South Africa’s Resilient Democracy

Author(s): Evan Lieberman, Rori Lekalake 

Status/Format: Published

Date: 2022

Publication Type: Journal Article

Publisher: Journal of Democracy

Volume and Issue: 33 (2)

Page Numbers: 103 - 117

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During a period of rising authoritarian populism around the globe, South Africa stands out as a surprising democratic success story. For example, the 2021 local-government elections were the most competitive yet in the postapartheid era, defying early predictions of long-term, single-party domination. And for more than a quarter-century, citizens have been able to positively influence policy and the quality of governance. To be sure, the country has serious longstanding challenges and burdens, and the prospects for upheaval loom large. Nonetheless, South Africa's multiracial democracy offers a powerful example of what is possible with well-designed democratic institutions.