Caribbean Journal of Philosophy, Vol 3, No 1 (2011)

Disenfranchisement-counterculture dialectic in the South African story of water access and its impact: A critical reflection

Rabson Wuriga


The paper is a philosophical reflection on social and hydropolitical issues in South African water story with special reference to water procurement and distribution. The article explores the problem of political disenfranchisement and its reaction in the form of political counterculture in the South African story of the right to access water. It sets the exploration within the framework of disenfranchisement-counterculture dialectic. The former portrayed in the water laws passed by the then successive South African governments and the latter showed by numerous boycotts that took place. The dialectic framework will lead to the preference of a Yin-Yang approach to explain a possible synthesis achievable in an attempt to deal with ongoing boycotts for paying water services delivery. The article advances an argument that a close look at the story of water rights through South African history shows that there is a disenfranchisement-counterculture dialectic underpinned and propelled by social and political drives that are rooted in the past.

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