11219
8 mins read

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…..

7338
16 mins read

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……

4902
5 mins read

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 chancellor (equal to an American college president) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Habib just released his new book South Africa’s Suspended Revolution.

5098
6 mins read

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…..

1496
8 mins read

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…..

6 mins read

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…..

6089
15 mins read

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 Soweto uprising. From outside South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) stepped up its armed struggle and sanctions campaigns; inside the country the United Democratic Front (UDF)—a loose federation of women’s, youth, and civic organizations founded in 1983 in Cape Town as a response to tepid government reforms—coordinated rent, service and consumer boycotts; and a new national trade union federation privileged political struggle. The state responded with more “reforms,” states of emergency, proxy wars, assassinations, and mass detentions. Today legal apartheid is a distant memory for most South Africans.