a young democracy
South Africa is an interesting intermediary in global north/south bifurcation because its particular postcolonial context is shaped by its legacy of settler colonialism and the struggle against apartheid.
South Africa is a relatively young democracy, resource poor by global standards, with a large population of impoverished black Africans with urgent unmet health needs and robust activist communities that have mobilized around demands for access to medicine. Thus, it is an obvious locale for the interventions that tend to travel under the rubric of 'global health'.
At the same time, South Africa is highly-developed by African standards, with a rich history of innovation in biomedicine - such as the world's first human heart transplant, in 1967 - and a now-multiracial middle-class with the education, resources, and global connections to plausibly participate in global science.
In contemporary aspirations for South African science, a potential exists for those two South Africas to come together through science in the service of the people. Post-apartheid South Africa is a particularly rich site for the analysis of the allure and the difficulty of the creation of science (universally applicable knowledge) that is democratic (accountable to particular publics).