Mmabatho, 'Mother of the People': identity and development in an 'independent' Bantustan, Bophuthatswana, 1975–1994

2018-05-25T15:34:57Z (GMT) by Peris S. Jones
The thesis brings together two important themes within Geography and Development Studies. First, post-colonial analyses of social identity and difference; secondly, the relationship between social identity and the 'new' historiography of South Africa. These themes raise important intellectual and practical questions central to rethinking the relationship between the developed and underdeveloped worlds. During the apartheid era political and cultural relations between core and periphery were (are) integral to the fragmentation of South African society and space. Apartheid discourse constantly manipulated social and cultural differences and divisions. These divisions were epitomised by the enforced racial and ethnic partition associated with the Bantustans. By focusing on one Bantustan, namely Bophuthatswana, the thesis shows that complex identities and interests also emerged within these territories. Under the guise of independence various marginal groups sought power and influence through vigorous efforts to create and promote a new national identity. A range of issues are used to identify and emphasise the intersection of two major discourses, ethno-nationalism and modernisation. These serve to illustrate the complex interplay of local and regional characteristics alongside more general processes associated with the changing nature of apartheid. By reference to the creation of the national capital, Mmabatho, the thesis demonstrates the shortcomings and contradictions of this nation-building exercise and of the modernist discourses on which it was based.