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The article explores political participation and democratic consolidation in South Africa 20 years after the end of apartheid. It does so through the lens of the residents of Kwazakhele, a black township in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Two surveys conducted in the month following the May 2014 elections provide the basis for analysing the political attitudes and expectations of older residents and comparing them with those of younger residents of the 'born free' generation. The findings are that while there is a high level of participation by older residents, there is a significant alienation of youth. At the same time, the consolidation of democracy is evidenced by the growth of political tolerance and political pluralism, shown by the presence and (limited) support for opposition parties. The findings include analysis of how the voting patterns in Kwazakhele contributed to the defeat of the ANC in the 2016 local elections in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.


This article was originally published as: Prevost, G. & Cherry, J. "Kwazakhele after twenty years of democracy: the contradictory development of political pluralism and political alienation." Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa, vol. 94, no. 1, 2017. pp. 1-27, DOI: 10.1353/trn.2017.0010.