Mayibuye iAfrika? : disjunctive inclusions and black strivings for constitution and belonging in 'South Africa'

Madlingozi, Tshepo (2018) Mayibuye iAfrika? : disjunctive inclusions and black strivings for constitution and belonging in 'South Africa'. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

With a focus on South Africa, I employ the phenomenological approach from an African perspective to analyse strivings for constitution (to constitute an inclusive polity, and etymologically, constare ‘to stand together’) and belonging (affectively and materially). In this postcolony, these strivings can be discerned in perennial protests by impoverished black communities for an inclusive democracy and for social goods; in contestations around land redistribution and against institutionalised forms of social ‘invisibilisation;’ and in calls for the valorisation of life-worlds different from the western. I contend that these strivings should be understood from the perspective that settler colonial constitution-making processes presaged “death of the land” (ilizwe lifile); that is, the shattering of the socio-cultural worlds of indigenous peoples. The outcomes of this processes were ‘native’ pariahdom, homelessness and worldlessness. Accordingly, the original impulse of anti-colonial struggles was Mayibuye iAfrika (‘Return’/‘Re-member’/ ‘Resurrect’ Africa). My two-fold thesis is, firstly, that perennial protests by marginalised communities are impelled by the fact that post-1994 constitutional re-arrangements did not rise to the decolonisation challenge of re-membering the land/world. These re-arrangements have thus perpetuated homelessness, pariahdom and worldlessness. Secondly, I demonstrate that the cause of this failure is partially the fact that ruling party elites - who were beneficiaries of partial inclusion into the settler-constituted polity - failed to overcome their liminal-status induced conditions of double consciousness and racial melancholia. The result is that they elaborated terms of constitution and belonging whose eventual outcomes are, on the one hand, assimilation of ‘native’ elites into the white-dominated world, and on the other, continuing pariahdom and worldlessness for the majority. In Part I, I show that South African anti-colonial leaders based their vision of constitution and belonging on W.E.B. Du Bois seminal manifesto for how people of African descent could achieve liberation and world-reclamation. I argue that this manifesto leads to elite nationalism, a dearth of national consciousness and that it ultimately perpetuates the inherited world of apartness. The main insight from this Part is that quests for post-colonial constitution-making ought to be geared towards re-membering and (re)constituting the historically-colonised world on spiritual, social and material planes – the three realms of African belonging in the world. In Part II, I propose decolonising constitution-making processes centered on politics of Mayibuye understood here as creolising homemaking and re-membering of the world. I do this by advancing Es’kia Mphahlele, Steve Biko and Abahlali baseMjondolo’s interconnected praxes of Afrikan humanness, Black Consciousness and Abahlalism. I contend that these praxes are faithful to the Mayibuye exigency because they, respectively and together, propose ways of re-membering the triadic world and of (re)constituting an all-inclusive polity based on African humanness.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Law
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2019 15:49
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2019 15:49
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/367

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