Reasonable Radicals and Citizenship in Botswana: The Public Anthropology of Kalanga Elites

Front Cover
Indiana University Press, Jul 16, 2004 - History - 272 pages
0 Reviews

Are self-interested elites the curse of liberal democracy in Africa? Is there hope against the politics of the belly, kleptocracies, vampire states, failed states, and Afro-pessimism? In Reasonable Radicals and Citizenship in Botswana, Richard Werbner examines a rare breed of powerful political elites who are not tyrants, torturers, or thieves. Werbner's focus is on the Kalanga, a minority ethnic group that has served Botswana in business and government since independence. Kalanga elites have expanded public services, advocated causes for the public good, founded organizations to build the public sphere and civil society, and forged partnerships and alliances with other ethnic groups in Botswana. Gathering evidence from presidential commissions, land tribunals, landmark court cases, and his lifetime relationship with key Kalanga elites, Werbner shows how a critical press, cosmopolitanism, entrepreneurship, accountability, and the values of patriarchy and elderhood make for an open society with strong, capable government. Werbner's work provides a refreshing alternative to those who envision no future for Africa beyond persistent agony and lack of development.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Reflections and Frontiers
1
The PostCivil Service and the Public Good
13
2 The Minorities Debate
32
3 The Politics of Recognition and Pressure Groups
48
4 Cosmopolitan Ethnicity Entrepreneurship and the Nation
63
5 Official Blundering and the Discredited Commission
86
6 Land Clients and Tribal Bureaucrats
109
7 Bringing Back the Dead
133
8 Public Officer Public Officer Emeritus
146
9 The Making of a Reasonable Radical
162
Postcolonial Wisdom Beyond Afropessimism
188
Notes
205
References
221
Author Index
235
Subject Index
239
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2004)

Richard Werbner is Professor of African Anthropology and Director of the International Centre for Contemporary Cultural Research at the University of Manchester and Professorial Fellow at the University of Botswana. Among his books are Ritual Passage, Sacred Journey; and Tears of the Dead, for which he won the Amaury Talbot Prize.

Bibliographic information