This paper focuses on innovative forms of citizen participation promoted by two Cape Town based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in struggles over land, housing and AIDS treatment. The organizations are the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), an AIDS activist group, and the South African Homeless People's Federation (SAHPF), a low income housing association connected to the Slum Dwellers International (SDI), which is based in fourteen countries and including cities such as Bombay, Calcutta, Nairobi, Bangkok, Karachi and Bogota. Both organizations are facilitating forms of citizen participation in multiple sites, ranging from intermediary institutions that serve as an interface between the state and the poor, to more transient, non-institutional forms of participation in spaces created by marginalized people themselves. Supported by these NGOs, people find themselves able to act more independently of the state and to challenge it. (Cornwall 2002, 20). This paper argues that as participatory spaces are more often shaped by poor people themselves than offered by outside actors, they have the potential for far-reaching challenges to political marginalization.
Robins, S.; von Lieres, B. Remaking Citizenship, Unmaking Marginalization: New Social Movements in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Canadian Journal of African Studies / La Revue canadienne des études africaines (2004) 38 (3) 28 pp.