Violent political language - an attack on the nation?

Realising the Constitution in the face of deligitimising rhetoric

Violent language rhetoric in South Africa


violent political language
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Event Replay Video

On 12 July 2021, after the most violent unrest in South Africa's history as a democratic country, President Ramaphosa carefully chose the following words: "This is not who we are as South Africans, this is not us".

The South Africa he conjured up was that of the Constitution, whose rhetoric breathes life into the founding vision for the country by people like Mandela, Tutu and Albie Sachs. Its language is the nation. It is a birth certificate, a social compact, an attitude and a call to action.

In this online discussion, we will discuss how contrary to public perception, the existence of the Constitution is not enough to safeguard our democracy. We need to embody its language and ideals. Given this insight, how should we understand and respond to delegitimising and violent political language, from "bring me my machine gun", "kill for Zuma" to "a judicial dictatorship in South Africa…like the injustice of apartheid"?

Dr Klaus Kotzé will lead this discussion with Judge Albie Sachs and Mr Ongama Mtimka, with moderation by Rebecca Sibanda. The discussion is also the occasion of the launch of a paper by Dr Klaus Kotzé on the topic.

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  • Dr Klaus Kotzé
    • Judge Albie Sachs
      • Rebecca Sibanda
        • Ongama Mtimka

          Christiaan Endres

          Christiaan Endres

          Project Manager

          christiaan.endres@kas.de +27 (11) 214 2900-204