Issue 115, April 2013

Between Adolescence and Anger: The ‘new’ South Africa nears Twenty

This issue features prominent South African political theorists, sociologists, and public figures. It contains an interview with the late Jakes Gerwel – statesman, academic, activist – and several penetrating and insightful papers. The authors explore issues of race, gender, politics, culture, and arts in past and present South Africa, and collectively pose the question of ‘where to?’ in the frame of ‘what has been.’ Peter Vale, guest coordinating editor of this issue, writes in his introduction, ‘Adolescence and Anger’:

In important ways South Africa present resembles its unhappy past – and this destiny, alas, seems to be the promise of its future. For all who work in social theory, this says something about our work – about the questions we ask, the answers we offer and about the discourses that shape the everyday understandings of politics and society. If, even fleetingly, we thought we knew what would happen in South Africa, we certainly didn’t…as the country approaches its twentieth year of democratic rule, in 2014, we can only say for certain that it stands between anger and adolescence.

This young democracy is intensely complex, and faces accumulating troubles:

However rich – and richly-argued – the essays in this collection of T-11 are, they offer only a peek under the covers of a country which is fecund with social thought and social problems. Old ways of doing things have failed: in their place, ironically, new understandings and the proverbial ‘quick fix’ of neo-liberalism may have deepened the sense of alienation experienced by majority the country’s people. Moreover, and most worrying, the quick fix seem to have failed to produce a new generation that seems equipped to deal with its manifold problems.


Browsing the pages of this issue will allow the reader ‘a peek under the covers’ of South Africa – in its particular history, but also as a “microcosm of a world unable – perhaps unwilling – to deal with old social pathologies like race, class, and nationalism or newer ones like the environment, or gender relations, or a post-capitalist world” (Peter Vale, pp.4-6).

Table of Contents:

Adolescence and Anger.

Peter Vale

 Living out our differences: Reflections on Mandela, Marx and My Country. An Interview with Jakes Gerwel

John Higgins

Marxisms Past and Present.

Kirk Helliker and Peter Vale  

 The cradle to the grave: Reflections on race thinking.

Gerhard Maré

The ANC Youth League and the Politicisation of Race.

Deborah Posel

Uneasy Relations: Women, gender equality and tradition.

Cherryl Walker

Conjunctural Remarks on the Political Significance of “the Local”.

Richard Pithouse

The Political Economy of Pervasive Rent Seeking.

Raphael de Kadt and Charles Simkins

Art and Culture: The Present Future.

Sandra Klopper

All at Sage

3 thoughts on “Issue 115, April 2013

  1. Pingback: Micheal Todd at Pacific Standard on Jakes Gerwel and Nelson Mandela | thesis eleven

  2. Pingback: Julie Hare at The Australian Higher Education Supplement | thesis eleven

  3. Pingback: The doors of learning and culture … » AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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