By Julian Kunnie
Is Apartheid Really Dead? Pan Africanist Working Class Cultural Critical Perspectives is an engaging and incisive book that radically challenges the widespread view that post-apartheid society is a liberated society, specifically for the Black working class and rural peasant populations. Julian Kunnie's central contention in this book is that the post-apartheid government was the product of a serious compromise between the former ruling white-led Nationalist Party and the African National Congress, resulting in a continuation of the erstwhile system of monopoly capitalism and racial privilege, albeit revised by the presence of a burgeoning Black political and economic elite. The result of this historic compromise is the persistent subjugation and impoverishment of the Black working class by the designs of global capital as under apartheid, this time managed by a Black elite in collaboration with the powerful white capitalist establishment in South Africa. Is Apartheid Really Dead? engages in a comprehensive analysis of the South African conflict and the negotiated settlement of apartheid rule, and explores solutions to the problematic of continued Black oppression and exploitation. Rooted in a Black Consciousness philosophical framework, unlike most other works on post-apartheid South Africa, this book provides a carefully delineated history of the South African struggle from the pre-colonial era through the present. What is additionally distinctive is the author's reference to and discussion of the Pan Africanist movement in the global struggle for Black liberation, highlighting the aftermath of the 1945 Pan African meeting in Manchester. The author analyzes the South African struggle within the context of Pan Africanism and the continent-wide movement to rid Africa of colonialism's legacy, highlighting the neo-colonial character of much of Africa's post-independence nations, arguing that South Africa has followed similar patterns. One of the attractive qualities of this book is that it discusses correctives to the perceived situation of neo-colonialism in South Africa, by delving into issues of gender oppression and the primacy of women's struggle, working class exploitation and Black worker mobilization, environmental despoliation and indigenous religio-cultural responses, and educational disenfranchisement and the need for radically new structures and policies in educational transformation. Ultimately, Is Apartheid Really Dead? postulates revolutionary change as a solution, undergirded with all of the aforementioned ingredients. While anticipating and articulating a revolutionary socialist vision for post-apartheid South Africa, this book is tempered by a realistic appraisal of the dynamics of the global economy and the legacy of colonial oppression and capitalism in South Africa.
- Boulder, CO