Political management of ethnic perceptions: an assessment of the African National Congress

SOURCE: African Journal on Conflict Resolution
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2007
TITLE AUTHOR(S): M.Ndletyana
KEYWORDS: AFRICA, AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS (ANC), CONFLICT RESOLUTION, ETHNICITY, PEACEKEEPING, POLITICS
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 5144

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Abstract

This paper argues that the ANC has historically followed a moderate route - embracing tradition, whilst denouncing tribalism. Yet, this did not insulate the party from accusations of ethnic bias - a perception the leadership largely left unattended. But, entry into the arena of competitive politics has imposed a slight modification on the part of the party towards pandering to ethnic sentiments, albeit not officially acknowledged. The intention is not to cultivate political tribalism in a divisive sense. Rather, it is employed to cultivate among ethnic communities, which otherwise feel marginalised, a sense of identification with the ruling party. The party itself has done well to blunt the perception of ethnic bias to a point where it lacks popular resonance. That the perception itself still exists, reflects the saliency of (politicised) ethnic consciousness among the populace owing to past apartheid machinations in service of political hegemony.