8 minutes 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 minutes 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…..

15 minutes 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.

7 minutes read

Aesthetics of the Phallus

Yesterday, Goodman Gallery emailed a press release to its huge recipient list, announcing a “joint settlement with [the] ANC.” After closed meetings, conducted in “order to establish common ground and…..

4 minutes read

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…..

3 minutes read

Mandela and the ANC

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