SAIFAC AND Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung South Africa

Systemic racism and police brutality have been ongoing problems in the United States that have remained largely unaddressed despite greater attention to the issue in recent years. Since the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013, demonstrations have highlighted the murder by police of black men across America, including Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Police brutality connected to discriminatory attitudes are also problems outside of the United States. In South Africa, there is a long history of brutality by security forces. This has been heightened during the coronavirus lockdown with severe harassment experienced by non-South African residents (linked to high-levels of xenophobia) and incidents such as the murder of Collins Khoza.


This seminar will engage with a range of important questions which will include the following:


•           What are the causes of police brutality in the United States and South Africa?

•           How have the different histories of the United States and South Africa contributed to present day problems?

•           Is there a similarity between police brutality in the United States and South Africa?

•           How do issues of poverty, gender and class intersect with race to influence police brutality?

•           How do issues of race and the xenophobic attitudes towards non-nationals intersect?

•           How does the discourse around systemic racism and police brutality compare and contrast in the United States and South Africa?

•           What changes are needed? Can reform solve this issue or is dismantling needed and, if so, what would that entail?

•           How do the solutions required compare between the United States and South Africa? What realities impact upon implementation?

•           Are there concrete legal changes that need to be adopted to address this problem?

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  • Matthew Clair
    • Stanford University
  • Jonny Steinberg
    • Oxford University
  • Ottilia Maunganidze
    • Institute for Security Studies

Nancy Msibi

Nancy Msibi bild

Project Manager +27 (11) 214 2900-110