“These violent delights have violent ends”: Good subjects of everyday South African violence


  • Anthony Collins La Trobe University, Australia and Durban University of Technology, South Africa
  • Simóne Plüg




Violence, Crime, Subjectivity, Vigilante, South Africa


While the deaths of Mlungisi Nxumalo and Lucky Sefali barely registered in the media and public consciousness, they can be read as an exemplar of South African violence.  The more closely we examine this incident, the more difficult it becomes to distinguish those fighting for justice, and those undermining it. The imagined boundaries between law-abiding citizen and criminal become unclear, as does the distinction between the use of force to protect citizens, and the use of violence to damage the social fabric. This leads to critique of the conventional attributions of criminality and ideas about effective criminal justice, and instead to reframing the problem of violence as one of the construction of certain kind of subject, persons for whom the normalised exercise of a variety forms of unrecognised or legitimated violence is part of the texture of everyday life.



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Author Biography

Anthony Collins, La Trobe University, Australia and Durban University of Technology, South Africa

Anthony Collins is an interdisciplinary cultural theorist and human rights activist working on violence in South Africa. They are currently the co-ordinator of the Crime, Justice and Legal Studies Honours programme at La Trobe University (Australia), and honorary professor at Rhodes University and Durban University of Technology where they developed award-winning courses on violence and trauma.