Protesters call for the removal of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma as the country commemorates the anniversary of the country's first democratic elections in Cape Town, April 2016.
Mike Hutchings / Reuters

South Africa is in the middle of a period of political and economic unrest unlike anything the country has experienced since the end of apartheid in 1994. In March 2015, students at the University of Cape Town launched the #Rhodesmustfall campaign, aimed at bringing down a statue of the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes. Since then, students have regularly stormed the nation’s universities, labor unions have held strikes, and populist social movements have taken to the streets. The protesters have called for wholesale reform of the country’s economy and directly challenged the ruling African National Congress. And the ANC itself is in crisis, divided between supporters and detractors of South African President Jacob Zuma. On March 31, the country’s highest court ruled that Zuma had failed to uphold the constitution when he ignored a state order to repay government funds used in a $23 million upgrade to his private residence at Nkandla

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  • JESSICA PIOMBO is an Associate Professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. All opinions are the author’s own and do not reflect official positions or statements of the U.S. government. CHERREL AFRICA is an Associate Professor and Deputy Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Economic and Management Sciences Faculty at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
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