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South African homelands as frontiers: apartheid’s loose ends in the postcolonial era.
Type of publication
Zenker Olaf , Jensen Steffen,
Land restitution and the moral modernity of the new South African state
This book explores what happened to the homelands – in many ways the ultimate apartheid disgrace – after the fall of apartheid. The nine chapters contribute to understanding the multiple configurations that currently exist in areas formerly declared "homelands" or "Bantustans". Using the concept of frontier zones, the homelands emerge as areas in which the future of the South African postcolony is being renegotiated, contested and remade with hyper-real intensity. This is so because the many fault lines left over from apartheid (its loose ends, so to speak) – between white and black; between different ethnicities; between rich and poor; or differentiated by gender, generation and nationality; between "traditions" and "modernities" or between wilderness and human habitation – are particularly acute and condensed in these so-called "communal areas". Hence, the book argues that it is particularly in these settings that the postcolonial promise of liberation and freedom must face its test. As such, the book offers highly nuanced and richly detailed analyses that go to the heart of the diverse dilemmas of post-apartheid South Africa as a whole, but simultaneously also provides in condensed form an extended case study on the predicaments of African postcoloniality in general. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Southern African Studies.