Thursday, 24 May 2012

Thought Amidst Waste

Presented by Richard Pithouse, WISER

Monday, 28 May, 2012 - 15:00

Achille Mbembe argues that the rendering of human beings as waste by the interface of racism and capitalism in South Africa means that “for the democratic project to have any future at all, it should necessarily take the form of a conscious attempt to retrieve life and 'the human' from a history of waste”. This paper notes that people who have been rendered as waste in South Africa have often contested their position as the damned of the transition to parliamentary democracy by asserting their humanity, in principle and in practice. But it argues that some approaches to defending democracy in South Africa against growing hostility to democratic values and practices from within the ruling party are taking the form of an active reinscription of the rendering of people as waste. It suggests that we need to question the nature of our democracy rather than the demand for inclusion.

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