Situated at the interface of a sociology of race and a jurisprudence of transformative social justice, I explore the implications of South Africa's legacy of racialised citizenship for constructing substantive citizenship in post-1994 South African everyday life. To this end, I focus on Justice Sachs' dissenting judgment handed down by the Constitutional Court in The City Council of Pretoria v Walker 1998(3) SA 363(CC). I argue that Justice Sachs' reasoning illustrates first, the continued yet changing intersection of race, civic marginalisation and civic obligation in a process of constructing substantive citizenship for both black and white citizens; and second, that historically situated differential treatment can build full citizenship for all. Furthermore, I argue that his judgment is framed by a critical-race-standpoint: a politics and praxis that draw on critical race theory. This standpoint renders fragile the coherence that ideas of race continue to offer popular, scholarly and judicial interpretations of South African everyday life. It distinguishes Sachs' conception of differential treatment from two dominant conceptions of this idea in South Africa: difference-blindness and race-attachment. Sachs' conception revitalises non-racialism. His reasoning illustrates that citizenship is a dynamic construct. I conclude that this reasoning is exemplary of jurisprudence that facilitates a formation of citizenship that contests social inequality rather than one which simply regulates social difference. Such jurisprudence helps create a political universe in which racialised citizenship(s) can be reformulated for South Africa's transition. A critical-race-standpoint offers a frame for such reformulation.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 47-65
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.