a smaller and smaller set of players. In Zimbabwe, a civil-military
coalition radiated hostility to all other sectors, including both business and labor. Over time, it contracted inwardly into the very antithesis of a developmental coalition.

• Political settlements that are externally driven by international actors, hastily negotiated under pressure of time, and reluctantly accepted by the principal parties are unlikely to prove
durable or legitimate. Such pacts may quell violence in the short run but they are unlikely to resolve the root causes of political conflict over the long term. One lesson of the Global
Political Agreement of 2008 in Zimbabwe is that power-sharing agreements imposed from above by international third parties upon unwilling domestic partners are destined for deadlock, even stalemate.

• Narrow settlements that focus on political power sharing alone are less likely to endure than comprehensive settlements that also address the stakeholders’ economic and military interests.
• In a political culture of predation, civil society organizations can sometimes reproduce the pathological characteristics of state organizations. For example, CSOs or opposition
political parties may display a founder’s syndrome, a lack of leadership accountability, and reliance of rents and patronage. In this regard, civil society is not always a viable source of an alternative developmental coalition.

• Reformers, whether external or internal, are likely to have most influence over political and developmental outcomes during critical junctures. At moments when old political regimes begin to break down, but before a new set of political rules is put in place, there is room for assertive leaders to mobilize people and resources.

• By the same token, the window of opportunity for reform usually opens only for short periods. The beneficiaries of old political and economic regimes, who are loath to abandon structures that have served them well, can be expected to mount rearguard actions to protect privileges. Unless developmental leaders act quickly and decisively, they can soon find themselves hemmed in by familiar obstacles that permit few points of leverage over outcomes.

• There is need for external actors to undertake informed political analysis in order to under- stand structural, cultural and institutional contexts and to be able to recognize both the
limits of the possible and the political opportu- nities that sometimes present themselves.

Policy Implications

In Zimbabwe in 2010, the international community should consider the following policies:

• Insist on the full implementation of the terms of the 2008 Global Political Agreement.

• Continue to offer “humanitarian plus” aid programs that help improve the conditions of life for ordinary Zimbabweans (mainly through the Multi-Donor Trust Fund and NGOs).

• Resist the temptation to back particular leaders or coalitions (i.e. picking winners) but, instead, favor the construction of rules, procedures and institutions.

• Working through the new SADC contact group – South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia – require a free and fair election and a transfer of power to the winner.

• Selectively offer support to civil society organizations, independent media, and democratic political parties that can help ensure that the next national elections are administered freely
and fairly. Help build the organizational, professional, analytical, diplomatic and advocacy skills and potentials of these prospective partners.

• Without promising unconditional amnesty to human rights abusers or corrupt predators, provide assurances to ease potential political spoilers out of power.

• Recognizing the West’s limited leverage, carefully consider the appropriate time to relax, suspend, or remove targeted sanctions on the ZANU-PF elite. Require prior compliance with a SADC roadmap for political progress toward a durable democratic settlement.

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Mugabe does not rule alone – Read an excerpt from Power Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton

Power Politics in ZimbabwePower Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton is a careful analysis of one of the most controversial presidencies in the world.

In this preeminent book on Robert Mugabe and the ZANU-PF, the author looks at the political settlements, roots of repression, colonial political settlements, the Zimbabwean period of crisis (2000-2008), the power-sharing experiment (2008-2013), and the power politics at play in the country.

Bratton, a distinguished professor of of political science and African studies at Michigan State University, also reflects on the rewriting of the constitution, improving the electoral conduct, a security-sector reform and tackling transitional justice.

The first chapter takes a look at the power politics in Zimbabwe and gives an outline of the book. US publishers Lynne Rienner, who first released this book in 2014, have made an excerpt available; giving readers the opportunity to sample the first chapter in its entirety.

Read the excerpt:

Power Politics in Zimbabwe – Excerpt

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Presenting Power Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton – the preeminent book on Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF

Power Politics in ZimbabweUKZN Press is proud to announce that Power Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton is now available:

Zimbabwe’s July 2013 election brought the country’s “inclusive” power-sharing interlude to an end and installed Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF for yet another – its seventh – term. Why? What explains the resilience of authoritarian rule in Zimbabwe?

Tracing the country’s elusive search for a legitimate political settlement across the decades, Bratton offers a careful analysis of the failed power-sharing experiment, an account of its institutional origins and an explanation of its demise. In the process, he explores key challenges of political transition: constitution making, elections, security-sector reform and transitional justice.

Compelling, thoroughly researched, and immensely informative … Power Politics will also generate a great deal of discussion among Zimbabwe specialists as they confront the lessons and implications of Bratton’s provocative analysis.

- Ngonidzashe Munemo, Perspectives on Politics

A powerful and deeply personal book about Zimbabwean politics that also yields considerable comparative insights for students of democracy in other parts of Africa … Bratton has offered us an instant classic of Zimbabwe studies, with implications reaching well beyond the borders of that troubled place.

