The fifteen years from 1994 to 2009 have seen unprecedented change in the Republic of South Africa. The contributors to Searching for South Africa set out to test the legitimacy and utility of this general consensus. The authors actively refuse to travel the path of transition. Instead, they write from the articulatory cauldron of the current social movements in South Africa to seek something better, as well as something other, than a language of transition. With intense and speculative critiques of sites of struggle, the essays range in focus from the campaigns of outsourced workers at the University of Cape Town to the 'informal high school' Masiphumelele in the Mandela Park section of Khayelitsha; from the Anti-Eviction Campaign to the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee; from the Anti-Privatisation Forum to the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the African National Congress. In each instance, the authors attempt to trace the new calculus of dignity among the indignant social majority. Searching for South Africa takes seriously a critique and critical reflection of knowledge production as writing in and on social movements in South Africa.
It raises critical questions on the economies of knowledge. Who gets to say what, why, where and how? Who represents whom, why, where and how? In raising these questions, the authors attempt to understand individual and collective issues of representation, marginalisation and omission. Searching for South Africa articulates a struggle that is always a struggle with struggle itself - as a concept, as a phenomenon, as an event, and as a process. The essays function as part analysis, part manual, part manifesto. Each essay celebrates the real and manifest capacity of South African masses to value their own lived time through an assertion of agency. Another form of resistance is possible!
Shereen Essof is a feminist activist who worked at the Zimbabwe Women's Resource Centre and Network in Harare for close to six years. She studied at the African Gender Institute (AGI), University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa, and subsequently worked on their Strengthening Gender and Women's Studies on the African Continent Programme and serving as an editorial member on Feminist Africa. Daniel Moshenberg, Director of the Women's Studies Program at the George Washington University and co-convenor of Women In and Beyond the Global, has taught and conducted research at the Centre for Adult and Continuing Education, University of the Western Cape, and at the Centre for Higher Education Development, University of Cape Town. He is a founding member of the Tenants and Workers United of Northern Virginia.
Introduction: searching for South Africa; Nothing must ever be bigger than our dreams; A report and comment on worker organising at the University of Cape Town; Race and resistance in post-apartheid South Africa; 'There is no middle ground!'; Masiphumelele: Making the ordinary endure on the outskirts of Cape Town; Women's struggle during this democratic government; Daalah Cape flets: Hip-hop, resistance and hope; Viva revolution!; 'Looking back moving forward: Legacies of struggle and the challenges facing the new social movements'; Fairytale violence or Sondheim on solidarity, from Karnataka to Kennedy Road.