The New Black Middle Class in South Africa

The New Black Middle Class in South Africa

Roger Southall


James Currey



Provides the most comprehensive account since the early 1960s of South Africa's "black middle class".
2016 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

The "rise of the black middle class" is one of the most visible aspects of post-apartheid society in South Africa. Yet while it has been a major actor in the country's democratic reshaping, analysis of its role has been all but lacking. Rather, the image presented by the media has been of "black diamonds", consumers of the products of advanced industrial economies, and of corrupt "tenderpreneurs" who use their political connections to obtain contracts. This book seeks to complicate that picture with a much-needed analysis that recounts its historical development in colonial society prior to 1994, before examining the size, shape and structure of the new black middle class in contemporary South Africa and its relation to its counterparts in the Global South.

Roger Southall is Professor Emeritus in Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand.

Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Swaziland): Jacana


May 2016
16 line illustrations
317 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781847011435
Format: Hardback
James Currey
BISAC POL010000, POL053000, HIS047000
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Related Titles

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Study the Black Middle Class?
The Middle Class: Problems and Controversies
The Black Middle Class in South Africa 1910-1994
The Black Middle Class in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Size, Shape and Structure
Black Class Formation under the ANC
Education and Black Upward Social Mobility
The Black Middle Class at Work
The Social World of the Black Middle Class
The Black Middle Class and Democracy
Afterword: South Africa's Black Middle Class in Wider Context


2016 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

Suggesting that the role of the black middle in class in shaping South African democracy has been largely overlooked, Southall details the development of this segment of society both before and after the end of apartheid in 1994. He seeks to challenge prevailing depictions of middle-class blacks as, at best, too narrow. SURVIVAL GLOBAL POLITICS AND STRATEGY

This is a very important and timely study that will help make sense of perhaps the key social actors in contemporary South African society. AUSTRALASIAN REVIEW OF AFRICAN STUDIES

Southall has brought together a rapidly growing volume of disparate studies of South Africa's black middle class and provided an incisive overview with scholarly objectivity. He succeeds admirably in his aim of enabling us to assess better both the social character of the black middle class and its potential as political actor, and deserves congratulation for providing a landmark study. THE ROUND TABLE

An insightful and engaging read for those who seek to learn more about social stratification and mobility in South Africa. AFRICA SPECTRUM

This book, without question, will become the standard work on its topic...The South African middle classes have been relatively neglected in contemporary studies... this careful overview fills a crucial gap. CHOICE

Roger Southall's book delivers an insightful contribution to our understanding of South African society. His assessment of the structures of power that shape the lives of millions of South Africans is historically embedded, yet contextualized in the latest events, including the 2015 student protests. AFRICAN AFFAIRS

Also by Author