‘I have plans’. Scrutinising the meaning, production and sustaining of hope in safe sexual practices among young men in Khayelitsha, Cape Town

Diana Gibson & Krishnavelli Nadasen

pages 1-10

Abstract This paper scrutinises hope from an anthropological perspective and in a South African setting. While public, theological and other discourses have attended to hope, anthropologists in South Africa have not done so and the paper aims to highlight it as an area of interest for the social sciences. One exception to the general trend is Crapanzano's (2003) work on hope, which sees it as somewhat passive. By drawing on research among young men in Khayelitsha, the paper argues that they view hope as active and as part of making and realising their plans for the future. In this regard the production and reproduction of hope impacts positively on safe sexual practices.

Subjects: Hope, safe sex, young men, attitude, behaviour, plans


‘Racism and ethnicity’: Reflections on the debatable permanence of terminology

Prof-em Dr R. D. Coertze Research Fellow

pages 11-19

Abstract The concepts of biological and social race currently have debatable value. The first has lost much of its former validity through the increase in our knowledge of the genetic characteristics of humankind. This new knowledge does not support the older classifications. ‘Social race’ is a misnomer because its internal cohesion in no way depends on genetic characteristics. Anthropological terminology in English suffers as a result of the rejection, until recently, of the concept of ethnos/ethnie. Ethnicity is a blanket concept that needs to be refined and could replace the term social race. Such an exercise of finer differentiation is proposed. It is clear that future research will focus on the turbid processes of culture change. Next to using more relevant terminology, we shall have to acknowledge and understand the effects of die factors determining the course of such processes.

Subjects: biological race, social race, racism, ethnos, ethnie, ethnicity, peoplehood, ethnocentrism, ethnocism, ethnic cleansing, racial cleansing, nation-building, discrimination, affirmative action


Locating community participation in a water supply project—the Galanefhi Water Project (Eritrea)

Solomon Haile Gebremedhin & Francois Theron

pages 20-28

Abstract Water projects, like sustainable development projects in general, often tend to become unsustainable because they are guided by top-down strategies which exclude the input, influence and ownership of projects by their beneficiaries. For attaining sustainable development, the social capital of communities must be harnessed—beneficiaries of development need to be conscientised through a process of establishing self-awareness that their indigenous knowledge can lead to empowering participation and sustainable development. The international call for the participation of project beneficiaries places participation, as a people-centred strategy, within the capacity-building debate—beneficiaries should not only have a stake in projects, they ideally should own it. This ‘new’, even controversial, emphasis on participation calls for a re-assessment of participation as a capacity-building and empowerment strategy. The article evaluates the effect of participation in a water supply project in Eritrea, designating some of the related issues within the participation debate. The aim of the article is not to cover the total rural context of the case study, only the specific relationship between water project implementation and participatory development.
The article concludes with general and specific recommendations, inter alia with regard to the need for a role to be played by anthropologists in project planning; the need for introducing participatory action research methodology and a call for a decentralised decision-making process which reconstructs the social capital of communities, enabling people-centred, bottom-up participation and capacity-building of the beneficiaries of development.

Subjects: participation, social capital, indigenous knowledge, conscientisation, capacity-building, project, community/village, beneficiary, development planners/planning, anthropology


Koranna struggle against the colonial church: the case of Brandewynsfontein

Piet Erasmus

pages 29-35

Abstract Although Goliath Yzerbek, in his struggle to safeguard the perceived land rights of the Koranna, had to deal with many more obstacles than the colonial church, only the interactions of the Berlin Missionary Society with the Koranna of Brandewynsfontein will be reviewed in this study. The story of Brandewynsfontein offers two perspectives: on the one hand, the colonial church's insatiable lust for land and the devastating results thereof for the Koranna; and on the other, one individual's ceaseless struggle to retain the land that rightfully belonged to his people.

Subjects: Koranna, land alienation, antagonism, Berlin Missionary Society, cultural representation


Another world is possible? A critical exploration of Escobar's ‘other worlds/worlds otherwise’

Amanda Bourne

pages 36-44

Abstract This article is primarily a literature review that attempts to present and critically discuss, as clearly and concisely as possible, Arturo Escobar's position on ‘development’ as discourse, idea, and billion-dollar industry and the role of anthropology within this, as evidenced by the arguments extracted from his publications since 1991, the theorising of other scholars of similar persuasions, and published critiques of these views. I review Escobar's understanding of neo-liberal and developmentalist capitalist modernity and the ‘crisis of development’ and explore his radical, experimental, and exploratory alternatives to development. He tends to locate these alternatives in community and indigenous knowledge systems, in intentional alternative lifeways, as well as the civil society activities of organised social movements. While his model is severely limited, particularly in terms of its almost exclusive focus on discourse and the attendant absence of substantial, detailed ethnographic or other empirical data to support his arguments, its willingness to learn to listen in a different way, and to experiment with alternatives to the conventional wisdom is something each of us could integrate into our practice as anthropologists of the post-modern moment.

Subjects: modernity, development, post-development, social movements, local, place-based, discourse, underdeveloped, world anthropology


Succession to Bogosi among the Batlhako ba Matutu in a changing dispensation

RD Coertze & FC de Beer

pages 45-55

Abstract Dealing with a succession dispute among the Batlhako ba Matutu required a study of their politico-administrative structure, their marriage rules and procedures, as well as the genealogical succession of their senior traditional leaders since 1830. Research findings disclosed traditional rules of succession that determine the legitimacy of claims to bogosi and the procedures that must be followed in the designation of a rightful successor. The study among the Batlhako ba Matutu also revealed that succession disputes are currently complicated by European-influenced culture change and administrative intolerance in the application of policy.

Subjects: Batlhako ba Matutu, lekgotla, lesika, dikgosana, pitso, genealogy, succession, succession disputes, Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Act (No 41 of 2003), Nhlapo Commission, Viviers Commission


The Constitutional right to culture and the judicial development of Indigenous Law: a comparative analysis of cases

Joan Church & Jacqueline Church

pages 56-64

Abstract Although integral to the culture of indigenous peoples in South Africa, indigenous law was historically only recognised as a personal law subservient to the general law. This is no longer so. In the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, its recognition is entrenched, explicitly as well as implicitly, as an aspect of culture. Where there is conflict between the indigenous norm and the relevant human rights provision, courts have an obligation to develop the indigenous law, an obligation that should be exercised intelligently.
Comparative analysis of recent judgments suggests that the courts1 approach has generally been conservative. Merely striking down indigenous law as unconstitutional rather than developing it in terms of the constitutional imperative will lead to its eventual demise. A more progressive alternative would be to take cognisance of indigenous law as living law in order to determine the potential for judicial development.

Subjects: Constitutional imperatives, culture, historical background, human rights, indigenous law, interpretative approach, judicial development, law reform, living law, lobolo, male primogeniture, succession, ubuntu

Book Review

Francois Theron

page 65