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Dr Mbongiseni Buthelezi is one of the three editors on the book launched by the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra) on 28 February 2019.


Published by Jacana Media, the edited volume, Traditional Leaders in a Democracy: Resources, Respect and Resistance, explores the contested role of chieftancy in democratic SA where leaders are frequently accused of abusing power and expropriating resources, though they have also mobilised new opportunities and resources for rural communities and have fought for political recognition. The book comes out of a project started in 2017 by Mistra and the Wits History Workshop, where the three editors coordinated a writing team of prominent thinkers and practitioners:

Mbongiseni Buthelezi (ed)

Beth Vale (ed)

Peter Delius

Dineo Skosana (ed)

Aninka Claassens

Sonwabile Mnwana

Sithandiwe Yeni

Sindiso Mnisi Weeks

Tlhabane Mokhine Motaung

Fani Ncapayi

William Ellis

Nkosi Pathekile Holomisa (ah! Dilizintaba)

Nkosi Nomvelo Nonkonyana (Zanemvula!)

The book is available from or from Jacana Media.

The politics of traditional leadership continues to blight the post-apartheid imagination. This awareness prompted the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra) to initiate, almost two years ago, a researched publication into traditional authority in South Africa. Little did it know the historical depths to which it would have to plunge to turn up conceptual clarity on the all too contentious role of the institution of traditional leadership within the post-apartheid constitutional framework. … READ the full article

— Tlhabane Motaung, City Press, 28 February 2019


are arguing that it should rather be probed how westernised leadership systems can be accommodated to align to traditional leadership systems. —Mistra, Twitter, 28 February 2019


Executive Director, Joel Netshitenzhe: “Does traditional leadership advance or stifle democracy?’

—Mistra, Twitter, 28 February 2019