AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Julius Malema

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Saturday, December 14th, 2013

The two mutually irreconcilable Nelson Mandelas

Nelson Mandela’s post-presidency saw the rise of a larger-than-life caricature of himself, one that somehow managed to be smaller than both the real accomplishments of the man as revolutionary and politician, and an apolitical, often commercial, valorization of the failures of a lengthy transition to democracy that never seems to amount to liberation.

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters and the South African Left

In geographer Gill Hart’s excellent Rethinking the South Africa crisis, she points to a rather curious phenomenon as part of her engagement with the figure of one Julius Malema and the ‘populist’ turn he represents. She notes...

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Ayn Rand in South Africa

Prince Albert, a backwater town in South Africa’s Karoo region, was the site of a truly world historic event on October 20th, 2013. The event in question was the official launch of the latest addition to our...

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Zimbabwe is a Victim of Outsiders’ Fantasies

In 2008 or so, I registered for a Masters degree at Wits University with a rather interesting research component that I never got to finish. My thesis was to be an examination of the coverage of Zimbabwe...

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, March 8th, 2013

The media caricature of Hugo Chávez

The mainstream media has been in overdrive working lockstep to uphold their ridiculous caricature of Hugo Chávez. The campaign has led to some pretty desperate and shallow displays of journalism. There’s the AP reporter who reported that...

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...

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.

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...

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

The Hall of Shame

Before Boima rides us out this year with West Africa’s best dance tunes, we couldn’t resist including a post with some of the lowlights of 2011. Colonial Themed Weddings New South Africans can’t help themselves. The white...

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...

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

‘Julius Malema sets the cultural agenda’

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

The Dutch Disease

What is it with Dutch cultural elites and South Africa? The last time I travelled two hours to watch an opera, it was on horseback. A self-declared pig farmer I was staying with was invited to attend...

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

‘Nigeria’s own Donald Trump’

MTV Base, the music channel’s African subsidiary carried on satellite TV, have been making these upbeat video features, where a group of upwardly mobile young Africans–most based on the continent–interview leading businesspeople, entertainers and a few public...

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Pseudo-cosmopolitanism

More from that 2008 Comparative Literature interview with my favorite Communist poet, Jeremy Cronin. Bua Komanisi: … A sense of audience has always been important for me. When I write a poem, or when I go back...

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...

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 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...

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

It’s Time To Be Offended

If the murder of Andries Tatane is a watershed moment in public perceptions of state violence after Apartheid, it is also teaching us a thing or two about South Africa’s media. Had this police murder happened in...

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

‘The Legend of Polokwane’

No not the guy on the left.

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Bloody Agent*

We know Jacob Zuma can dance. But can Julius Malema, the future President of South Africa (ha!), dance? At least we we know that neither Malema or his colleagues at the ANC Youth League understand social media....

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...

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Not Julius Malema’s Youth League

I’ve blogged before (at my old blog address) about the Johannesburg fashion movement, The Smarteez. (More exclusive than the mass outlet Amakipkip.) Now Dazed Magazine have discovered them. For its June special “South Africa” issue (Africans still...

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...

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Hugh Masekela the critic

In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News Hugh Masekela, who will perform at the opening ceremony of the 2010 World, speaks the obvious about the long-term meaning of the World Cup.  “The World Cup...

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Re: Julius Malema

By now you’ve seen some version of this footage–in this case from a South African TV channel, ETV–of the events earlier today when Julius Malema, the leader of the ANC’s Youth League, kicked a BBC journalist, Jonah...

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Till Jesus Comes

Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s President, may not after all, rule as he promised “till Jesus comes“*.

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