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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Weight of History and the Prospects for Democratisation in the Republic of South Africa
Author:Freund, Bill
Periodical:Afrika Zamani: revue annuelle d'histoire africaine = Annual Journal of African History (ISSN 0850-3079)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:South Africa
Southern Africa
History and Exploration
Politics and Government
Ethnic and Race Relations
History, Archaeology
Political development
Abstract:It is crucial to consider and define democracy at a much deeper level than simply the presence of certain formal institutions and procedures. This paper considers democracy also at the level of political culture and history, in the context of South Africa. The South African process of democratization is by no means assured or entirely clear. What is clear is that the new regime which will be formed after the elections scheduled for April 1994 will be the result of a major historic compromise that will definitely limit the transformation of South African society. South African political history has thrown up several distinct democratic traditions. All are at present in some disarray in the current transitional period. The radical popular currents of the mass resistance of the past twenty years are increasingly being swallowed up or marginalized as the ANC approaches State power. The ANC itself, through its drive for power and its need for compromise (and its limited experience at securing policy aims), will find it difficult to press forward with a nation-building project. The classic institutions of civil society that have been developed within the bosom of a bounded white society are now becoming delegitimated because of their racist associations. The real challenge for the construction of democracy at the political level will be to find some way of uniting these strands in an effective and coherent way. Bibliogr.