An African Athens: Rhetoric and the Shaping of Democracy in by Philippe-Joseph Salazar

By Philippe-Joseph Salazar

An African Athens bargains an research of a brand new ecology of rhetoric--the reshaping of a country right into a democracy via rhetorical potential. writer Philippe-Joseph Salazar offers a basic view of matters as they've got taken form within the apartheid and post-apartheid South African adventure, offering the rustic as a extraordinary degree for enjoying out the good issues of public deliberation and the increase of postmodern rhetorical democracy. Salazar's intimate vantage element makes a speciality of the awesome case of a democracy gained on the negotiating desk and in addition received on a daily basis in public deliberation. This quantity offers a full-scale rhetorical research of a democratic transformation in post-Cold warfare period, and gives a examine of the loss of life of apartheid and post-apartheid from the viewpoint of political and public rhetoric and communique. In doing so, it serves as a template for comparable enquiries within the rhetorical research of rising democracies. meant for readers engaged within the research of political and public rhetoric with an curiosity in how democracy takes form, An African Athens highlights South Africa as a try out case for worldwide democracy, for rhetoric, and for the relevance of rhetoric experiences in a postmodern democracy.

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Extra resources for An African Athens: Rhetoric and the Shaping of Democracy in South Africa (Volume in the Rhetoric, Knowledge, and Society Series)

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To cite The Social Contract, a connection noted long ago by Jacques Derrida in his two seminal essays on Nelson Mandela:2 He who dares to undertake the making of a people’s institutions ought to feel himself capable, so to speak, of changing human nature, of transforming each individual, who is by himself a complete and solitary whole, into part of a greater whole from which he in a manner receives his life and being; of altering man’s constitution for the purpose of strength3 ening it. The incidental clause so to speak is not a casual turn of phrase: It is a cunning figure of speech that propels the extraordinary statement (“changing human nature”) which it pretends to attenuate.

The speeches are neither consensual nor “bipartisan”; they simply reiterate the “foundation” with remarkable insistence. It can be said that, for better or for worse, Mandela has held tightly to his preferred rhetorical role, to perform the nation in a way that makes her appear to herself united yet diverse. In this respect, the sequence of valedictory speeches, including the address to the African National Congress, illustrates his intent. A fundamental question arises regarding rhetoric and the Presidency: If Mandela did “hand over the baton” (as he stated metaphorically in the Mafiking address) to his successor, Thabo Mbeki, did he hand Mbeki Polyhymnia’s rhetorical scepter in the same gesture?

They will use and abuse the metaphors that are the stock-in-trade of ghostwriters and spin doctors, but never fiction. This is the crunch regarding the nature of his rhetoric. The recourse to a poetic fiction, or “vision,” signals Mandela’s massive recourse to ethos, that category of subjective proofs on which Aristotle puts such store, especially when the veracity of a cause is open to challenge. An adjective often used to characterize Mandela’s style is gentlemanly. It is clear that under other circumstances his ethos would not have been so readily accepted, nor allowed him enough credibility to quote, in English, an Afrikaans poet on the sufferings of African children.

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