Project Description

Naledi Modise

Naledi Modise Democracy Fellow OSF-SA 25 years in South AfricaPerspectives from the Periphery

Naledi is a junior lecturer in Political Studies at North-West University, Mafikeng. She was a Harry Frank Guggenheim Research Fellow in 2012/2013. Currently, she is registered for a Master of International Politics with the North-West University and has research interests in political parties, party systems, and electoral behaviour.


Naledi’s project explores voter apathy and trends in voter behaviour amongst the working poor, and the impact of their economic status on their attitudes to democracy, and the implications of this for South Africa’s democratic future. These are pertinent questions as democracy in South Africa matures and the call for social justice grows stronger. The past 25 years have focused on building state institutions and fortifying constitutionalism; therefore, Naledi’s project argues that the next 25 years should focus on redress and social justice. This project aims to bring into focus the voices of people on the periphery whose stories remain unheard owing to their location. In particular, Naledi’s project will widen the gaze on how social justice should look, by detailing their lived experience of democracy, and, most importantly, their future expectations.

Perspectives from the Periphery will be a research project that brings to life the stories of the working poor on the periphery of South Africa, with the aim of producing a book. The focus of the book will be on three sets of people considered to be the working poor (security guards, cashiers, and taxi drivers). The project will focus on six small towns, of which three are in the North West province and three are in the Northern Cape province, under the broad theme of understanding what democracy means and how the people interviewed experience it. The experiences of these people will be contrasted with inputs from the governing party, government officials, and representatives from opposition parties on what their aims have been for these areas, the current situation, and, finally, how their organisation intends to respond to the findings of the study.