koelbe and li puma on chiefs, tradition, culture and governance in post-apartheid sa


Thomas A. Koelbe and Edward Li Puma, ‘Traditional Leaders and the Culture of Governance in South Africa’, Governance 24,  1 (2011).


The global neoliberal economic and political order impregnated the emergence of democracy in South Africa. One of the hallmarks of this order is that the capacity of the state to transform society is constrained, particularly in the rural hinterlands. The incapacity of the state to extend its grip, both economically and politically, has provided traditional leaders with an opportunity to both recast themselves as intermediaries between state and society and elevate themselves to decision makers on behalf of large communities. The article examines the way in which traditional leaders have repositioned themselves in the new democracy, what their source of support is, and why the African National Congress government has come to support these efforts.

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