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".
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
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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

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

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