As Hong Kong experiences unprecedented political and social upheavals, we invite speakers who can shed light on other societies which have faced similar challenges. Putting Hong Kong in global perspectives may inspire comparative research, theoretical and historical reflections, as well as public discussions on our collective future.
Lecture 2: Strategies in the Struggle against Apartheid Authoritarianism in South Africa
Speaker: Prof. Janet CHERRY, Head of Department, Development Studies, Nelson Mandela University
Date & Time: 28 Oct 2020 4PM (HKT) / 28th OCT 2020 10AM (South Africa Standard Time)
(30 mins presentation + 30mins Q&A section)
Format: Zoom Webinar
Abstract: At the beginning of the 1980s, the prospects for a democratic transition in South Africa seemed remote. Nelson Mandela was in prison and the Apartheid state was a sophisticated authoritarian regime, combining limited reforms with an increasingly militarised security state. However, over the course of the decade, a powerful mass movement emerged which combined in 1983 to form the United Democratic Front. This movement engaged in a sustained strategy to render the apartheid state illegitimate, and ultimately led to the negotiations which resulted in the transition to a single, non-racial, secular and democratic state. In this paper, Professor Cherry, who was herself an activist in this movement throughout the decade of the 1980s, explores the strategy and tactics of the movement, including the ways in which the movement coped with the repressive measures of the authoritarian Apartheid regime.
About the Speaker
Janet Cherry is a South African social justice activist and academic. She is currently Professor and Head of the Department of Development Studies at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. She has a PhD in political sociology from Rhodes University. Her main areas of research are sustainable development, political economy of development, democratic participation and social and political history. She has published two books as well as a number of articles and chapters in books on South African history, labour, women’s and social movements, transitional justice and sustainable development.