n Journal of Public Administration - Governing and who governs - the conundrum of a changing society

Volume 47, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



South Africa's post-apartheid era presents conflicting perceptions on issues of governance with regards to traditional leadership, among other things. This is a point of great concern in contemporary times especially for communities in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, which is steeped in tradition with a very strong Kingdom of the Zulu nation. The authority that was in the hands of the chiefs, in the old dispensation, is suddenly questionable. Drawing on the work of Mngadi (2006) and using Kurt Lewin's (in Robbins,1996), three step transformation model, a model that could be adopted to explain how societies behave and evolve as well as react in a transforming political context, the discussion looks at the debate concerning what it means to be a traditional leader in post-apartheid South Africa. It interrogates incompatibility between the roles of traditional leadership and that of councillors in areas formerly the sole domain of traditional leaders. It further illustrates that contemporary South African writers have as much of a significant role, as can be argued for artists throughout the world, of enlightening society on issues affecting nations at any given time. Given that issues of authority need to filter into the youth as future leaders, this article also argues that literary texts have a didactic role in enlightening the youth whose grasp of South Africa's past political history is limited. It strives to encourage stakeholders to include civil society as well as young people in matters of governance especially because the youth lack knowledge of predemocratic issues which are what inform our current history. The article moves from the premise that, in good governance, the role of actors is to ensure that the interests of citizens are prioritised above those of individuals vested with power to deliberate on matters affecting civil society.

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