Who are the tribes

Is South Africa fighting a tribal war?

Tribalism is nothing in new in South Africa. The legendary battles between Xhosa and Zulu’s fills history books. Apartheid reinforced its boundaries and the national government used it politically. Its present in the haunted landscapes of the eastern cape and the music of KZN Natal. It was silenced during the struggle for freedom by common interested asnd socialiast policies and sidelined by nationalist propoganda after democracy. Nearly two decades later the dream of a unified nation is over and the tribes are again divided.

We explore the unspoken tribal war currently playing its out in South Africa politics, culture asnd society. From Mbeki’s alledged ‘Xhosa-nostra’ to curent ‘Zulufication’ under Zuma and Mandela’s recent “tribalist” “coming-out”. From the conflict between tribalism and modernism to the tension between generations. From battles in the ANC’s internal provincial, regional and branch elections to ‘ethnic’ factions at national gatherings. From truiibal division in the private sector to land battles in which places are divided and sub-divided in a complex web of overlapping patterns of ‘ownership’, ‘sacredness’, ‘historic interest’ etc. From initiation ceremonies to club dance floors. From boxing to stick fighting. And from music to food and fashion. Basically a war story in which a complicated, ever-shifting set of issues, mindsets, and reckonings with history, are put into play at the public level but also at the personal level, in daily interactions, and in manners conscious and unconscious.

 

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