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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The road to Polokwane? Politics and populism in KwaZulu-Natal
Author:Sitas, AriISNI
Periodical:Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
African National Congress (South Africa)
External link:https://muse.jhu.edu/article/258708
Abstract:There is a sense in the popular imagination that there is something different, unsubordinate and robust about KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). However, the much publicized Zulu-ness is not so much a primordial uniqueness as a new construction, coinciding with the unfolding political drama in the province, which is about the ANC emerging as a clear winner through the ballot box. At local level a grassroots populism has been growing, capturing grassroots discontent and resentment at the simultaneous growth of opportunities and inequality. The emergent populism involves a clear shift in language from the popular-democratic past to populism with serious authoritarian undertones. This shift in language is not due to a primordial return to 'traditionalism' but rather a direct consequence of rapid democratization and a dramatic horizontal spread of the mass base of the ANC in the province concomitant with the new Local Authority legislation, the loss of sway of popular-democratic and socialist leaderships in the spaces created, and the absence of a 'corps of cadres' who can 'stay the course'. There is intense competition for votes and access by the ANC and Inkatha, punctuated by rising greed and need. African working class people are responding to a social crisis unfolding around them by 'uploading' hope and leadership to an 'authoritative other'. Jacob Zuma has stepped into that role as if his entire life was designed for it. [ASC Leiden abstract]