Violence, Inequality and Transformation: Apartheid Survivors on South Africa's Ongoing Transition

Jasmina Brankovic, Brian Mphahlele, Sindiswa Nunu, Agnes Ngxukuma, Nompumelelo Njana, Yanelisa Sishuba
Content Type
Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
Despite its lauded political transition in 1994, South Africa continues to have among the highest levels of violence and inequality in the world. Organised survivors of apartheid violations have long maintained that we cannot adequately address violence in the country, let alone achieve full democracy, without addressing inequality. This book is built around extensive quotes from members of Khulumani Support Group, the apartheid survivors' social movement, and young people growing up in Khulumani families. It shows how these survivors, who bridge the past and the present through their activism, understand and respond to socioeconomic drivers of violence. Pointing to the continuities between apartheid oppression and post-apartheid marginalisation in everyday life, the narratives detail ways in which the democratic dispensation has strengthened barriers to social transformation and helped enable violence. They also present strategies for effecting change through collaboration, dialogue and mutual training and through partnerships with diverse stakeholders that build on local-level knowledge and community-based initiatives. The lens of violence offers new and manageable ways to think about reducing inequality, while the lens of inequality shows that violence is a complex web of causes, pathways and effects that requires a big-picture approach to unravel. The survivors' narratives suggest innovative strategies for promoting a just transition through people-driven transformation that go well beyond the constraints of South Africa's transitional justice practice to date. A result of participatory research conducted in collaboration with and by Khulumani members, this open-access book will be of interest to activists, students, researchers and and policy makers working on issues of transitional justice, inequality and violence.
Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Apartheid, Peacekeeping, Transitional Justice, Peace, Justice, Community, Marginalization
Political Geography
Africa, South Africa