It is the end of another year; our 13th as Africa Is a Country. To prevent ourselves from settling into what is akin to middle age complacency, we made some changes around the office, and embarked on a few new ventures. Just to list a few highlights: Will Shoki, our staff writer based in Johannesburg, became our deputy editor; we formed a literary alliance with the Radical Books Collective; and we started production on a documentary about the politics of the climate crisis on the African continent. One more: a one-day symposium was funded with a grant from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung’s Southern Africa Regional Office. It our first post-COVID attempt at an in-person event. It focused on the 10 year anniversary of the Marikana massacre in South Africa, when 34 striking miners were murdered by police. We called it “Marikana, 10 years on.” We tried to get perspectives from the new generation of leftists and from the so-called “born free” generation. The speakers and panelists included Camalita Naicker (a lecturer in history at the University of Cape Town with a research focus on the “afterlives” of Marikana); Shaeera Kalla (a prominent ex-leader of the Fees Must Fall movement, now a researcher and filmmaker); Naadira Munshi (a researcher, and activist who worked extensively with workers during the Farlam Commission and afterward); and Ziyanda Stuurman (a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies and scholar of South African policing). We also published a series of essays on Africa Is a Country. The guest editors of the series of essays and organizers of the symposium were Claire-Anne Lester, Benjamin Fogel, William Shoki, and Sean Jacobs, all South Africans and, with the exception of Sean, based in the country. The event was held at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg, South Africa on August 20th, 2022. It was also streamed online. We also partnered with the Centre for Sociological Research and Practice, as well as the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg. Next year, we have more of these kinds of interventions planned: film, text and public events (including an event on elections as struggle). We also plan to make some new appointments. Watch this space.
We will be back on January 10th, 2023. In the meantime, we put the videos of the panels and a live performance by Soundz of the South, in honor of Marikana’s widows and its dead and the energy of its survivors and the rest of us, on YouTube. During the break, with Dezemba and everything else, we insist you do some selfcare and watch it.