Post-apartheid South Africa’s exacerbated inequality and the Covid-19 pandemic: intersectionality and the politics of power

Keywords: intersectionality, nationalism, Covid-19 protests, capitalism


Over the past fifteen years there has been an increase in the number of protest movements globally. In recent years and amid the global pandemic there have been hundreds of protests and demonstrations in South Africa. Consequently, in comparison to other parts of the globe, such protest action in South Africa is high. As a result, stable governance in the region has been impacted.

Notably, during the resistance years in defiance of the apartheid regime, citizens in South Africa expressed their social discontent against exclusion and marginalisation through identities as radical and intersectional – this was also articulated in the recent protests that occurred in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Johannesburg in July 2021. This highlights the relevance of intersectionality within this region. Intersectionality can be seen to refer to the inequalities that exist beyond femininities and masculinities. Intersectional theory explores aspects of discrimination, oppression, exploitation and inequality across identity, gender, race, ethnicity and class. This study uses a qualitative research approach to conceptually analyse intersectional theory. Thereafter the study discusses the relevance of intersectional theory in a post-apartheid context by illustrating intersectionality through the unrest and protests that occurred, following the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma. The findings of the study suggest the need to unpack the legacies of African elitism and social relations, while implementing intersectional reform that promotes greater inclusivity of citizens in the state.


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Author Biography

Juliet Eileen Joseph, University of Johannesburg

Centre for African Diplomacy and Leadership (CADL)


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How to Cite
Joseph, J. E. (2021). Post-apartheid South Africa’s exacerbated inequality and the Covid-19 pandemic: intersectionality and the politics of power. EUREKA: Social and Humanities, (6), 68-78.
Social Sciences