AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Marikana

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Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The winners and losers of the platinum strike in South Africa

On January 23 this year the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), a firebrand breakaway of the COSATU-affiliated National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), took an estimated 50,000 mineworkers to the plateaus of Rustenburg to demand a R12,500 (about US$1,250) basic salary.

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Live from Grahamstown

Every winter, for 11 days in early July,  the sleepy South African college town of Grahamstown comes alive with art. Artists from all over the world swarm to the tiny town, and every nook and cranny is packed...

Friday, May 30th, 2014

“Miners Shot Down;” a haunting and emotional documentary

When Mzoxolo Magidiwana, a miner from Marikana in South Africa’s Northwest Province, traces his family lineage of miners at Lonmin Mines, he invokes in me memories of how I narrowly escaped becoming a miner, breaking the lineage...

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...

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

We send our Tokoloshe to battle with those trying to make us forget the atrocities of Marikana

The Tokoloshe emerges from its secret lair. Like a thief in the night, it creates a mirror image of ourselves in some of the most contrary of places and then instantly vanishes. These living pictures (below) take...

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...

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Marikana Memorial

This time last year, platinum workers (all black) at a mine in South Africa's North West Province, went on an illegal strike against workplace racism, bad conditions, low wages and their ineffective trade union. The standoff started...

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

The New York Times “debates” South Africa’s future

I have no idea why I was thrilled to see a debate on the chief maladies of post-apartheid South Africa on the New York Times’ website. I honestly should’ve known better, but I just get excited whenever the Times covers...

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Popstars, Politicians and Personhood: A Conversation with Masello Motana

South African actress/singer/writer Masello Motana has had a career in the entertainment business that many would envy. She has played a leading role in a number of South African television shows as well as in a mainstream...

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

The New York Times: Counting bodies and column inches

Since Jeffrey Gettleman’s beloved machetes remain sheathed after a peaceful (and therefore thus far apparently uninteresting) Kenyan election, America’s paper of records put Africa’s other most important story on its front page yesterday. That’s right, Oscar and Reeva....

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

The Book of Marikana

Guest Post by Christopher Webb The day after the police shot 34 miners at Marikana a small group gathered outside the gates of parliament in Cape Town. Barely 100 people, holding signs calling for answers and justice,...

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Extreme Makeover: The Patri$e Mot$epe Edition

Perhaps it is unfair to be skeptical of the announcement a few weeks ago by South Africa’s first black dollar billionaire, Patrice Motsepe, that he will donate half of the value of his family’s assets to charity...

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Here’s what some South African artists make of the country’s politics

To get the pulse of a country journalists usually go for political elites or the “man on the street.” Rarely do they ask artists what they think about politics (and we’re not talking when a question about...

Monday, January 28th, 2013

British TV news airs footage refuting South African police claims about murdered Marikana miners. Where was the South African media?

Five months after the Marikana Massacre in South Africa, footage of police action at the ‘killing koppie‘ has finally reached the public. This footage somewhat predictably wasn’t brought to our attention by the local media, who...

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Why the rhino is Newsmaker of the Year in South Africa

I first heard of the National Press Club (NPC) via Twitter when the news that they had declared the rhino the newsmaker of 2012 hit social media. My immediate reaction, probably like many other journalists, was a...

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

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...

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Renouncing the Rhino

I used to like Rhinos, I never loved them, but I thought they were pretty cool. I once even saw a couple in the wild with my parents in Kruger National Park. Sadly, like so many other...

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...

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...

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

While we were tweeting…

The month of August came and went explosively in South Africa, with 34 striking miners killed in a hail of police bullets. Ten more have died in the protracted strike (2 police, 2 security guards, and an...