'One chief, one vote': the revival of traditional authorities in post-apartheid South Africa

Title'One chief, one vote': the revival of traditional authorities in post-apartheid South Africa
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsW.M.J.van Kessel, and B.M. Oomen
Secondary TitleAfrican affairs
Pagination561 - 585
Date Published1997///
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, politics, South Africa

This article examines the position of traditional leaders in postapartheid South Africa. It first surveys changing perspectives of chieftaincy within the ANC and its allied movements. During the apartheid era, chiefs were maligned as puppets of bantustan rule. In ANC-related circles, it was widely assumed that chieftaincy would not survive in the postapartheid era. However, towards the end of the 1980s, chiefs were reorienting themselves towards the ANC, rightly perceived as the new ruling party-in-waiting. The ANC, for its part, had an interest in wooing chiefs to its side in order to prevent the emergence of a conservative alliance where traditional leaders could join forces with the bantustan elites. Secondly, the article describes the position of traditional authorities during the present transition period (1994-1999), and the main themes of discussion in the constitutional negotiations. It looks in some detail at the situation in the Northern Province, formerly the Northern Transvaal, visited by the authors during the local elections in November 1995. The authors show that numerous chiefs have become adept in combining the resource of tradition with appeals to Western models and the discourse of liberation politics. They conclude that the position of traditional leaders in South Africa remains thoroughly ambivalent. Notes, ref., sum

IR handle/ Full text URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1887/4702
Citation Key2267