Melancholia in the Time of the “African Personality”
This concluding chapter reflects on how much of the situation described in the book may have wider applicability across community, location, and class in South Africa. It also speculates briefly on how Jacob Zuma's presidency is altering predominant styles of politics and public culture toward a more ordinary, imperfect, but also culturally intimate style of political performance that may lead to naked majoritarianism but that also may prove hospitable to the country's many minorities. A combination of cautious hope, cynicism, and nostalgic fantasies of an authentic, wholesome, or meaningful past seems to define South Africa in 2011. The key question is whether—and how—a new, inclusive, but also less heroic form of public culture may develop that can address the many glaring inequalities in the country.
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