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Since South Africa’s founding in 1910 after the union of two British and two Afrikaner (Dutch settlers) colonies following the South African War, security and surveillance have been constant preoccupations for both the South African state and its citizens. Under apartheid—a form of enforced racial separation that began in 1948 with the election of the Afrikaner nationalist National Party—much of the state’s surveillance activity was geared toward suppressing African political mobilization. Following the country’s democratization in 1994, surveillance efforts have been primarily geared toward crime fighting instead. During both eras, however, the formal state security apparatus has existed side by side with extra-state security and surveillance providers like vigilante groups, community crime patrols, and private security companies.

Security and Surveillance Under Apartheid

Under apartheid, the vast majority ...

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