The “Born Frees”: The Prospects for Generational change in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Presenter(s): Robert Mattes

Venue: CSSR Seminar Room (4.89 Leslie Social Science)

Abstract / Description: 

South Africa’s 1996 Constitution marked ushered in a democratic regime that brought new freedoms and rights and greatly expanded opportunities for political participation. In 1998, South Africa also implemented a new school curriculum intended, among other things, to promote democratic and other constitutional values. At the same time, South Africa has undergone rapid demographic change as growing proportions of young people enter the electorate with no working memory of apartheid. Given our knowledge of post regime change shifts in popular attitudes in post-war Europe and Japan, theories of socialization and democratic habituation would lead us to expect significant pro-democratic shifts in South Africa’s political culture, especially amongst the youngest generation, who are popularly known in South Africa as the “Born Frees.” Against these expectations, however, survey evidence indicates that the post-apartheid generation is less committed to democracy than their parents or grandparents. *Refreshments will be served.*

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 - 13:00