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Claremont Mckenna College

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

South Africa: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


This paper aims to examine the thoughts and opinions that citizens of Cape Town have regarding the political efficacy of the post-apartheid South African government and the postapartheid South African presidency on the eve of the 2014 elections. As South Africa reaches its twentieth anniversary of the first democratic elections in 1994, the time is ripe and appropriate to examine the actions of the democratic government in improving or exacerbating the lives of Cape Town citizens, analyze the role of the post-apartheid presidency in this process and to measure people's faith in government and perception of presidential leadership. Through conversational interviews with voting age citizens in the Cape Town communities of Langa and Stellenbosch, this paper provides their narratives regarding their thoughts on their faiths in government, the current state of affairs and government performance, both in a local context and a national context. The interviews also convey their perceptions on presidential performance and leadership. The findings from the interviews demonstrate that political efficacy across the three neighborhoods has generally been low, with little or no excitement for the upcoming election, and disappointment and frustration with the current state of affairs, though there have been some relatively positive reactions. The findings from the interviews also suggest that although most of the interviewees valued the same things regarding traits of presidential leadership, they also emphasized different traits individually as well. This paper compares the findings of the interviews with a literature review, providing commentary on post-apartheid presidential leadership and electoral system, as well as governance in South Africa, twenty years into its democracy.


Inequality and Stratification | Political Science | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


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