Contested Memory

Retrieving the Africanist (Liberatory) Conception of Non-racialism

in Theoria
Ndumiso Dladla University of South Africa

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South Africa since 1994 is widely represented as a society which has broken both historically and politically with white supremacy. One of the central discursive pillars sustaining this representation is the appeal to the most recent South African constitution Act 108 of 1996, the founding provisions of which declare that South Africa is founded on the value of non-racialism. The central argument of this article is that an examination of the philosophical underpinnings of the non-racialism of the constitution can give us a better understanding of why and how South Africa remains a racial polity despite the coming into effect of the constitution. We will conclude the article by considering the ethical and political demands which must be met before the actuality of non-racialism may be experienced.

Contributor Notes

Ndumiso Dladla is based at UNISA (Pretoria) and teaches philosophy in the department of philosophy, practical and systematic theology, his specialization is in African philosophy. His areas of interest are social, political and legal philosophy and philosophy education, with his most recent research being in the theoretical-historical study of race. He is a member of the Azanian Philosophical Society. E-mail:

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