After the Thrill Is Gone
is a serious appraisal of what South African democracy has yielded and has failed to yield in the era following the heady expectations of liberation from apartheid’s multiple repressions. Since that time, South Africa has revealed itself as a turbulent, dynamic nation. After the release of black political prisoners in 1990 and the first national democratic election in 1994, its citizens have witnessed a massive increase in crime, unemployment, and poverty and an educational system in chaos.
In a range of politically inflected essays by philosophers, community activists, political scientists, sociologists, literary scholars, and cultural and postcolonial theorists—many of whom are diasporic or resident South Africans—this special issue of SAQ provides a critical look at the realities of black majority governance, at the African National Congress, and at the costs of ANC rule to the populace. One essay draws a condemning sketch of poverty and violence in the townships and the growing communities of squatters that continue despite the emergence of democracy. A philosophical piece contemplates the practice of human rights in a South African society grappling with the memory of apartheid abuses. The fiction and poetry in the collection explore sexual identity, including issues created by the AIDS epidemic, and offer critiques of government policies. Using comic strips, another contributor demonstrates the ability of South African popular culture to satirize the nation’s political status quo. Taken together, the essays in After the Thrill Is Gone open a sobering perspective on South Africa’s recent history, its present, and its future.
Contributors. Rita Barnard, Patrick Bond, Ashwin Desai, Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, Grant Fared, Michiel Heyns, Shaun Irlam, Neil Lazarus, Michael MacDonald, Zine Magubane, Richard Pithouse, Lesego Rampolokeng, Adam Sitze