2639
1 min read

#WhiteHistoryMonth: The American reservation became the South African reserve

In 1993 Mahmood Mamdani first went to South Africa to study apartheid as a form of the state: ‘I realized that basic institutions of apartheid had been created long before the name and the state came into being. The ethnic cleansing of the African population of South Africa began as early as 1913 when the Natives Land Act declared 87% of the land for whites and divided the remaining 13% into so tribal homelands into which to herd the native population. These homelands were called “reserves.” I wondered why the name sounded so uncannily like the American “reservation.” ‘

2284
1 min read

File Under: Mahmood Mamdani on South Africa’s much vaunted Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Because the (South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission) focused on perpetrators and overlooked the beneficiaries of mass violations of rights abuses – such as the pass laws and forced expulsions – it allowed the vast majority of white South Africans to go away thinking that they had little to do with these atrocities. Indeed, most did learn nothing new. The alternative would have been for the TRC to show white South Africans that no matter what their political views – whether they were for, against or indifferent to apartheid – they were all its beneficiaries, whether it was a matter of the residential areas where they lived, the jobs they held, the schools they went to, the taxes they did or did not pay, or the cheap labour they employed.

1517
5 mins read

Ronald Reagan’s Africa

Ronald Reagan will be celebrated again today (his birthday is February 6, 1911) as a world statesman and champion of democracy (mostly by Republicans and Conservatives in the United States),…..

2581
3 mins read

The most influential African thinker alive

At the end of 2011 we contemplated asking you, dear reader, who you think was the most influential African thinker alive. We abandoned the idea for a while because of our…..

3 mins read

'A World Class African University'

Late last year (in November) The New York Times ran a news piece on how the University of Cape Town is “now resplendently multiracial” despite the paper noting that white…..

1 min read

Saving Darfur

More than a year later these lines–written by journalist Eamon Kircher-Allen as part of the reaction to Mahmood Mamdani’s “Saviors and Survivors,” a study of Darfur Now’s campaigns and the…..