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The effects of the political violence of the 1980s and 1990s on the families of the political activists of Kwa-Makhutha, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

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The study sought to investigate the effects of political violence on the lives of the former activists and their families at Kwa-Makhutha Township in Kwa-Zulu Natal, in South Africa. Political violence in this study was an instrument used by activists as a defence mechanism to cope with the pain inflicted by the state or the political opposition. The aim of the study was to answer the research questions such as, what does political violence and political struggle mean to the former activists. What was the main reason for getting engaged in the struggle and political violence? At what cost did the former activists engage in political struggle or political violence? These questions were answered by employing research techniques that included individual face-to-face interviews and observation. The study was conducted from the 1st August 2014 to 31st March 2015. The sample of the study consisted of 45 interviewees, 35 males and 10 females, all above the age of 30. Key findings highlighted the negative social and economic effects of political violence on the livelihoods of members of the community. The key issues identified in the study were the lack of infrastructural development and the slow pace of service delivery. The study applied the Relative Depravation and Social Action theories that provided a comprehensive understanding of the reasons why the activists engaged in political violence. The study revealed that despite the government policies that address socio-economic development, people continue to live in abject poverty in previously disadvantaged communities such as Kwa-Makhutha.


Master’s degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.