AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Helen Zille

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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

Monday, March 17th, 2014

The Undemocratic Alliance

I do a monthly radio show for Jacobin Radio. Listen at the link below as I discuss the South African "opposition" party, the Democratic Alliance's politics with another AIAC'er T.O. Molefe. In the first half I sketch...

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

A ‘credible political opposition’ in South Africa

South African writer and journalist, William Gumede, in a contribution to The Guardian asserts that “South Africa desperately needs a relevant, credible and non-racial alternative to the dominant ANC” if “the infant democracy to fully...

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

The day South African news media ate crow

South Africa’s official opposition the Democratic Alliance (DA) wasn’t the only one left exposed and scrambling to save face when Agang leader Mamphela Ramphele decided to withdraw from a proposed deal that would have seen her pack...

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Mamphela had a Party

A star that shone too brightly has been snuffed out before its time. On Tuesday, not even a year since its launch, and months shy of contesting its first – and South Africa’s fourth – democratic election,...

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Shameless Self Promotion: T.O. Molefe makes New York Times debut

The New York Times gave us Kristof, Friedman and Brooks. We gave them the Rt Hon T.O. Molefe. Africa is a Country's T.O. Molefe, one of two dozen new columnists, made his debut in The International New...

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Mapping neoliberalism

The recent release of crime statistics by the national Minister of Safety and Security Nathi Mthethwa has reaffirmed Cape Town as the most dangerous city in the country. Most South Africans, however, still think that Johannesburg and...

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

The Poo Fighters

Around the world, people struggle for adequate, decent toilets. In schools and prisons across the United States, women struggle to find decent and private toilets. Women farm workers struggle and fail to find anything like a toilet...

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Yes, some Africans do admire Margaret Thatcher

Today is Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, to which guests have been asked to “wear full day ceremonial dress without swords.” Remember when we blogged about Margaret Thatcher’s terrible legacy? Read it again here and here. We were emphatic...

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Mamphela Ramphele has a Party

Apathetic liberal hearts in South Africa (and some in the mainstream media) will beat a little faster, but fleetingly, for the cause of “Agang” (‘Let us build’ in Sesotho; though some claim it means something else completely),...

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...

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Cape Town’s make-believe politics

Cape Town’s local politics seems to be getting more and more distressing. Last week the Rondebosch Common, a public plot of open land in the leafy suburb of Rondebosch in Cape Town showed a bit more activity...

Monday, February 6th, 2012

More Benetton Politics

I swore I wasn’t going to add a thing to the discussion about the idiotic poster campaign by the student/youth wing of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance about a future non-racial love-fest. I have remained shtum (yiddish...

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Benetton Politics

South Africa’s Democratic Alliance, usually very slick and media savvy, have really outdone themselves with a new campaign by its youth wing. Fresh out of leader Helen Zille’s troublesome ‘AIDS Gestapo’ views and calling the ever disgruntled...

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Helen Zille’s ‘AIDS Gestapo’

Just as South Africa is recovering from the havoc wrought by former President Thabo Mbeki’s AIDS denialism, now there’s a new politician spouting all sorts of nonsense – this time it’s Helen Zille, the leader of the...

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Shameless Self Promotion

Occasionally we have to promote our day jobs. Here are some excerpts from an op-ed that occasional AIAC blogger Herman Wasserman and I wrote last week for a South African publication on the latest manufactured scandal...

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Parachute Journalism

In my previous life as a South African political analyst, I would spend long hours on the telephone to a ‘political risk analyst’ in New York, working for a major international investment advisory group.  The conversations were...

Monday, July 18th, 2011

The people of Blikkiesdorp

For at least 3 years now South African photographer Lizane Louw have chronicled the lives of the people of Blikkiesdorp (translation: Tin Town), a temporary relocation camp in Delft–not to be confused with the Dutch town and...

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

The Ideology of the Democratic Alliance

This piece, below, on the politics of the South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (led by Helen Zille, above), was written by Jane Duncan (a journalism professor at Rhodes University) well before the recent local government...

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...

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Animal Farm

In Cape Town this January, Ken Salo invited Jessica and I to presentations by summer abroad students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They were presenting their findings on urban inequalities in the city. A group...

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

This is Freedom

In Helen Zille's Western Cape, MTV is currently filming, "Clifton Shores," a reality TV series about a group of mostly white, young people (four Americans and three South Africans "who serve as their guides to life in...

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Freedom’s in the Toilet

Ahead of local government elections in South Africa–scheduled for May–the Democratic Alliance, which governs Cape Town and the Western Cape, spins about its “service delivery successes.” Of course they’re taking of downtown Cape Town and its surrounding,...

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The Uprising

“The Uprising of Hangberg” is filmmaking at its incendiary best. Part agitprop piece, testimonies, campaign document, and popular history, the film recounts the violent events of September 2010 when municipal police on the orders of the Cape Town’s...

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

How to go to the toilet in South Africa

Residents of a shack settlement in Khayelitsha–that’s an area of cheap housing and squatter shacks about 20 miles from the Cape Town’s city center –”were provided communal toilets by the City of Cape Town on condition they...

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Extreme Makeover

So Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the last leader of the racist National Party (that was the party who invented Apartheid and governed South Africa from 1948 till democracy came) is the favorite for the United Nations’ top climate...

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM 2010?

Just as the football at the 2010 World Cup will be great, someone will make lots of money. It is not going to be local businesses for sure. This excellent 13 minute short documentary (“Trademark 2010″) for...