South Africa: Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy (Africa Now)

On paper, post-apartheid South Africa is a smoothly functioning liberal democracy, with regular elections, multiple political parties, and a range of progressive social rights. And in a certain sense, that’s not untrue. Nonetheless, a darker reality lurks in the background: an all-too-pervasive politics of the extraordinary, where the political discourse relies on threats and violence, and conflicts are presented in starkly racial terms.

In this book, Thiven Reddy exposes that other South Africa, showing how conventional approaches to understanding democratization in the nation have failed to capture the complexities of the post-apartheid transition. She draws clear lines between the troubling legacies of imperialism and the problems in today’s South Africa, showing how lingering modes of imperialist domination continue to shape both capitalism and individual identity. A powerful, revealing work, Reddy’s book will change the way that both political scientists and citizens think about contemporary South Africa.