One decade forward, two decades back: race & redistribution in South Africa

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One decade forward, two decades back: race & redistribution in South Africa
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Thu 5 March 2020
Thursday 5 March 2020
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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One decade forward, two decades back: race and redistribution in postapartheid South Africa

In the early 1990s, South Africa was the poster child for the revitalisation of democracy. The relatively peaceful end to formal apartheid led to a progressive and popular ANC government. Buttressed by a pathbreaking Constitution, the government seemed committed to the redistribution of power and resources and the building of a nonracial and nonsexist democracy. Twenty-five years later, the project of democracy is imperiled. The ideological framework of nonracialism that held together the ideals of egalitarianism is challenged by new forms of populist race talk. The government is barely able to deliver a range of basic services to citizens amid the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. And a fractured political opposition offers few answers. This talk addresses some of the institutional and political dilemmas of contemporary South Africa, and considers how a capable state might be built under conditions of deep mistrust and inequality.

About the speaker:

Professor Shireen Hassim is the Canada 150 Research Chair in Gender and African Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa. She has written and edited several books including No Shortcuts to Power: Women and Policymaking in Africa, and Go Home or Die Here: Violence, Xenophobia and the Politics of Difference in South Africa. Women’s Organisations and Democracy: Contesting Authority won the Victoria Shuck Award for Best Book in Women and Politics from the American Political Science Association. Her most recent book was an archival recuperation of the work of the South African sociologist, Fatima Meer. She is a Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and served as an elected member of its National Council.

'One decade forward, two decades back' is the second lecture of On the Frontlines of Democracy, a new public lecture series to analyze its prospects in the twenty-first century, organized by Professor Sanjay Ruparelia, the Jarislowsky Democracy Chair at Ryerson University.

Around the world, democracies face serious challenges, old and new. Can we protect our constitutional democracies in an era of popular mistrust, severe partisanship and resurgent nationalism? Can they reduce inequalities of power, wealth and status, defend deep diversity and confront climate change in the new digital age? And can we develop innovative strategies to revitalize civic action and empower public institutions to renew the promise of democracy?

Co-Sponsor

The Canadian International Council (CIC), Canada’s premier forum for global affairs, operates a network of 15 branches from coast-to-coast. The CIC’s national branch network empowers citizens across the country to participate in discussions and debates on important foreign policy issues.

This lecture will be recorded by CBC Radio One IDEAS.

Seating at this free event is on a first come, first served basis.

The venue is fully wheelchair accessible. Please contact accessibility@ryerson.ca, if you require any accessibility accommodations to ensure your full participation.

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