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Ebenezer Obadare, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Kansas,Wendy Willems, Lecturer in Media, Communication and Development in the LSE Department of Media and Communications
The political and economic compromises to which the African National Congress (ANC) agreed during the settlement negotiations had an effect that saw enormous marginalisation of the poor majority of Africans in South Africa. This state of massive marginalisation presented a scenario which suggested that the excluded constituencies have been deprived of a critical vocabulary with which to challenge the new ANC-led government, save for the independent activism of new social movements such as the Anti-Privatisation Forum, the Treatment Action Campaign, the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee and other social movements that have been active during the mid-1990s (Rosenthal 2010; Dawson 2010). During this period, the absence of criticism from the masses conveniently made invisible, temporarily, historical contingencies which have been masked by the ANC-led alliance government's endeavour to create an amorphous race-less state, and its push for a host of hegemonic policies that lobbied for the new rainbow nationalism. Since the nationalist agenda of the ruling party has subsumed most voices of dissent and stripped the subaltern and the non-aligned groups of their vocality, popular cultural terrains emerged as sites where everyday struggles between dominant and subordinate groups were to be played out.
This chapter considers two such popular sites of post-1994 politics: political laughter by South African comedians and serious political commentary by intellectual political analysts. In particular, the chapter will interrogate, compare and contrast Eugene Khoza's political laughter and Andile Mngxitama's political commentary.
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