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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

South Africa after Mandela

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Photo of Nelson Mandela

Zine Magubane
Boston College

Date: Wednesday, March 19
Time: 12:00-1:15 PM
Location: Boisi Center, 24 Quincy Road


Abstract: Following the death of former president Nelson Mandela, South Africa must look ahead to a political and social future without Madiba's calming and unifying presence. As the May 7 national election looms amidst continuing social strife, the African National Congress seeks to solidify its position as the leading party in the face of strengthening opposition from the Democratic Alliance. Professor Zine Magubane, a South African native and internationally recognized scholar of her home country’s culture and politics, will discuss the challenges South Africa faces in the wake of its national hero's death.

This event continues a conversation begun at our December screening of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

Headshot of Zine Magubane, "South Africa after Mandela"

Zine Magubane is an associate professor of sociology at Boston College, where she also holds a courtesy appointment in the African and African Diaspora studies program. Professor Magubane specializes in social theory and the sociology of race, ethnicity, and African societies. She has professional experience in South Africa, previously serving as a research associate for the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria, and holding a guest lecturer position at the University of Cape Town. The author of several books and scholarly articles in her discipline, she has notably published Bringing the Empire Home: Race, Class and Gender (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004). She earned her Ph.D and M.A. in Sociology from Harvard University, and her B.A. in Politics from Princeton University.


As the May 7 national election approaches, many South Africans are increasingly disenchanted with the perceived levels of corruption by President Jacob Zuma and the A.N.C. This New York Times article explores the discontent in the country two weeks prior to the election.


South Africa's new political opposition alliance foundered in February 2014,  reducing the possibility of a stable opposition emerging to challenge the ruling African National Congress. On March 19 at the Boisi Center, Professor Zine Magubane discussed the challenges facing South Africa in the months following Mandela's passing.

Related Event

On December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95. That evening the Boisi Center hosted a screening of the new biopic about Mandela, starring Idris Elba, at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.