The withering away of politically salient territorial cleavages in South Africa and the emergence of watermark ethnic Federalism
MetadataShow full item record
The policy of apartheid was an attempt to territorialize the white/black racial cleavage through the creation of bantustans, confining black political aspirations to 13 percent of the country, while the remainder of the country continued under white minority dominance. This was to be done by fracturing blacks into ethnic-based territories. The failure of, and resistance to, apartheid resulted in the "constitutional moment" from 1990 to 1996 where the two major protagonists, the white minority, represented by the National Party (NP) and the African National Congress (ANC) sought to make the political salience of these manufactured territorial cleavages; they created a new narrative of a non-racial, non-ethnicity society and thereby undercut the salience of territory. This project was violently resisted by polities whose very political base lay in territory- the Afrikaner right wing and Zulu nationalises. However, the non-racial, non-ethnic narrative was dominant, although allowances were made for very limited accommodation of ethnic-based territories. After twenty-five years the unmaking of the salience of territorial cleavages has largely been successful; territorial policies based on race and ethnicity have largely withered away. Right-wing Afrikaners and Zulu nationalises' demands for an ethnic homeland have evaporated. Although ethnicity amongst the Africans has not disappeared, it is currently well catered for through a weak federal system. The non-territorial black/ white divide, manifested by the continued inequality in wealth between the two racial groups, is still the dominant cleavage, which has led to the increasing questioning of title non-territorial comprise between the ANC and the NP over the protection of property rights.