Sean Jacobs

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South Africa Sees Its Moral Conscience in a Genocide Case

Earlier this month, I went with my 18-year-old daughter to see the South African singer Thandiswa Mazwai perform with her band at a music festival in Manhattan.

Many of my fellow South African expatriates were in the audience. As we took our seats, my daughter, Rosa, noticed concertgoers waving South African flags. You rarely see such displays outside political or sporting events, but many South Africans seem to be having a moment of self-assertion and patriotism now that our government has brought a genocide case against Israel to the International Court of Justice in The Hague for its actions in Gaza, solidifying its place on the world stage in solidarity with Palestinians.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Most Exciting Sporting Event in the World Is Happening Right Now

In March 1957, Ghana cast off British colonialism and became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve political self-rule. At its independence celebrations, the new prime minister, Kwame Nkrumah, offered a hopeful message: “We are going to create our own African personality and identity. It is the only way we can show the world that we are ready for our own battles”.

I was remembering that line last week as I watched the early matches of the Africa Cup of Nations, a tournament of soccer teams representing 24 countries from across the continent. This year’s competition is being hosted by Cameroon; it began on Jan.…  Seguir leyendo »

Back in Cape Town, I find the city as I remember it: gorgeous and frustrating, a glittering center and quaint suburbs hugging Table Mountain and uneasily overlooking the expanse called the Cape Flats, where I grew up among the city’s black poor and working class.

Yes, a graceful new stadium downtown greets soccer fans. And in a city where most soccer fans are black, and the downtown is still very much the province of whites and tourists, that’s something. But the World Cup, held in nine South African cities in June, is definitely over.

The expectations — and the fears — were huge: boosters saw the World Cup as South Africa’s entree to the developed world and to economic growth, while naysayers fretted that the tournament should be moved to Australia, that 40,000 prostitutes would flood the country, and that fans would be gunned down in daylight.…  Seguir leyendo »