n Journal for Juridical Science - Socrates and student protest in post-apartheid South Africa - Part One

Volume 40, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0258-252X



During recent years, various South African universities have fallen victim to student protest. The degree of violence involved in, as well as the frequency and duration of such protest action have varied from university to university. This article focuses on student protest action at the University of KwaZulu-Natal between 2012 and2014. It examines such protest action through the lens of Plato's text Crito, which describes the events leading up to the death of Socrates. The question at the core of this article is whether or not the opinions of the ancient Greeks - Socrates, in particular - on the issue of obedience to law are in any way useful to South African law students when considering this issue in the context of the society in which they live. The article is divided into two parts. Part One examines the attitudes of the ancient Greeks to the issue of obedience to law and highlights points of possible relevance to the politics of protest in post-apartheid South Africa. Part Two of the article examines student protests between 2012 and 2014 at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. It also analyses two competing narratives about the nature of law in post-apartheid South Africa, which may assist in explaining the intimidatory tone of much of the protest action examined.

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