4397
4 mins read

The story of a South African “tribe”

In October 2013, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, speaking at the Bethesda Methodist Church in the north of Johannesburg, warned us of a resurgence of tribalism in South Africa. In January of…..

1913
6 mins read

The Undemocratic Alliance

I do a monthly radio show for Jacobin Radio. Listen at the link below as I discuss the South African “opposition” party, the Democratic Alliance’s politics with another AIAC’er T.O. Molefe. In the first half I sketch the history of liberalism in South Africa. The interview with T.O. starts about 22 minutes in if you’re impatient.

2710
11 mins read

That New York Times column about Cape Town

Let me be clear, because some responses suggest I was not in my recent column for the International New York Times: from just about every assessment, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape are consistently rated among the top performing South African metros and provinces respectively in terms of governance and levels of service delivery. That said, if the Democratic Alliance [which governs the city] had its way, this should be the only basis by which the metro and province it governs are to be assessed: relative to other metros and provinces. If the African National Congress had its way, Cape Town and the Western Cape are to be assessed independently, with no reference to the other metros and provinces the ANC itself governs.

1751
5 mins read

The Story of a South African Farm

As of March 1 this year, the new base salary for farm workers in South Africa will be R105 a day (about US$11 per day). That’s a 52% pay raise,…..

15899
5 mins read

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…..

1483
8 mins read

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…..

2557
3 mins read

Is Die Antwoord a form of Blackface?

First world hipster bloggers and music websites (with foreign correspondents’ not far behind) are besides themselves about South African performers, Die Antwoord. Linking to them. Talking about their style. Good for them and Die Antwoord. But even boosters for the Die Antwoord, like Richard Poplak,have to concede this: “… what their lyrics mean — or what they stand for precisely — no one in Brooklyn or Paris or São Paulo can say.” Which is why I like this piece of of writing, below, by Cape Town writer Rustum Kozain, about Die Antwoord’s music and style. While I wouldn’t say that what Die Antwoord does is necessarily blackface, I think some of its problematic aspects need to be discussed.