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  • Author: Mashele Rapatsa x
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Student Activists or Student Anarchists? South Africa’s Contemporary Student Protests Reviewed

Abstract

Just over twenty-three years ago, the right to strike or protest received an explicit constitutional entrenchment and thus, legal protection. This would progressively empower citizens, including students, to protest against any infringement or deprivation of their rights or entitlements, and poor service delivery by any stakeholder in the institutions of learning, the government or private sector even. Today, South Africa is inundated with multiplicity of nationwide protests, most of which have been accompanied by appalling levels of violence, anarchy and criminality. Unexpectedly, students have had their share in such protests, and it could be argued, they have been an inspiration to various communities. Hence, this article proffers a critical reflection of the conduct of students during protests at the institutions of higher learning. The article seeks to understand and or explain variables that motivate students to vandalise property or antagonise those that opt to be passive or non-participants of such protests. In comparison to variables identified concerning the 1976 student protests, which were ideologically well grounded, the article attempts to describe contemporary students’ thinking towards protests and why vandalism and anarchism have become, not only conventional, but so intensely socialised. The article adopts content analysis method, and employs crowd theory and collective behaviour approach as tools of analysis. It is asserted that lack of ideological strategy underpinning South Africa’s unending revolution, which is needed to inform students’ struggles, is responsible for pervasive tendencies of vandalism and destruction of property during student protests.

Open access
‘VIPsm’, A Threat to Social Stability in South Africa: From Apartheid Exclusions to Democratized Inequalities

Abstract

The object of this article is to present a critical analysis of the impact of the notion of ‘VIPsm’, a phenomenon through which human beings are socially ‘categorized’ or ‘classed’ according to status or wealth or position being held in society. The article is predicated on South Africa’s discernible constitutional pursuit of attaining social stability and equitable social justice. This work is also considerate of the country’s known unpleasant history of apartheid’s acute race-based social exclusions, and in contrast, the post 1994 persistent social and economic inequalities which thus far proliferates material disadvantage, poverty, social discontent and protests amongst citizens. The article employed ‘Transformational Leadership theory ‘and ‘Power and Influence theories’ as tools of analysis, given that the Constitution, 1996 is transformative in nature and thus require ‘transformational leaders’ in order to achieve its major goal of burying wounds of the past, to build one unified nation that is socially stable. It is asserted that social challenges and superfluous differential treatment of humans besieging contemporary South Africa are suggestive of the presence of leadership that is self-centered, opulence driven, and has little or no regard for the poor and thus, disfavor the solidarity principle.

Open access
Ubuntu and Capabilities Approach: Basic Doctrines for Calibrating Humanitarian Action

Abstract

This article explores prospects of using Ubuntu and Capabilities Approach to expand the scope of humanitarian action, to design one which serves humanity better even in the absence of disaster to essentially fulfil human development needs. It is considerate of the fact that humanitarian works contributes immensely in determining the extent to which humanity thrives. The traditional view on humanitarianism presupposes action-driven initiatives geared towards devising interventions to restore or reinforce human social order, improve livelihoods and quality of life. In sociological terms, human development is dependent on realizing and safeguarding, amongst others, human well-being, civil liberties and social security. The article utilizes core values enshrined in Ubuntu, Africa’s historic philosophy of life, and Amartya Sen’s Capabilities Approach as tools of analysis, with the view to expressing how to operationalize what should be considered stable humanitarian conditions and human well-being. Owing to persistent socio-economic challenges, especially the poverty problem, it is asserted that humanitarian action ought to depart from being a post-disaster intervention strategy, to being a pro-active and preventative pre-disaster orientated action, intended to nurture well-being and resultantly enable human development.

Open access