Launch of 'Writing the Decline'

Thursday, 21 July, 2016 - 12:30

WiSER invites you to the launch of

Richard Pithouse’s new book

Writing the Decline

On the Struggle for South Africa’s Democracy

Respondent: Achille Mbembe

Chair: Catherine Burns

There is a growing sense that the promise of democracy in South Africa has not been adequately redeemed. This book tracks the steady decay of that promise in recent years. Written from an understanding that democracy should be for everyone, rather than merely a contest between elites, it explores the growing authoritarianism of the state, the deepening social crisis, and avenues of hope and possibility. In a moment when old certainties are breaking down, and new ideas and social forces are taking the stage, this book offers a compelling invitation to take democracy seriously.

Wednesday, 20th July at 1pm
WiSER Seminar Room 6th Floor, Richard Ward Building East Campus, Wits University 

“Richard Pithouse is one of the most elegant writers I know – and also lucid, rational and egalitarian in the best possible way.” –Niren Tolsi, freelance journalist

“Richard Pithouse is one of our finest essayists. He is the proverbial canary in the coalmine. With each exposition you watch him fly into the heart of South African’s dysfunction and wonder whether he will come out alive. He does, just as we do. Time and again, Pithouse emerges with a song – woeful, melodic and, when you least expect it, redemptive.” – Sisonke Msimang, writer and activist

“Truth is at times proverbially stranger than fiction. To that could be added: Writing about it can also be more challenging and yet beautiful. Richard Pithouse’s chronicle of the past seven years of struggles from South Africa’s underside … is written with such clarity, succinctness, and unusual beauty that it stands as a powerful testament of what it means to love a country, its people and their aspirations, through also being a critical voice attuned both to local and wider contexts. Always eloquent, many times poignant, always on point and constructive, Writing the Decline serves too as a public diary of so much that has been hidden in plain sight and offers nuance to the challenges in these times of a very uncertain tomorrow, as generations now face their nation-building mission to fulfil or betray. A must-read for anyone committed to the former.”—Lewis Gordon, author of What Fanon Said

“This book by Richard Pithouse shows a deep commitment to connecting the struggles of vulnerable people across the globe, doing so with an enviable appreciation of history and structural analysis, and refusing to fall into the South African temptation of parochial analysis. The collection deserves a wide readership, from those who value bottom-up analysis of the search for substantive equality and justice, to those who enjoy writing that demonstrates a poetic command of the English language, or wish to understand the contours of our fledgling but lively democratic project.”– Eusebius McKaiser, political analyst, broadcaster, lecturer and writer

“This is writing that dresses the oppressed in human clothing. It brings light and hope to the world of oppressed, while forcing the oppressor to rethink the future stability of a system that makes some of us poor and others rich.”– S’bu Zikode, founding president of Abahlali base Mjondolo

“This book is a unique exploration of what is so often left out of accounts about contemporary South Africa. In particular, it is sure to shed much-needed light on the vexed relationships between the state, civil society and social movements in the post-liberation era and the history that shadows them. Richard Pithouse exemplifies what the project of writing the present is at its best.”–
Achille Mbembe, author of 
On the Postcolony