The interface between tradition and modern in postapartheid South Africa: an outline of the Kekana family succession dispute and their encounter with the Platinum Reef Resource mine.
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The terms traditional and modern and the processes thereof are often discussed in isolation; as if they do not intersect. Some scholars have argued that chieftaincy, as a traditional form of governance in South Africa cannot coexist with modern democratic governance. Additional discussions have separated agrarian activities from modern economy. This article seeks to show the complexities of the terms modern and traditional, the institutions they characterise as well as the processes that are involved, essentially to demonstrate the fluidity of these terms. The familial chieftaincy dispute that erupted in 2001 between two Kekana candidates with personalities, backgrounds and histories that are inextricably bound up in controversies that are not of their making, is central to this paper. The Mokopane local government and the Limpopo provincial government officials arbitrated the dispute and then awarded one of the contenders with slightly more modern aspirations and whose father was an ally of the apartheid and democratic administrations, the position of chief. Also significant to this paper is the encounter between the chief and Platinum Reef Resource (Plat- Reef ) mine. The chief in this article is key to the local economy of Mokopane. He, along with the local and provincial government are responsible for approving any economic activities that Plat- Reef seek to embark on. This creates a complex intersection of a traditional and a modern institution, systems and processes that are conventionally understood to be dissociated.