The ANC's 'left turn' & South African sub-imperialism

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27 Citations (Scopus)


The South African government is widely considered to play a progressive role in Africa and the world. Indeed, there was an expectation after the 2004 election that Pretoria would be part of a global backlash against neoliberalism. However, the radical rhetoric often emanating from Pretoria these days barely disguises its post-apartheid record of promoting of strategies which promote global integration. These include the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD); 'normalised' bilateral military relations with the Pentagon and geopolitical alliances with Washington across Africa; trade liberalisation; collaboration with Western financial power and facilitation of transnational capital in Africa; and opposition to demands for reparations for the West's apartheid-era profits. While some academic commentators have not yet grasped the essential nature of this policy direction, activists in the African Social Forum networks have periodically demanded the adoption of alternative strategies. Their vision is grounded in values of social justice and international solidarity; Pretoria's appears to be merely sub-imperialist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-616
Number of pages18
JournalReview of African Political Economy
Issue number102
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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