AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Nelson Mandela

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Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The Naked Woman on Nelson Mandela Square

On Monday, a woman walked towards the giant Mandela statue at Nelson Mandela square in Sandton, Johannesburg and stripped naked until security guard came to remove her as demonstrated in the cellphone images that were captured and distributed on social media by bystanders. It is not clear who this woman is or why she did

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

So, an Israeli company made fun of a mentally ill person to promote its product

When Thamsanqa Jantjie first burst onto the international scene he caused a media frenzy. A fraudulent sign language interpreter who swindled his way into Mandela’s funeral and rubbed shoulders with world leaders in an event that was...

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...

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Ruud Gullit and the Struggle for South African Freedom

Ruud Gullit was more than a total footballer. It was not for no reason that the late Nelson Mandela praised him as ‘a source of tremendous inspiration for young people, not only in Holland or Europe, but...

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

What it is to be Winnie Mandela

I just finished reading a fascinating appetizer to John Carlin’s new book on Nelson Mandela, Knowing Mandela, and it set me wondering what might be the place of solitude in the narration of South African history. Some of...

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Winnie Mandela on the South African exceptionalism embodied by Nelson Mandela

Mandela was extricated from the masses. He was made an idol, almost Jesus Christ! This is nonsense, a lot of nonsense. The freedom of this country was attained by the masses of this country. It was attained...

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Nelson Mandela and how we talk about the state in Africa

The first point to recognize is that most states in Africa were formed as a consequence of independence struggles. State power followed long and bitter anti-colonial struggles, with the promise not only of building a nation, but...

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

File under: #SMH Mandela Moments

Out of courtesy for Nelson Mandela’s memory (and the movement that he represented), we decided to hold any posts of #SMH (that’s Shake My Head) moments (basically occasions when you simply ask yourself “Why?”), till after the...

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

To Come Back from Qunu

I do not have a background in the struggle. Unlike the many people who over the past week shared their stories of their personal interactions with Nelson Mandela during the struggle, my only brief meeting with Mandela...

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Nelson Mandela and the Dutch

Shortly after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela embarked on a six week tour across Europe. As the Dutch newspaper NRC mentioned last week, he initially declined the invitation to include the Netherlands in this tour, this...

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Mandela was the Last Founding Father in Africa’s Decolonization

The death of Nelson Mandela has provoked an outpouring of mourning, celebration, and commentary around the world that is unprecedented for an African leader. Glowing tributes have gushed from world leaders and major magazines and newspapers have...

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Burying Comrade Nelson Mandela

Part of the difficulty of organizing this ritual is this: nearly 20 years after apartheid we are scattered generations with diverse fates. We have lived long enough after 1994 to not only be the oppressed. We also...

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

The Mandela Legacy

Madiba’s example of forgiveness, reconciliation, and humility are inseparable from his unwavering commitment to combat white supremacy, and promote equality and justice. That commitment, conveyed in his leadership, provided a beacon to the negotiations to replace apartheid...

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...

Friday, December 13th, 2013

The ‘Fake Interpreter’

A few days ago, when the story of the “fake interpreter” broke in the South African media, the ANC denied any knowledge of who he was and how he got to be on the podium, signing while...

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

We embarrassed Nelson Mandela

I have really been struggling with feeling numb about Nelson Mandela’s physical death. Part of that is because I have felt for months now that his spirit had already gone and that it was just his body...

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...

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

The problem with Hollywood Mandelas

More important than the inaccuracies (and makeup malfunctions) is what "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" (which stars Idris Elba) erases. Among its elisions are the Cold War, communism (the South African Communist Party recently confirmed that Mandela...

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Nelson Mandela Did Not Walk Alone

In the early 1990s I was teaching Economics in a fifth floor classroom at Khanya College in downtown Johannesburg. During one of my early lessons at Khanya I was in the middle of explaining supply curves when...

Monday, December 9th, 2013

The photographer who showed Nelson Mandela to the world

In 1994, the ANC commissioned South African photographer George Hallett to document the electoral process and first democratic government. During the year in which Hallett covered the electoral process, his images of Mandela were published in newspapers around...

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Should the Left celebrate Nelson Mandela?

Over the past few days some have queried the near universal sadness and admiration with which the left is responding to Mandela’s death. His government was to the right of its voters, they point out, and co-existed...

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Malawian intellectual Thandika Mkandawire: The death of Mandela marks the triumphant end of Africa’s liberation struggle

It is difficult to write about Nelson Mandela without sounding sycophantic or as if engaged in uncritical hero worship. Mandela’s stature and personality left little room for other sentiments other than those of profound admiration and gratitude....

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Songs for Mandela: Weekend Music Break 64

This post combines Steffan’s wonderful playlist of South African tunes of and for Nelson Mandela and the international playlist we published when we first heard news of the great man’s death. When we sent around the AIAC...

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Nelson Mandela’s Humanity was a Political Education

If you became politically aware in the late 1970s, you became aware of a world in which no greater sustained evil existed than apartheid. There were other horrors, of course, but apartheid was insidious, entrenched, and total....

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Mandela had an Ethiopian passport under the name David Motsomayi. Where did he go?

We don't live in a world of heroes, but at rare moments we celebrate those who emerge from the shadows to push them further back. I don't know if Nelson Mandela had heroes. He must have done....

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Mandela and Hip-Hop

Two years ago, South African rapper and former frontman of The Volume, Tumi Molekane (stagename: Tumi) released ‘POWA’, a song which was as much a rally against women abuse as it was speculative banter in which the rapper imagined...

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Three Myths about Mandela Worth Busting

I sometimes feel Nelson Mandela is in need of rescuing, trapped in some pretty bizarre narratives that have nothing to do with his own story or politics. Full disclosure: I freely admit that Nelson Mandela is the...

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Tata Mandela

June 16 is a national holiday in South Africa – Youth Day, commemorating the June 16, 1976 Soweto student uprising and those who lost their lives in the violence that followed. This year, June 16 was also...

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Madiba: I remember

I remember not knowing what you looked like; at sunrise seeing the regime’s footmen erase your name from walls before the paint had dried. I remember, as a child, sitting on the back seat of the car...

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Songs for Mandela [International Edition]

When we sent around the AIAC “office” inviting our contributors to suggest songs for Nelson Mandela (both music about him and tracks that could stand as tributes to the man), the suggestions came flooding in. This is...

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