2000 年 2000 巻 123 号 p. 30-43,L7
‘The Third Wave’ of democratization worldwide finally reached the African continent in the 1990s. If democratization of the Third World is essentially the establishment of civil society (Kiichi Fujiwara), we could investigate the democratization of Africa by analysing the formation process of its civil society. The debate on civil society in Africa became popular in the 1990s, after the frustrations experienced by the structural adjustment policy of the World Bank and the IMF. Thus, some people argue that the role of civil society, and NGOs in particular, was consciously emphasised by the World Bank and the IMF which wanted to turn people's attention away from their failure.
From the viewpoint of African indigenous societies state and capitalist economic system were both imposed from outside by European powers. In analysing civil society in Africa we first need to recognise this alienated character of state and economic system. G. W. F. Hegel clearly recognised autonomous character of civil society from state, and saw civil society as an arena for realising private economic interests. K. Marx followed the latter point and regarded civil society as bourgeois economic relations. In contrast, A. Gramsci differed civil society from ecnomonic relations, arguing that both civil society and political society constituted the state. In African debate J. -F. Bayart sees civil society as fundamentally confronting with state, while V. Azarya stresses cooperative relations between civil society and state.
Some people like Kiyoaki Hirata stresses the ‘private’ character of civil society against the ‘public’ character of state. P. Ekeh argues that there are two publics in Africa, primordial public and civic public, and that dialectic relations between the two publics constitute African politics. His argument is important in that it indicates the existence of something ‘public’ other than state. Others like M. Bratton and M. Swilling put civil society somewhere between private and public. We could call this the third realm as ‘common’ realm, where civil society is situated.
The roots of civil society organisations in South Africa date back to the Apartheid period. While white people enjoyed a liberal democratic system to a certain stage with various autonomous organisations within their community, various black organisations including trade unions, student oraganisations and civics were developed rapidly at the very end of Apartheid period. Since the establishment of ANC government in 1994 civil society has been officially recognised and has participated in the policy formulation process. Among various civil society organisations NGOs are most active, the number of which are estimated as between thirty and eighty thousand.
Civil Society will continue to play an important role in South Africa. Yet, we also should recognise that diversification and stratification among various civil society organisations is now emerging. The corporatist negotiation system between labour, capital and state like NEDLAC even may have a danger of excluding poorer segments of the society, considering the fact that 43% of Africans are simply unemployed. It is a serious question for both state and civil society who will stand proxy for the poorest of the poor.