- Pierre Englebert, Journal of Democracy

Thoughtful, well written and persuasive, this has to be the preeminent book on contemporary Zimbabwe. Highly recommended.


About the author

Michael Bratton is University Distinguished Professor of political science and African studies at Michigan State University. His numerous publications include, most recently, Voting and Democratic Citizenship in Africa and Public Opinion, Democracy, and Market Reform in Africa (with Robert Mattes and E Gyimah-Boadi).

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Erik Melander and Grace Maina Present 8 In-depth Case Studies in Peace Agreements and Durable Peace in Africa

Peace Agreements and Durable Peace in AfricaUKZN Press is proud to present Peace Agreements and Durable Peace in Africa edited by Erik Melander and Grace Maina:

Peace agreements have become necessary and legitimate tools for resolving conflicts and bringing about durable peace. This book adds to the already existing knowledge of peace agreements by carefully analysing African experiences of peace processes to identify how these can be enhanced in order to ensure positive and sustainable peace in strife-ridden areas. Case studies in eight African countries provide readers with a unique opportunity to study conflicts on the continent and to understand the factors that promote or undermine the success of peace agreements.

The agreements under study in this volume include those of Angola, Burundi, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda. The selection is based on the fact that they were finalised prior to 2005 and therefore allow for a richer analysis of their successes and shortfalls.

The eight case studies by both academics and practitioners – Osita Agbu, Kasaija Phillip Apuuli, Lesley Connolly, Gregory Mthembu-Salter, Charles Nyuykonge, Justin Pearce, Anyway Sithole, Germain Ngoie Tshibambe and Siphamandla Zondi – offer in-depth insight on peacemaking in order to identify lessons and inform better practice in articulating and implementing peace agreements in Africa.

About the Editors

Grace Maina is currently serving as a political officer in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. At the time of writing this book she was the head of the Knowledge Production Department at ACCORD.

Erik Melander is a professor in the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden.

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Richard Pithouse Reflects on the Meaning of Fees Must Fall and the Grahamstown Spring

The New South Africa at TwentyTowards the end of last month, as the #FeesMustFall student movement gained momentum and spread across university campuses in South Africa, Grahamstown experienced two watershed moments that shook its foundations to the core.

As Rhodes University students were protesting against the proposed fee increases and an exorbitant minimum initial payment (MIP) for 2016, a scourge of xenophobic violence took place as Grahamstown locals attacked migrant Muslim traders who had “come to destroy black business”.

Richard Pithouse, Politics lecturer at Rhodes and contributor to The New South Africa at Twenty: Critical Perspectives edited by Peter Vale and Estelle H Prinsloo, provides insightful analysis of the two events and what it means for the future of the town and the country.

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Everybody knows, to borrow a line from Leonard Cohen, that the deal is rotten. Everybody knows that we can’t carry on as we are. Everybody knows that Zuma can’t take us out of the morass into which we are sinking. As the student march finally got under way on one side of town the attacks on migrant Muslim traders began on the other side. Two visions of the future, both internally complex, contradictory and contested, were playing themselves out within a five-minute walk from each other.

One the one side local elites were exploiting real fears and a real crisis to advance a politics of authoritarianism and ruthless chauvinism in which their own material interests could be conflated with those of the nation. One the other side some of the brightest and best of our young people were at the centre of a project organised and sustained, although not without some strain at some points, around a set of emancipatory ideas.

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History Being Made in Real Time – Danielle Bowler Considers the #FeesMustFall Protests

UbuntuDanielle Bowler, a Mandela Rhodes Scholar and contributor to the recently released Ubuntu: Curating the Archive, has written a piece for EWN on the #FeesMustFall protests.

Bowler says the protests, which took place on campuses throughout the country, challenge the idea that the #RhodesMustFall movement at the University of Cape Town was “just about a statue”.

That protest, Bowler says, was really about the “inescapable sophisticated system of structural inequality that touches all spaces and all things”.

Read the article, in which Bowler considers the use of social media in the protests, and the comparable moments in protests happening overseas:

This is history being made in real-time, with all its characteristic messiness and conflicting narratives, struggling to become the story we tell of this moment. Distinct and different narratives have emerged on newspaper front pages and digital screens. Many have painted students as violent, called them hooligans, and referred to them using terms such as ‘marauding’. Many who valourise past student uprisings, show an ironic disdain for our generation’s own.

But this revolution will be tweeted and downloaded. Students have documented their own struggle and, along with independent news sites like The Daily Vox, are showing how skewed mainstream reportage paints a different picture to the reality on the ground. In pictures, videos and first-hand accounts, the story behind the headlines, sensational imagery, and one-sided narratives are revealed on our timelines.

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