• Title: “Between obligation and freedom: the perplexities of indebtedness in Post-Apartheid South Africa”                                  Monday, September 15th,  5-7 pm at the Liu Institute, Seminar Room, 6476 North West Marine Drive.      

      Public Talk & Discussion, with light refreshments.(Contact: Lucy Rodina, Liu Scholar)

In South Africa, with upward mobility much aspired-to but seldom attained, householders must spend money they have not yet earned. Requesting credit both from formal institutions and moneylenders/financial mutual positions them uneasily: in order to disconnect/dis embed themselves from dependents in one register, they acquire intensified obligations in another. The value sought is based on models of class distinction/”respectability”, yet its seekers, becoming indebted, often spiral into economic crisis. The freedom to establish value in an operative, per-formative manner may be compromised. Exploring the interface between community, market and the state, the paper challenges binaries of political/moral economy, and formal/informal economy.

  • Evening Indaba(gathering) hosted by members of the Africa Awareness Initiative cross campus network.Wednesday, September 17th, 5-7 pm at Simon K Lee Global Lounge and Resource Centre, Building 1, 2205 Lower Mall.                                    Informal gathering and light refreshments(Contact:s Nelly Ky, President AAI; Alison McAulay).
  • Department of History Colloquium Series talk, 11th floor seminar room, Buchanan Tower, 1873 East Mall. Thursday, September 18th, 12:30 pm-1:45 pm: Public Talk and Discussion.                                                                                                                                        Title: “From land reform to credit reform in South Africa: “reversionary legislation”  in a post-apartheid, post-transitional context”                                                                       As apartheid came to an end in 1994, the world watched and rejoiced at the dramatic death of a brutal regime. Work had already begun on reversing its worst effects. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission sought to uncover the horrors and brutality wrought by the security forces, while the land reform program aimed to restore the ownership rights of the black majority. At the same time a neoliberal-style economy was being created: deemed important in order to secure investor confidence and to smooth the transition. The novel economic policy, however, had unforeseen consequences, one of which was to generate what significant rates of indebtedness in the population. This had its roots not only in the recent changes that had taken place—the creation of a new black middle class seemed difficult to achieve without recourse to credit—but also in the historical legacy of apartheid itself. Policy makers soon recognized that this area, in turn, would require new legislation: “consumer” rights had never seemed as pressing as the “human” ones denied during apartheid, but were now urgently needing attention. In the case of land reform and the TRC, the impulse behind such laws were lauded even if their effects were muted. In contrast, attempted legislation curbing excessive lending – the government’s National Credit Act of 2007 – lacked the political/ economic clout to do much more than registering lenders and producing reports on debt levels. The talk will explore the reasons for the discrepancy between these different forms of “reversionary legislation”, and their implications for the character of citizenship in South Africa.

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