AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Jacob Zuma

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Friday, May 9th, 2014

Admit it, you didn’t expect the Economic Freedom Fighters to do so well

At first sight, the results for national and provincial elections in South Africa may suggest that little has changed. The ANC still got more than 60% of the national vote (despite its poor leadership); the largest parliamentary opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, did not significantly increase its share of the national vote (it is still very

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

20 Years of Freedom: Zackie Achmat on South Africa’s 5th democratic elections

Throughout the 2000s, Zackie Achmat led what was probably the most recognizable multi-class, mass social movement in South Africa, outside of the wide support enjoyed by the ANC or its trade union ally. Though the Treatment Action...

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...

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

The Day Jacob Zuma Lost Control of the Party?

One way of looking at Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s words at the end of the farcical Nelson Mandela’s memorial service is that of an angry patriarch embarrassed by the actions of errant adolescents. The other is that...

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

South Africa’s a Continent

South African president Jacob Zuma’s visit to Malawi in August appears to have renewed his appreciation for the quality of the roads network in Gauteng, South Africa’s smallest yet wealthiest province. Speaking at a listening session in...

Monday, August 12th, 2013

The ‘premature’ launch of South Africa’s second 24-hour news channel

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)–which commands the largest TV audience inside that country–launched its 24-hour television news channel at the beginning of August. It’s the second homegrown 24-hour news channel–the other, ENCA (ENews Channel Africa), which...

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Julius Malema’s next move

As South Africa’s 2014 general elections approach and the ruling ANC continues to weaken under Jacob Zuma’s leadership, a host of new political parties and formations are beginning to enter the political scene — from Mamphela Ramphele’s Agang...

Friday, December 28th, 2012

10 Contested Images of 2012

Remember that little video campaign called #Kony2012? Yeah, we wish we could forget too. Few videos have reached the magnitude of pestilence that the non-profit Invisible Children’s video achieved this year. By transforming a complex regional crisis...

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Why would the BBC care what FW de Klerk thinks?

Reporting on President Jacob Zuma’s landslide re-election as leader of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday, the BBC sought the opinion of former apartheid ruler F. W. de Klerk. De Klerk “… told the BBC...

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Waiting for Superman*

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian reported a few days ago that the secretary of Shabir Shaik (the Jacob Zuma associate comvicted of fraud) once testified in court that her boss “has to carry a jar of Vaseline...

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

For South African news media, to be ignored is a fate worse than censorship

Silence in a relationship speaks volumes and in the relationship between the governing African National Congress and the South African news media, the former’s stony silence about the Mail and Guardian’s recent spread into the finances of...

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

When Nelson Mandela goes

Yesterday we tweeted my friend Herman Wasserman’s guide to the media on how to cover Nelson Mandela’s hospitalization (it’s good advice if you’re a journalist). This morning I asked Nathan Geffen, a South African media activist (and author) whether...

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...

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

The New Yorker covers violence against lesbians in South Africa

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, an African-American reporter based in South Africa, has penned a piece in this week’s New Yorker titled “Violated Hopes” (subscription required) that covers the contentious topic of sexual violence directed against black South African lesbians....

Friday, May 25th, 2012

This is not about art

Between the relentless media coverage, the twitter deluge, the pronouncement by a South African judge (“This is a matter of great national importance”), and declarations by the South African President’s daughters about “the straw that broke the...

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

The Jacob Zuma Era

Coming on June 1 is Northwestern University journalist professor Doug Foster’s new book, After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Postapartheid South Africa. The book is published by WW Norton in New York City. The title is unoriginal (Financial...

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.

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

The meaning of February 11, 1990

Today, 22 years ago, Nelson Mandela walked free from a prison outside Cape Town. Four years later, in April, the ANC won South Africa’s first democratic elections and in May 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s...

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Fly-by-night Journalism

At best they express an acute deficiency in generosity. A little worse is the ignorant display of ahistory. But the most irritating for me of specially the (UK) Guardian’s pre-ANC centenary commentary is the inability...

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...

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Malema time

The levels of existing poverty, unemployment and material inequality in South Africa are politically and socially unsustainable. This much has always been true. For the country to flourish, democracy –in that well worn cliché –must deliver a...

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...

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

The Julius Malema Project

Hein Marais assesses last week’s election results in South Africa: The election outcome presents the ANC with little more than temporary respite. Disgruntlement and community protests will continue, and the party’s authority will be tested, not least...

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 12th, 2011

What’s So Funny

  Cartoonist Andy Mason recently published a history of the art form in South Africa. What’s So Funny? Under the skin of South African Cartooning is the only book of its kind that traces the origins and...

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

What to make of Julius Malema

Julius Malema, the young ANC leader recently described by Winnie Mandela as “the future President of South Africa” can get a rise out of people. And he is often a stand-in for all kinds of prejudices. As...

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

We are all Andries Tatane

By An Anonymous Reader South Africa is far from what Tunisia was like pre-revolution (for one it is not governed by a one-party police state; or it does not conducts mass arrests of its opponents; and if you...

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Jacob Zuma Time

Sean Jacobs Note from a friend who closely watches the South African political scene: Below is a JZ post-Durban posting ,...

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Skin Deep Politics

I finally had a chance to read Charlayne Hunter-Gault’s profile of Jacob Zuma that appeared in “The New Yorker” on the eve of the World Cup final. You need a password to read the piece. But don’t...

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

The Emperor has no clothes

How do we make sense of the current direction of the ANC, described yesterday by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as purveyors of “gutter politics.”  There’s a lot of sound and fury and nonsense passing as analysis. Much of...

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