Unmasking the enduring legacies of apartheid in South Africa through Phaswane Mpe’s Welcome to Our Hillbrow

Malesela Edward Montle


Prior to the dispensation of democracy in South Africa, the country was presided by a system of apartheid that perpetuated colonial policies that discriminated against non-white (South) Africans. Nevertheless, the democratic jurisdiction dethroned and succeeded the apartheid regime in 1994. This galvanised South Africa to undergo a political transition from segregation (autocracy) to peace, equality and unity (democracy). The political emancipation engineered a shift of identity and also made a clarion call for South Africans to subscribe to a democratic identity branded by oneness and harmony. However, as South Africa sought to redress herself, it unearthed appalling remnants of the apartheid past. Twenty-seven years since democracy took reigns in South Africa, the country is still haunted by the horrors of the past. It is the apartheid government that has bred hegemonic delinquencies that encumber the South African society from extricating herself from discriminatory identities such as racial tension, division, inequality and socio-economic crises. This qualitative study sought to scrutinise the vestiges of apartheid in South Africa. It has hinged on the literary appreciation of Phaswane Mpe’s Welcome to Our Hillbrow, which reflects on the menace that the enduring legacies of apartheid pose to livelihoods in the democratic period. Mpe’s post-apartheid novel is chosen for this study by virtue of its exposure and protest against apartheid influence in the newly reconstructed democratic South African society. Scholarly attention has been satisfactorily paid to the implementation of socio-economic transformation in the country, however, there seems to be an inadequate scholarship to explore the pretexts or the genesis of socio-economic transformation setbacks, which this study aims to unmask.


Apartheid, Corruption, Democracy, Inequality, Post-apartheid, Poverty

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.10n.5p.80


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