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Jacana

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Julian Brown argues for the positives of disruption in South Africa’s Insurgent Citizens

South Africa's Insurgent CitizensBusiness Day has shared an excerpt from South Africa’s Insurgent Citizens: On Dissent and the Possibility of Politics by Julian Brown.

In his book Brown, who teaches Political Studies at Wits University, counters the political despair that is prevalent in South Africa at the moment, arguing that “politics is alive and well – if you know where to look”.

According to Brown, there is a “new kind of politics” developing on the streets and in the courtrooms of the country, made by a new type of citizen, an “insurgent citizen”.

Read the excerpt:

THERE is one story everybody knows about SA: how the violent struggle against apartheid gave way to concessions, discussions and negotiations at the end of the 20th century, and how the leadership of Nelson Mandela and others brought about the “miracle” of a peaceful post-colonial transition.

It is a story of how a civil war was averted and how a social consensus was built around a political project — the making of a “New SA”.

It is an unsurprisingly popular story. It has been told and retold in one medium after another. It can be found in textbooks and scholarly books; in the memoirs and autobiographies of SA’s leaders; and in biopics of politicians or famous sportsmen.

It is also a dated story. Apartheid ended in 1994: its political institutions were dismantled and politics changed. And yet, two decades later, SA is once again in flux — caught in a moment in which the boundaries of politics and society are unstable and liable to change without notice.

Book details

 

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