Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

When Nelson Mandela goes

Yesterday we tweeted my friend Herman Wasserman’s guide to the media on how to cover Nelson Mandela’s hospitalization (it’s good advice if you’re a journalist). This morning I asked Nathan Geffen, a South African media activist (and author) whether we could republish here his post on the “when Mandela goes” meme. Geffen is one of the key people

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Benetton Politics

South Africa’s Democratic Alliance, usually very slick and media savvy, have really outdone themselves with a new campaign by its youth wing. Fresh out of leader Helen Zille’s troublesome ‘AIDS Gestapo’ views and calling the ever disgruntled...

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...

Monday, February 28th, 2011

‘The Art of Citizenship in African Cities’

Two-day conference on May 6 and 7 on the campus of Columbia University in Manhattan’s Upper West Side :

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Pushed to the Limit

Political economist Hein Marais’ 1998 book, “South Africa Limits to Change: The Political Economy of Transition,” is a classic of the late 1990s. I have described Marais before, on this blog, as “… one of the trenchant...

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Akon makes no sense

Some rappers should just stay away from politics. Take T-Pain’s endorsement of “a conversative victory 2010.” (If you forgot, watch Jay Smooth break down T-Pain’s nonsense here.) Then there’s of course the Senegalese-American R&B singer,...

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

‘The new model for African democracy’

“… This model of negotiations leading to a coalition government in the wake of a violence-plagued election is being tried in Zimbabwe and has been recommended in Madagascar. The model is an inclusive one,...

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Till Jesus Comes

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

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Republic of Women

70% of Rwanda’s population are women. Via

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Mozambican Democracy

Elections in Southern Africa is usually one big party if you’re the ruling party and if you’re not in Zimbabwe. Take Mozambique, South Africa’s small neighbor to the northeast, where the rapper MC Roger sells record on...

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Democracy, Tunisian Style

Tunisia’s President, Ben Ali, wins his fifth election since 1987 by a 99 percent margin after he decided on the candidates who could run against him. Before the result is even out he threatens anyone who questions...

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009


HT: Steve Coplan

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009


For the next two days South Africa’s Constitutional Court (the equivalent of the Supreme Court) will hear “… the final appeal in a case brought by five Soweto residents challenging Johannesburg’s discriminatory prepaid water meter system. Their...