Revisiting National Democratic Revolution: “the national question”

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Seminar Date
May 11, 2011
This work is part of a larger study of the KwaZuma (Zumaland) political era as well as a rethinking of previous positions held on National Democratic Revolution or NDR by the ANC. What is said is essentially provisional, tentative and couched in qualified, yet developing terms. ‘Victory’ is not ‘certain’, contrary to a well-known struggle slogan, which may have served its purpose by inspiring in times of doubt. Also, what victory entails is no longer as clear within this national liberation movement as may have been the case when one single ‘army’ marched against apartheid. While taking stock of what have been various understandings, the paper revisits NDR, the strategy and part of the theory of change developed by the ANC and its allies, concentrating on the national element. In so doing it focuses on the tendency to represent the liberation movement as ‘standing in’ for the nation, tendencies towards masculinisation, heterosexism, militarism and other factors in discourse and practice that have been manifested. It evaluates notions like the nation, the unity it is said to comprise and contemporary concepts like social cohesion. None of this is intended to suggest that there is an irreversible course that denies empowerment, but insofar as tendencies and not inevitabilities are highlighted, these can be reversed or gradually modified towards emancipatory outcomes.
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