New HSRC Publications

Africa in Focus: Governance in the 21st century


Kwandiwe Kondlo and Chinenyengozi Ejiogu (eds)
Soft cover
ISBN 978-07969-2344-8


The Africa in Focus series is an initiative of the Human and Social Sciences Research Council (HSRC) that creates a forum for African scholars to frame research questions and examine critical issues affecting the African continent in the 21st century. The series should inspire robust debate to help inform the orientation of public policy in Africa.


Will Africa’s recuperative powers have dispelled the shadows of historically imposed predicaments by the end of the century? This question is at the core of this first volume in the series, in which contributors wrestle with ‘lived realities’ related to the unfolding process of democratic transformation across the African continent. The volume interrogates a range of issues: knowledge and its transformation; the need to manage natural resources; the economy viewed through the lens of actual livelihoods; other thorny challenges affecting social wellbeing in Africa and Africa’s relationship with the rest of the world. 


In the early part of this 21st century, colonial legacies continue to circumscribe many of the hopes and aspirations pinned on democracy by people of the African continent. The challenges of the African state cannot always be explained through reference to the past, and the contributors put forward strong arguments for self-reliance among African people, ethical leadership, economic democracy, the indigenisation of knowledge and institutional reform.

This seminal collection will be of interest to political scholars, students and professionals in the field of African Studies, as well as to policy-makers and public officials across the continent.

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Cleaner Energy Cooler Climate

Harald Winkler
Soft cover
ISBN 978-07969-2230-4


Energy and climate change are issues of critical importance for shaping a sustainable future, both in South Africa and globally. For South Africa, finding a policy approach which balances the increasing demand for energy with the need for sustainability, equity and climate change mitigation is a particular challenge.


This book provides an innovative and strategic approach to climate policy, with local development objectives as its starting point. Through energy modelling, indicators of sustainable development and policy analysis, Harald Winkler builds a rich and detailed case study illustrating how a development-focused approach to energy and climate policy might work in South Africa. An energy researcher, IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) author and a member of the South African delegation to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Winkler offers a nuanced examination of where the synergies and trade-offs lie, and makes clear the imperative of considering long-term implications when meeting short-term needs.


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Sectors and Skills: The need for policy alignment

Andre Kraak
Soft cover
ISBN 978-07969-2265-6
R 210.00

This study examines the skill demands of five economic clusters in South Africa: 

  • The high-tech sector – automotive, aerospace and ‘big science’ technology such as space science, nuclear energy and biotechnology;

  • The resource-based sector – metals, chemicals, wood, paper and pulp;

  • The labour-intensive sector – clothing and textiles, agro-processing and the creative, industries; 

  • The services sector – financial services, ICT and tourism; and

  •  Public infrastructure – energy and transport.

Drawing on the skills of scholars and expert consultants throughout South Africa,the findings point to highly differentiated socioeconomic conditions and divergent prospects for future growth in each sector. The analysis shows that each sector requires customised skills development strategies to meet specific sectoral conditions. This places widely diverging demands on the education and training system that, in turn, necessitate far greater levels of alignment between skills development and industrial policies.

Economic policy-makers, small business development and funding agencies, academics, development planners and human resource strategists will find this a vital esource in conceptualising and formulating new skills development strategies.

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Electric Capitalism: Recolonising Africa on the power grid

David A McDonald (ed)
Soft cover
ISBN 978-07969-2237-3

 Although Africa is the most under-supplied region of the world for electricity, its economies are utterly dependent on it. There are enormous inequalities in electricity access, with industry receiving abundant supplies of cheap power while more than 80% of the continent’s population remain off the power grid. Africa is not unique in this respect, but levels of inequality are particularly pronounced here due to the inherent unevenness of ‘electric capitalism’ on the continent.

This book provides an innovative theoretical framework for understanding electricity and capitalism in Africa, followed by a series of case studies that examine different aspects of electricity supply and consumption. The chapters focus primarily on South Africa due to its dominance in the electricity market, but there are important lessons to be learned for the continent as a whole, not least because of the aggressive expansion of South African capital into other parts of Africa to develop and control electricity. Africa is experiencing a renewed scramble for its electricity resources, conjuring up images of a recolonisation of the continent along the power grid.

Written by leading academics and activists, Electric Capitalism offers a cutting-edge, yet accessible, overview of one of the most important developments in Africa today – with direct implications for health, gender equity, environmental sustainability and socio-economic justice. From nuclear power through prepaid electricity meters to the massive dams projects taking place in central Africa, an understanding of electricity reforms on the continent helps shape our insights into development debates in Africa in particular, and the expansion of neoliberal capitalism more generally.

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