Values and Development in Southern Africa. Edited by Hans Müller, Pinkie Mekgwe and Marvellous Mhloyi. Dakar, CODESRIA, 2013, 268 p., 978-2-86978-554-0
This book is a product of CODESRIA’s Comparative Research NetworkNumber of visits: 1420
Development has been on Africa’s agenda for a long time but progress has been both varied and limited, partly due to the diverse levelsof the discussionsonthe challenges and the interventions for tackling them. Africa’s greatest challenge is the uneven development within and between its countries, and the pressing issues ofextreme poverty in southern Africa, and the continent as a whole.
Poverty causes its victims to suffer social exclusion and political repression. In addition, societies that experience poverty are also mostlyunder continuous threat of ecological disasters and diseases. All poor people are therefore plagued by loss of freedom and dignity, and are often unable to participate effectively in the political, economic, legal and social processes of their countries.
This book focuses on the social and cultural dimensions of development dynamics and, in particular, the role of values in shaping development. Values are at the core of the hopes and aspirations of individuals, communities and societies. The booktherefore explainsthe values that motivate and inform African communities and societies, with a view to facilitating a dialogue about sustainable development in Africa among academics, intellectuals, policy and decisionmakers, and the communities. It also investigatesthe social and cultural dynamics of development in Africa, as a better alternative to earlier studies that blame African culture for poverty and exclude the people of Africa in their definition of developments in the continent.
Thesignificance of this book lies in its provision of a theoretical argument,from empirical perspective, on the role of values in the development ofAfrica; an argument that is capable of facilitating a dialogue about African development, which obviously proves more useful than either the imposition of a technical process or the announcement of a normative framework.
Hans Müller, Social Theory and Decision-making, Centre for Knowledge Dynamics and Decision-making, University of Stellenbosch.
Pinkie Mekgwe, English Literature, University of Botswana, formerly Programme Officer, CODESRIA, Dakar, Senegal.
Marvellous Mhloyi, Demography and Sociology, Chair of Department of Sociology, Centre for Population Studies, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe.