THE UNIVERSITY in Africa and democratic citizenship
In the past two decades, a great number of African nations embarked on a political transition from single-party authoritarianism, military rule and presidential strongman rule, towards economic and political liberalisation and democratisation, embracing competitive, multi-party electoral systems within an enabling framework of political and civil rights. Various comparative indicators of democracy and good governance indicate, however, that the democratisation of state and society in Africa is an ongoing project; democratic governance in Africa remains constrained by serious flaws. While well-designed political institutions and processes constitute the necessary ‘hardware’ of a democratic system, democracy requires democrats to consolidate. Higher education is recognised as key to delivering the knowledge requirements for political development. It is essential for the design and operation of key political institutions of a modern political system, from the judiciary to the legislative and executive arms of government, the top staffing of the state bureaucracy as well as key institutions of civil society. Moreover, public higher education in democracies is typically mandated to contribute to the development of an enlightened, critically constructive citizenry.