2418
8 mins read

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.

4636
8 mins read

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 that for a change the far left and liberal right’s politics converge in the sense that they both share the same critique of the ex-Youth League president and current commander-in-chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

2861
6 mins read

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…..

5127
5 mins read

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…..

1449
6 mins read

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……

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…..

6086
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.

4 mins 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…..

8 mins read

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 to reposition their lens from caricatures of African political life.