Freedom Day

Africa is a Country (Old Site)

Guest Post by Duane Jethro*

Today marks the 19th anniversary of Freedom Day in South Africa. It is an occasion to reflect on the recent and distant past. This is significant because in recent weeks the past has re-emerged as a category of political and public debate. Here, the past refers to the recent 20th century past, the past of Apartheid. That said, the past never really wanes out of public discourse as the question of understanding the present socio-political conditions in South Africa are always hooked onto some historical reference. And it is Nelson Mandela, the symbol and referent of one transition from that past, that has come to be the focus of these recent debates about the qualitative substance of that past. In this brief post, however, I would like to reflect on the ways in which Mandela’s image as a referent of that past has been appropriated…

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