On a spectrum of hostility towards migrants, South Africa ranks at the top, Germany in the middle and Canada at the bottom. South African xenophobic violence by impoverished slum dwellers is directed against fellow Africans. “Foreign” Africans are blamed for a high crime rate and most other maladies of an imagined liberation.
Why would a society that liberated itself in the name of human rights turn against people who escaped human rights violations or unlivable conditions at home? What happened to the expected African solidarity? Why do former victims become victimizers?
With porous borders, South Africa is incapable of upholding the blurred distinction between endangered refugees and economic migrants. Imagined Liberation asks what xenophobic societies can learn from other immigrant societies, such as Canada, that avoided the backlash against multiculturalism in Europe. Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley stress an innovative teaching of political literacy that makes citizens aware as to why they hate.
The ongoing violence, despair and paralysis among Israelis and Palestinians resemble the gloomy period in South Africa during the late 1980s. Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley show that these analogies with South Africa can be applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for two purposes: to showcase South Africa as an inspiring model for a negotiated settlement and to label Israel a "colonial settler state" that should be confronted with strategies (sanctions, boycotts) similar to those applied against the apartheid regime. Because of the different historical and socio-political contexts, both assumptions are problematic. Whereas peacemaking resulted in an inclusive democracy in South Africa, the favored solution for Israel and the West Bank is territorial separation into two states. Adam and Moodley speculate on what would have happened in the Middle East had there been what they call "a Palestinian Mandela" providing unifying moral and strategic leadership in the ethnic conflict. A timely, relevant look at the issues of a polarized struggle, Seeking Mandela is an original comparison of South Africa and Israel, as well as an important critique on the nature of comparative politics.