Youth and Identity Politics in South Africa, 1990-94
Published: February 2005© 2005
260 Pages, 6.22 x 9.29 x 0.94 in
Documenting youth participation in the South African anti-apartheid struggle, Youth and Identity Politics in South Africa examines identity construction and negotiation in the region of KwaZulu/Natal. Based on extensive interviews, Sibusisiwe Nombuso Dlamini presents life stories of survival and identity negotiation in a region and at a time where to be youthful and politically active was to be associated with membership in Nelson Mandela's African National Congress a potentially dangerous association.
Zulus are far from being an homogenous group. Dlamini examines the dynamics both of group identification that of being a young Zulu and of the differences, both class and regional. Further, she looks at the discourses of participation in the liberation struggle, and how these discourses intersect with KwaZulu/Natal identity and party politics. Youth and Identity Politics in South Africa shows how the youth identify variously as fans of jazz or hip-hop who espouse a none-racial national character, as athletes who feel a strong connection to traditional Zulu patriarchy, or in many other social and political subcultures. This is a rich and unprecedented youth-centred ethnography that paints a unique picture of the lives of South African youth.
‘This is a highly readable book that makes a significant contribution to social anthropology. As an anthropologist, it was stimulating for me to read an ethnography centred in South Africa that was able to convey the seriousness of the political context, while at the same time bringing the human face of this to the fore. Its ethnographic detail is perhaps one of its finest aspects along with Dlamini’s generous descriptions of her role in the wider community. This is an important work that elucidates a rather muddy and neglected area of South African history that could have only been written by someone from the community.’Robin Oakley, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University