AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Sunday, April 27th, 2014

20 Years of Freedom: The post-1994 power brokers and black liberation

On May 7th South Africans go to the polls to vote for national and provincial representatives (the majority party gets to pick the President and the Cabinet). In the lead up to the election, we’ll carry a few pieces. The series starts today, the 20th anniversary of the April 1994 elections–the country’s first democratic elections in

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Three Myths about Mandela Worth Busting

I sometimes feel Nelson Mandela is in need of rescuing, trapped in some pretty bizarre narratives that have nothing to do with his own story or politics. Full disclosure: I freely admit that Nelson Mandela is the...

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

The most superficial and platitudinous politician in South Africa

If leaked reports to local media are to be believed, Mmusi Maimane is one of the two young turks vying for the future leadership spot of South Africa’s ‘official opposition party’–the Democratic Alliance. The spot will open once...

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

100 Years of Land Dispossession in South Africa

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Natives Land Act, which ratified and legalized the exclusion of  South Africa’s black majority from land ownership in favor of the white minority. The result was “just 7% of agricultural...

Monday, September 9th, 2013

The South African Compromise

At this week’s Open Book Festival in Cape Town, one of South Africa’s many literary events, one of the most anticipated non-fiction writers was Adam Habib. A veteran political scientist, erstwhile Trotskyist, and as of recently, vice...

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Little Stan Greenberg is Dead

A dear friend and former colleague, Andy Davis, used to giggle at the sight of Stan Greenberg and I rushing through the hallowed halls of Shell House (the ANC’s former headquarters) together and talking numbers and strategy....

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Popstars, Politicians and Personhood: A Conversation with Masello Motana

South African actress/singer/writer Masello Motana has had a career in the entertainment business that many would envy. She has played a leading role in a number of South African television shows as well as in a mainstream...

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

The View from the Cape

When legal apartheid finally ended in 1994, South Africa’s new democracy faced one overwhelming challenge: to improve the lives of the country’s poor, or at least to maintain the hope that the future would be better. Yet...

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

The trouble with South Africa

I’ve been puzzled and not a little disturbed by the lack of empathy on South African social media with the horrific events at Marikana, where 34 protesting miners were killed by police on August 16th. Yes, someone has...

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Struggles over memory in South Africa

Struggles over memory are commonplace in contemporary South Africa. The 1980s are an especially contested. That decade witnessed a mass resurgence of popular struggles that picked up a thread of civil opposition going back to the 1976...

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Aesthetics of the Phallus

Yesterday, Goodman Gallery emailed a press release to its huge recipient list, announcing a “joint settlement with ANC.” After closed meetings, conducted in “order to establish common ground and a basis for resolution” in which all...

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Julius Malema’s History

Last week, after Malema was expelled from South Africa’s ruling party, we went back and looked at our archives to see how we’ve blogged about him and his politics. Here’s a sample.

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Mandela and the ANC

Nelson Mandela elicits divergent, incorrect and unrealistic reactions among his detractors and supporters.

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Shameless Self-Promotion: Sean (on Al Jazeera) on the 100th anniversary of the ANC

On Thursday, the Al Jazeera English program, "The Stream," discussed the 100th anniversary of South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress or ANC. I was a guest on the 30 minute live show. It proved to...

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Putting up with being insulted by Malema

The South African Civil Society Information Service (SACSIS) keeps bringing it. This is not the handwringing of The Daily Maverick (another, more commercial online news portal from there) passing for insight. Most of the op-eds on SACSIS...

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Arthur Goldreich

Hamba Kahle Umkhonto.

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Perspective on 2011 SA Local Elections

If you’re tired of the nonsense published in The New York Times or on the BBC website about yesterday’s local elections in South Africa or can’t bear the spin that will come from ANC (this points to...

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

The ANC Goes Pop

In May South Africans go to the polls to vote for new local councils. With few surprises, the result should be predictable. But the parties are going through the electioneering motions. This includes coming up with election...

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Strawberries and Peri-Peri

The website of South Africa’s ruling party was down for a minute after hackers took it over. The site is back up again. But given that lately ANC leaders make no distinction between political office and running businesses,...

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Project Runway

South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, is trying it’s hand at fashion. Check out the first jacket, a hideous number, labeled as, presumably, Jacob Zuma’s favorite attire. Serious.

Monday, October 5th, 2009

BANTU EDUCATION

Instead of another story on the white refugee crisis, “The New York Times” recently did some real reporting on the state of education for the majority of the country’s black schoolchildren. And they did not just blame...