Cover image for Contemporary South Africa
Contemporary South Africa
Butler, Anthony, 1964-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
Physical Description:
xii, 187 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
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DT1975 .B87 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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An introduction to the emerging patterns of economic, social and political life in South Africa today set in the context of the dramatic transition from apartheid state to majority rule and of South Africa's emerging role both in sub-Saharan Africa and on a wider global stage.

Author Notes

Anthony Butler is Associate Professor of Political Studies, University of Cape Town

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This smart little text conveys a great deal of knowledge and understanding without an abundance of words. The "contemporary" of the title means just that, with the apartheid experience meriting but a spare handful of pages, and the remainder being devoted to the economy, social structure, and government and political life of modern South Africa. There is a short chapter on the realm of ideas and another brief but apt one on South Africa's relations with the rest of the world. Butler (political studies, Univ. of Cape Town) is forthright in assessing the significant dangers of African National Congress electoral dominance and the resulting poor-quality government. He says nothing about leadership, capable or deficient, and nothing of importance about South Africa's failure to discipline Zimbabwe. The immensity of South Africa's HIV/AIDS crisis is not given its appropriate due by Butler, nor does he deal at any length with the thorny subject of President Thabo Mbeki's many controversial policy decisions. The corrosive impact of corruption is alluded to, but definitive assessments are avoided. Nevertheless, this is a very palatable and informative introduction to South Africa. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. R. I. Rotberg Harvard University

Table of Contents

List of Tables, Figure, Maps and Boxesp. x
Prefacep. xii
Introductionp. 1
1 Historical Contextp. 5
South Africa before 1870p. 5
The creation of the state, 1870-1910p. 11
Segregation and early apartheid, 1910-60p. 13
The rise and fall of high apartheidp. 19
Explaining South Africa's 'transition to democracy'p. 22
Conclusionsp. 27
2 A Rainbow Nationp. 29
The entrenchment of apartness under apartheidp. 31
Strength from diversity?p. 32
The diversity of the provincesp. 38
Conclusionsp. 44
3 The South African Economyp. 47
Introductionp. 47
Output and expenditurep. 47
Economic policy frameworkp. 50
Trade and internationalizationp. 53
Investment flowsp. 54
Public and private sectorsp. 56
Selected sectors of the economyp. 57
Labour relationsp. 61
Challengesp. 62
4 Social Structure and Social Policyp. 65
Human development in South Africap. 65
Explaining inequalityp. 68
Addressing Poverty and Inequalityp. 70
Employment policyp. 70
Social welfare policyp. 73
Public services and social infrastructurep. 74
Education policyp. 80
Women and disadvantagep. 82
Towards a more equal future?p. 84
5 Governmentp. 86
The making of a constitutional settlementp. 86
Political authority under the new constitutionp. 90
The executivep. 92
The legislaturep. 95
The judiciaryp. 96
The national spherep. 98
Provincial governmentp. 99
Local governmentp. 101
Conclusionsp. 104
6 Political Lifep. 105
Electoral systemp. 105
The electoratep. 106
Party support and political partiesp. 107
Opposition partiesp. 110
Interest and pressure groupsp. 112
The implications of one-party dominancep. 116
Holding a dominant party to accountp. 120
Internal pluralismp. 122
External and economic limits to poor governmentp. 126
Conclusionsp. 128
7 Culture, Ideas, and Issuesp. 130
Professional cultural productionp. 130
The culture of everyday life: urbanization and suburbanizationp. 134
Ideasp. 138
Issuesp. 140
8 South Africa and the Worldp. 147
Modern South African international relationsp. 148
Foreign and defence policy under Mandelap. 153
Rethinking foreign policy for the twenty-first centuryp. 156
The African Union and NEPADp. 158
Mechanisms for foreign policy makingp. 160
9 South Africa in the Twenty-first Centuryp. 163
The economy, human development, and welfarep. 163
Reconciliation, nation-building, and democracyp. 165
Recommended Readingp. 167
South Africa on the Internetp. 169
Bibliographyp. 170
Indexp. 177