Society of African Journal Editors

South African Journal of Sociology

Alternatives of social and political change in South Africa

Authors: G.A. Rauche

Journal: South African Journal of Sociology

An attempt is made to show that in South Africa the dynamics of social and political change operates in terms of the polarization of the principle of ethnicity on the one hand and the principle of nationhood on the other. In the light of the conflict between ethnic interests and national concerns, a critical analysis is made of three alternatives of change which appear to crystallize in the South African situation: the alternative of social integration, the alternative of ethnic pluralism and the alternative of Black unitarian nationalism. It is submitted that these three alternatives — each in its own way — seek to solve the basic South African problem of ethnicity and nationhood. In order to accommodate both principles, the establishment of a federal system of government by ethnic criteria is suggested, because it appears that such a system would best accommodate the needs and interests of South Africa's multi-cultural society.