Popular Politics in the Age of Uncertainty: Is South Africa Fast Becoming a ‘Protest Society’?

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Tawanda Sydesky NYAWASHA, University of Limpopo, South Africa
This paper addresses a central question on the nature of contemporary politics in South Africa. It examines whether the various incidences of popular resistance within South Africa provide fertile grounds for an argument that considers the events in South Africa as emblemising a ‘protest society’. I juxtapose such incidences of protest and resistance to others occurring elsewhere to argue that although the resistance in South Africa resembles those of other localities, it has its own distinctive peculiarities. The paper therefore aims at discussing the activities or resistance of the South African subaltern in comparative terms and also highlight how the South Africa case fits into the larger scheme of global political resistance. Central to this discussion will be the need to examine how popular (subaltern) resistance in South Africa is both informed by local and global currents. Essentially, the paper attempts to provide insights on why do South Africans protest and their subjective interpretations on what it means to protest. Finally, through this paper, I attempt to provide answers to why there has been a steady increase in the number of protests since 2009 and what does this increase mean in qualitative terms.