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Tag Archives: South Africa

Rescuing Nelson Mandela from sainthood

Like millions of South Africans, my own story is deeply tied to that of Nelson Mandela. It begins with my father. Inspired by Nelson Mandela, he joins the African National Congress. In 1961, my father slips out of the country and begins his life in exile. He travels to Russia and does military training. He travels around Africa doing revolutionary things. He thinks he will be gone for only a year. He never says goodbye to anyone because those are the instructions. He is 21 when he leaves—and he is gone 30 years. He is 51 when he finally touches South African soil again.

During those 30 years, he was busy. He met a woman in Lusaka in the 1970s and they had three girls. I am the eldest of those children. I grew up in many different countries, part of the ANC community in exile. We sang freedom songs about Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki and all those who were fighting bravely for our freedom. I owe my sense of self-belief to that community, to the adults I grew up with who taught me that I was as good as anyone in the world.

I was 17 when Mandela was released. It was like a dream come true. My family—like many others—was able to return because of the changes that began to happen in the early 1990s. Other than my parents no one did more to determine my destiny and shape my life, than Nelson Mandela.

https://www.africasacountry.com/2019/04/rescuing-nelson-mandela-from-sainthood

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Posted by on July 15, 2019 in Africa, Reportages

 

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Freedom Day in South Africa – a reminder of unfinished business

South Africans celebrate Freedom Day on April 27 every year to mark the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. A quarter of a century later, though, questions remain: how much and whose freedom is to be celebrated?

The differing answers among voters might affect the results of the national elections on May 8.

South Africans can still not celebrate freedom from want. They are painfully aware that one cannot eat democracy. Formal political equality is rightly celebrated as an achievement by those who suffered under dictatorship, minority rule and other forms of oppressive regimes that denied them basic rights. But democracy doesn’t put food on the table. Nor does it provide decent shelter or secure a dignified living.

Former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous 1941 speech to Congress identified four freedoms: those of speech, of worship, from want and from fear.

https://theconversation.com/freedom-day-in-south-africa-a-reminder-of-unfinished-business-115655

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2019 in Africa

 

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New dawn, old problem: Our democratic system

The State of the Nation address (Sona) on Friday February 16, given by South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, heralds a new dawn for South Africa. After a decade of maladministration, venal politics, corruption and the wrecking of a number of important state institutions, any alternative would have filled South Africans with optimism.

But there is little doubt that, even if we are dealing with the same party, the leadership, determination and discipline that Ramaphosa will bring to South African politics will be very different indeed to that which we have become depressingly accustomed over the last decade.

https://mg.co.za/article/2018-02-20-00-new-dawn-old-problem-our-democratic-system

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in Africa

 

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ANC power struggle shows that South Africa’s not exceptional (after all)

South Africa is in the grip of political uncertainty. That President Jacob Zuma will go before the official end of his tenure after national elections next year is inevitable. But when, how, and at what cost to the ANC and the country?

The current crisis is being framed as one of internal party politics – or the immorality of Zuma and his supporters. In fact, the impact is much bigger and wider, affecting South Africa’s standing in Africa, and in the world.

In 1994 the world, and particularly African countries, looked to South Africa to provide ethical leadership after the end of apartheid. This was boldly depicted in the “African Renaissance” – the cultural, scientific and economic renewal of the continent championed by former President Thabo Mbeki.

https://mg.co.za/article/2018-02-12-anc-power-struggle-shows-that-south-africas-not-exceptional-after-all

 

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in Africa

 

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Op-Ed: Cape Town, a city drowning in incompetence

How the hell did we get this close to what will be the biggest natural disaster of the post-apartheid period and the majority of Capetonians are carrying on business as usual? Only 39% of residents are using less than 87l of water – the previous, and now surpassed, restriction (the current restriction is 50l a person). In history, it has never happened that a city the size of Cape Town has run dry. As a Canadian headline announced this week: “Cape Town at risk of becoming the first major city in the world to run out of water” (Globe & Mail).

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-01-22-op-ed-cape-town-a-city-drowning-in-incompetence/#.WoX1x4JG3-Q

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in Africa

 

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What South Africa’s Ramaphosa must do next

After a bruising battle that engaged ordinary South Africans in a manner reminiscent of the heady combination of fear and hope that galvanized the country after Nelson Mandela was released from 27 years of incarceration in 1990, his ruling African National Congress party has chosen a new leader to try to lift the country’s veil of sleaze.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saundersonmeyer-southafrica-commentar/commentary-what-south-africas-ramaphosa-must-do-next-idUSKBN1EC2S8

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Africa

 

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Wealth before health? Why intellectual property laws are facing a counterattack

When the South African government attempted to amend its laws in 1997 to avail itself of affordable generic medicines for the treatment of HIV/Aids, the full legal might of the global pharmaceutical industry bore down on the country, delaying implementation and extracting a high human cost. South Africa eventually won its case, but the government learned its lesson: it did not try again to put its citizens’ health and wellbeing into its own hands by challenging the conventional global intellectual property (IP) regime.Until now. The South African cabinet is preparing to finalise an IP policy that promises to expand access to medicines substantially. South Africa will now undoubtedly face all manner of bilateral and multilateral pressure from wealthy countries. But the government is right, and other developing and emerging economies should follow in its footsteps.

Source: Wealth before health? Why intellectual property laws are facing a counterattack | Joseph Stiglitz | Business | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2017 in Africa

 

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Gambia, the ICC and the African domino effect 

Another one bites the dust. Following in the footsteps of Burundi and South Africa, on Wednesday Gambia became only the third ever nation to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to media reports.
Except that is not quite true. On closer examination, it turns out that only South Africa has delivered the necessary instrument of withdrawal to the United Nations, thus beginning the year-long exit process. Officially, then, South Africa is the first and only country to withdraw from the ICC, with Burundi and Gambia expected to follow in short order.

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2016-10-26-gambia-the-icc-and-the-african-domino-effect/

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2016 in Africa

 

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How Mandela Failed a New Generation of South Africans

When 24-year-old Nyiko Lebogang Shikwambane left her home on the outskirts of Johannesburg to begin her law degree at the University of Witswatersrand in 2011, she brought with her the aspirations of a family of teachers and nurses—the only esteemed professions most black people living in South Africa could aspire to during the time of apartheid.The University of Witwatersrand, known locally as “Wits,” is among South Africa’s one-time predominantly white educational institutions, which, during apartheid, sporadically butted heads with the government over their admissions policies. While a small number of black students were admitted to Wits and other similar, mostly English-medium, prestigious universities like the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Rhodes University, their student bodies remained largely white at the time. But within several years of the end of apartheid, the student bodies at many of these universities was majority black.

Source: How Mandela Failed a New Generation of South Africans – The Atlantic

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2016 in Africa

 

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A realignment of our politics

The outcomes of our Local Government Elections are clear except perhaps to the African National Congress. The 2016 results are the worst yet in the ANC’s history of contesting elections in South Africa with 54% of the vote compared to the 62% of 10 years ago under Thabo Mbeki.

Political parties will now be forced to sit around the same table and cobble together plans and policies that accommodate wide-ranging perspectives and political ideologies. Political parties may be able to sit around the same table to agree on the appointment of mayors and speakers this week but in the coming weeks the more challenging part will be about how they are collectively able to shape policy and drive the delivery of basic services.

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2016-08-15-a-realignment-of-our-politics/#.V8RKLDHLcX8

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2016 in Africa

 

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