African Struggles Today: Social Movements Since Independence
Three leading Africa scholars investigate the social forces driving the democratic transformation of postcolonial states across southern Africa. Extensive research and interviews with civil society organizers in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, and Swaziland inform this analysis of the challenges faced by non-governmental organizations in relating both to the attendant inequality of globalization and to grassroots struggles for social justice.
Peter Dwyer is a tutor in economics at Ruskin College in Oxford.
Leo Zeilig Lecturer at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London.
one’s hands on the levers of state power. The developmental model promoted by the Comintern that was so influential across the “Third World” was also rooted in a two-stage transition to socialism, effectively postponing any political formulation that would directly address class contradictions within African societies.18 Other leaders adopted versions of “African socialism” supposedly rooted in the “unity” of pre-colonial African society, something which served to deny the expression of
disparate demands) that had begun to emerge. We describe in this chapter a convergence of forces between impoverished students, civil servants from obliterated public services, the urban poor, and the working class. These new protest coalitions indicated an African political economy transformed by the hammer blows of structural adjustment. These social movements succeeded in gaining political influence, but against retreating states that had simultaneously experienced declining state provision of
neoliberalism, “but was the aggregate of drifts” since the party’s un-banning in 1990.65 A showdown between the COSATU and the ANC government seemed inevitable. In 1997 the economy only grew by 1.7 percent, and 142,000 jobs were lost even as the labor force grew by 320,000.66 In social policy, major pieces of legislation were enacted, principally the Housing Act of 1997, which repealed apartheid housing legislation. The government began working toward its goal of building a million houses
experiences of social movement organizations and activists in Tanzania, which made parallel (but also distinct) transitions to democracy during this period. Social movements and the transition to democracy We need to challenge the myth that space for civil society to operate was only “granted” after 1991 by the new MMD [Movement for Multi-Party Democracy] government. In fact it was defended and fought for under the one-party state. This culminated in the creation of the MMD as a movement
Bush, anybody who is an enemy of Tony Blair, is a friend to the world.”25 Nkosi regarded the purpose of his presence at the WSF to be correcting this distortion and emphasizing that Mugabe’s rule stands in direct contrast to the values of the movement. Lucia Matibenga, vice president of the ZCTU, similarly argued that anticapitalist activists should support popular struggles against the ZANU-PF regime, but was keen to distance civil society from the neoliberal policies of the MDC.26 Matibenga,