Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Interrogating the Idea of Transformation in the Resolution of Africa's Economic and Political Rises: The Possibilities and Limits in the South Africa's Situation

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Interrogating the Idea of Transformation in the Resolution of Africa's Economic and Political Rises: The Possibilities and Limits in the South Africa's Situation

Article excerpt

In South Africa the challenge of transformation

has always been pre-eminently a moral struggle.

Rooted in the fight against racial divisions

institutionalised by apartheid, this struggle

represented a profound moral quest, a lager

vision of how [South Africans] should live together

and treat one another (Johnson-Hill 1998: 2)

According to Makgoba (1997) and Seepe (1998), in the process of alienating and marginalizing African cultural heritage, the ideological designs of colonialism and the apartheid hegemony, distorted culture as a phenomenological concept. The objective of this whole exercise was to disorientate and disorganized the African personality and the programmes of self-identification, selfdetermination and self-reliance. Therefore, as a strategy to redress the consequences of the apartheid legacy in the post-1994 South Africa, the task of the socio-political and economic transformation project and nation building is to deconstruct, decenter, deideologize and dehegemonize colonial cultural imperialism and the apartheid hegemony by unapologetically creating an empowering alternative points of reference and alternative discourse.

In fact, the challenge that the socio-political and economic transformation process and nation building presents to all South Africans, especially those who use their intellectual prowess to defend and further the interest of Africa and its people [emphasis mine] (Mthembu 1999: 2), is to seek to redefine themselves as a new society, and map the future. As Mzamane (1998: 11) explains, this is expected to be pursued in a manner that will advance a patriotic national cultural identity of South Africa as an African country, and also to enhance the cultural, social and economic development of the whole society.

The Meaning and Implications of the Idea of Transformation

Makgoba (1997: 181) defines transformation as "an act or process whereby the form, shape or nature of something is completely changed or altered, a blueprint change." In support of Makgoba, with the post-1994 South Africa's situation vividly in his mind, Mbeki (1998: 43) explains the idea of transformation as a process that involves "...the termination of the conflict which is inherent to the relationship of domination on the one hand and subservience on the other."

To add, Makgoba (1997: 182) maintains that transformation process, as a strategy that has as its objective to deprogram and reconstruct a society that has had its socio-political and economic relations based on the processes of alienation and marginalization, is overarching and embraces a series of related, interlinked and interdependent themes. They are equity, governance, access, affirmative action, curricula change, effectiveness and development. These themes are complicated by race, gender and the cultural dimensions.

Related to Makgoba's assertion, Mamphela (1995: 200) points out that, an important part of any process of transformation has to be transgression of social boundaries which made sense in the past but which stand in the way of creative response to a changing environment.

In this way, as demonstrated by Mamphela, the transformation process as a socio-political and economic tool for change have as its main objective the breaking of practices and experiences that in a society impinges on the harmonious socio-political relations and interaction, between individuals and communities. Specifically, it is also about ridding South Africa of practices of the apartheid system of white minority domination that have inhibited the economic development of South Africa to its full potential.

Furthermore, against the backdrop of South Africa's past history of colonialism, apartheid legacy and control by a minority government the idea of transformation can also be explained as "a movement away from elitist control of the society to a dispensation that depends on the acceptance by a broad mass of people of the role of new governmental processes" (Togni 1996: 109). …

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