What are the questions – ideologically speaking – which drives discourse and practices in South Africa? And are these rooted in the original idea about the type of South Africa we sought to achieve?
This 45th Edition of Umrabulo applies itself to this vexing question. Under the theme “Ideological Contestation in South Africa”, we provide some thought to this issue – though not exhaustive as it is a subject matter which can be interrogated across a myriad of specific subject matters such as economics, orientation of civil society, social development, fisheries, mining, transport, governance, leadership and many more. In the spirit of Umrabulo being a political education platform which seeks to ignite debate, the intention is to encourage increased discourse beyond the pages of this edition about the issue of ideological contestations across specialised fields. And to primarily interrogate if the paths we have chosen are likely to serve us well.
To borrow from Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
“Our revolutionary scientific theory is the weapon to make us judge and define the methods of struggle correctly. That is a weapon that helps us to analyze and understand correctly the cause of development of human society at every moment, to analyze and understand correctly every turning point of society and to carry out the revolutionary transformation of society”.
In this edition Dr Abba Omar, in an article titled “Conundrum: What Must The Left Do Henceforth”, questions the state of left politics in South Africa and argues for a need to appreciate global dynamics as well as developments within our own political economy for progressive forces to remain relevant to society. Focusing the subject of ideological contestation to her specific field of law is Professor Thuli Madonsela in ”Social Justice – An Indicator In The Ideological Orientation of South Africa’s Legal Dispensation”. Consistent with the title, she explores the importance of social justice as an attitude that needs to shape the development and approach of South Africa’s jurisprudence.
Ashley Nyiko, focused on the education front, writes under the title #FeesMustFall’s Ideological Battleground Formations. Currently serving as General Secretary of the SRC at Wits University, his article unpacks the alliances and contestations which underpinned the much publicised demonstrations on access to tertriary institutions.
In “Indicators and Possibilities of Progress”, Muxo Nkondo boldly asks the question “is the ANC-led Government therefore failing?” Whilst proposing solutions, more so in relation to building a capable developmental state, Nkondo’s primary point of departure is that significant progress has been made and valuable lessons learned.
The 1954 Soviet Philosophical Dictionary states that “ideology is . . . a system of deﬁnite views, ideas, conceptions, and notions adhered to by some class or political party. [Ideology] is always a reﬂection of the economic system predominant at any given time”.
Across variant specialised fields, South Africans must be mobilised around a common popular agenda that is founded on an embracive ideological stance that is unapologetically progressive as well as transformative and whose primary object is to move the country forward.