Lecture, Lecture series
Lecture by Anne Heffernan (Durham University)
This paper will reflect on the seeds of populism in democratic South African politics through the lens of student and youth organizations in the 1990s. The paper explores how South African student formations that were part of the anti-apartheid struggle situated themselves during the transition to democracy (c. 1990 to 1996). It considers their orientation to the newly democratic state, led by the ANC, and to one another. In particular, by examining the reconstitution of the ANC Youth League in 1991, and its relationship to both its mother party and to other affiliated student groups (like the South African Students Congress), the paper suggests that we can trace some roots of the populism that became prevalent in the early twenty-first century to these processes. It contributes to a growing literature on the period of South African transition, which has explored elite politics and the compromises of the negotiation process, and which addresses the widespread violence that swept hostels and townships, but which has largely neglected students. Despite this neglect, understanding the process of incorporation into state structures that some student organizations underwent in the early 1990s has the potential to offer important insights into civic organization in democratic South Africa, and into its political formations into the twenty-first century.
Dr Anne Heffernan is an assistant professor in the history of Southern Africa at Durham University, in the UK, where she arrived in 2018. Prior to that she was an Andrew W. Mellon post-doctoral fellow at the History Workshop at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and she remains a research associate of the Workshop. Anne's research focuses on the role of students and young people in influencing political trends and changes in South African history, particularly during apartheid. She is especially interested in protest politics and the development of new forms of political ideology and practice.
The event will be held via Zoom. Please register at firstname.lastname@example.org
This event is part of the lecture series:
ZMO Colloquium winter semester 2020/21