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Despite the transition from apartheid to democracy, South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. Its extremes of wealth and poverty undermine intensifying struggles for a better life for all. The wide-ranging essays in this sixth volume of the New South African Review demonstrate how the consequences of inequality extend throughout society and the political economy, crippling the quest for social justice, polarising the politics, skewing economic outcomes and bringing devastating environmental consequences in their wake. Contributors survey the extent and consequences of inequality across fields as diverse as education, disability, agrarian reform, nuclear geography and small towns, and tackle some of the most difficult social, political and economic issues. How has the quest for greater equality affected progressive political discourse? How has inequality reproduced itself, despite best intentions in social policy, to the detriment of the poor and the historically disadvantaged? How have shifts in mining and the financialisation of the economy reshaped the contours of inequality? How does inequality reach into the daily social life of South Africans, and shape the way in which they interact? How does the extent and shape of inequality in South Africa compare with that of other major countries of the global South which themselves are notorious for their extremes of wealth and poverty? South African extremes of inequality reflect increasing inequality globally, and The Crisis of Inequality will speak to all those – general readers, policy makers, researchers and students – who are demanding a more equal world.
This fifth volume in the New South African Review series takes as its starting point the shock wave emanating from the events at Marikana on 16 August 2012 and how it has reverberated throughout politics and society. Some of the chapters in the volume refer directly to Marikana. In others, the infl uence of that fateful day is pervasive if not direct. Marikana has, for instance, made us look differently at the police and at how order is imposed on society. Monique Marks and David Bruce write that the massacre ‘has come to hold a central place in the analysis of policing, and broader political events since 2012’.The chapters highlight a range of current concerns – political, economic and social. David Dickinson’s chapter looks at the life of the poor in a township from within. In contrast, the chapter on foreign policy by Garth le Pere analyses South Africa’s approach to international relations in the Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma eras. Anthony Turton’s account, ‘When gold mining ends’ is a chilling forecast of an impending environmental catastrophe. Both Devan Pillay and Noor Nieftagodien focus attention on the left and, in different ways, ascribe its rise to a new politics in the wake of Marikana.The essays in NSAR 5: Beyond Marikana present a range of topics and perspectives of interest to general readers, but the book will also be a useful work of reference for students and researchers.
Beyond Marikana, the fifth edition of the New South African Review, continues to present informed, scholarly discussion and debate about key issues animating the South African experience. Produced between January 2014 and May 2015, this particular volume was shaped largely around the contention that there are significant political shifts underway in South Africa today, with several chapters tracing their fault lines to the 2012 massacre by police of striking mineworkers in a place called Marikana.
Although the third volume in the New South African Review series offered an analysis and critique of the various forces immediately implicated in the tragedy associated with Marikana, it could not have anticipated the kinds of political ructions that we have since witnessed, especially from within different parts of the African National Congress (ANC) Alliance. The fifth volume once again, then, consciously draws attention to Marikana, but this time asking what its effects and affects have been, and why it has had such an impact. In this way, Marikana becomes the starting point for a much broader discussion and debate about the potential for new political alliances and forms to emerge in the current context, a discussion that resonates globally in the wake of the political experiments of movements, such as Occupy Tahrir, Occupy Wall Street and the Spanish Indignados, and will hopefully continue in editions to come.
New South African Review 5 also offers close analyses of contemporary developments with regard to other aspects of, and issues affecting, South African society – including corruption, the economy, the Constitution, and uranium poisoning as a by-product of the mining industry.
This volume would not have been possible without the generosity of all its authors, to whom we are extremely grateful. Thanks must also go to the team at Wits University Press who continue to provide excellent guidance, assistance, skill and support to us as editors, and ensure that there is a final product for us to share. Particular thanks to the Dean of Humanities, Professor Ruksana Osman; Head of the School of Social Studies, Professor Shahid Vawda; and the Strategic Planning and Allocation of Resources Committee (Sparc) Fund for their ongoing support of the New South African Review.