Consensus as Democracy in Africa | National Inquiry Services Centre

Consensus as Democracy in Africa

Consensus as Democracy in Africa
By Bernard Matolino
Size: 168 x 240 mm
Pages: 240 pages
ISBN 13: 978-1-920033-31-6
Published: October 2018
Publishers: NISC (Pty) Ltd for African Humanities Program
Recommended Retail Price: R 325.00 inc. VAT
Cover: Paperback

About the book

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Some philosophers on the African continent and beyond are convinced that consensus, as a polity, represents the best chance for Africa to fully democratise.

In Consensus as Democracy in Africa, Bernard Matolino challenges the basic assumptions built into consensus as a social and political theory. Central to his challenge to the claimed viability of consensus as a democratic system are three major questions: Is consensus genuinely superior to its majoritarian counterpart? Is consensus itself truly a democratic system? Is consensus sufficiently different from the one-party system? In taking up these issues and others closely associated with them, Matolino shows that consensus as a system of democracy encounters several challenges that make its viability highly doubtful.

Matolino then attempts a combination of an understanding of an authentic mode of democracy with African reality to work out what a more desirable polity would be for the continent.

Reviewer's Comments: 

‘… both an enquiry into the conceptual meaning and coherence of the claims made for consensual democracy and […] a reflection on the ways in which the precolonial past informs the political choices faced by the African continent.’ – Professor Andrew Nash, Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town

Part of the African Humanities Series

About the Authors

Bernard Matolino is an associate professor in philosophy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus, South Africa. He is the author of Personhood in African Philosophy (2014).


Chapter 1        Democracy by consensus

Chapter 2        Conceptualising consensus

Chapter 3        Democracy and consensus

Chapter 4        Political parties in consensus

Chapter 5        African aspirations, democracy and African democracy

Order Enquiries

You may contact NISC to purchase this book, however other purchasing options are available. Please see ordering details below:


Order online through from the African Books Collective, Amazon or order from your local book store.


Order from the African Books Collective.