Miniature blueprints, spider strategems : a Michael Blake retrospective at 60

Muller, Stephanus (2011)

Miniature blueprints, spider strategems : a Michael Blake retrospective at 60. The Musical Times, 152(1917):71-92.


SEVENTEEN YEARS after the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994, radical voices in the country are asking the question: to what extent does the South Africa of 2011 display more continuities than discontinuities with the apartheid state that preceded it? Writing in the Mail and Guardian of 29 April 20II, for example, New Frank Talk editor Andile Mngxitama motivated his call to boycott local government elections as follows: The past 17 years of ANC rule can not longer be defended, even by elites who have benefited so handsomely from it( ... ]. When the ANC took over in 1994 and paid allegiance to the god of capitalism it meant that old white .privileges would be maintained and a politically connected black layer would be allowed to accumulate. This is not the voice of the corrupt political populists who dominate news headlines in South Africa, but of the radical intellectual inheritors of Steve Bantu Biko's Black Consciousness. Central to this debate, as Mngxitama's argument makes clear, is the belief that the 1994 negotiated settlement was a political 'deal' designed to ensure continued white privilege (fundamentally connected to acceptance of private property ownership as the basis of white wealth) and the qualified extension of that small class of owners to black politicians and, as they are known in South Africa, 'tenderpreneurs' (i.e. young black businessmen who are politically well-connected and become overnight millionaires through government tenders). However, the date '1994' and the 'democratic miracle' connected to the release of Nelson Mandela has become so dominant discursively (not only in South Africa, but also internationally) that contemporary cultural production in South Africa has also become beholden to the myths of interpretation connected with these events.

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