n Journal of Public Administration - An Afrocentric narrative of the chieftaincy disputes in South Africa with special reference to Mametja and Malepe traditional councils

Volume 54 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767


The subject of chieftaincy in post-apartheid South Africa and post-independence Africa has been a hotbed for both practitioners and scholars coming from Public Affairs and other cognate academic disciplines. It is on this basis that there exists a polarised body of knowledge about the practice and processes of this institution of traditional leadership in Africa, and South Africa in particular. Above all, the silenced Afrocentric perspective about chieftaincy in South Africa has resulted in its partial understanding by members of the public, scholars and practitioners. Using Afrocentricity as an alternative theoretical lens, the current paper seeks to use the ongoing feud between Mametja and Malepe traditional councils in the rural Province of Limpopo as a test case to sift lies and [half]-truths about the nature and implications of chieftaincy in South Africa. Methodologically, this paper relies on a blend of critical discourse analysis and conversations in their broadest form. The thesis of this paper is that the dispute between Mametja and Malepe traditional councils can best be understood when located within the historic and continental context. The latter is central to any efforts to amicably and irrevocably resolve this political and administrative impasse that hampers socio-economic development and also brews hatred and violent conflicts between people who previously co-existed in harmony.

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