Understanding culture and rights in South Africa today: moving beyond racial hegemony in national identity

OUTPUT TYPE: Conference or seminar papers
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2005
TITLE AUTHOR(S): K.A.Bentley
KEYWORDS: CULTURAL DIVERSITY, CULTURE, HUMAN RIGHTS, POST APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 3515

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Abstract

What this document is concerned with therefore, is national identity, which its author proclaims to be the central political question of our time. The document then goes on to argue, however, that the National Question in South Africa is principally about liberation of the African people. What it is not about is the rights of minorities or ethnically motivated grievances. At its most basic level, this document therefore conflates race with culture, and foregrounds the interests of the demographic majority. The paper outlines some of the legal instruments and theoretical concepts underlying the notion of the communal rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities in South Africa, and situates them within the global debate on multiculturalism and conflicts of rights. It then seeks to identify some of the possible areas of conflict related to these rights, and to question whether our response to them, to date, has been adequate.