Nelson Mandela’s dream of a free, prosperous and nonracial South Africa has turned into a nightmare. The nation’s constitution, often hailed as one of the most progressive in the world, is under siege by the very man who took an oath to protect it.
President Jacob Zuma, in office since 2009, is subverting democracy. Mr. Zuma, who recently survived his fourth no-confidence vote in Parliament, has enabled political patronage and exploited South Africa’s institutions for his own benefit and that of the ruling elites in his party, the African National Congress. He has grossly mismanaged the country’s resources and engaged in acts of far-reaching cronyism.… Seguir leyendo »
I remember Nelson Mandela. No, not the universally adored elder statesman who successfully resisted the megalomania that comes with deification, and who died Thursday at age 95, but the young lawyer who used to sit in my parents’ living room until the early hours of the morning, debating African nationalism with my father, Ashby Peter Mda.
In 1944, they were among the leaders who had founded the African National Congress Youth League. These young men considered the African National Congress, which had by then existed for more than three decades, moribund and outmoded. They felt there was a need to take the liberation struggle from protest to armed struggle, and were known to shout down those they felt were “selling out” by participating in apartheid-created structures through which black people were supposed to express their political aspirations.… Seguir leyendo »
President Obama and other world leaders will gather in Copenhagen next week to discuss climate change. Though this is a global issue, it’s also a profoundly local one. For this reason, the Op-Ed editors asked writers from four different continents to report on the climate changes they’ve experienced close to home. Here are their dispatches.
1.- Denmark in the Wind. By Hanne-Vibeke Holst, a novelist.
In Copenhagen, the once moderate-to-fresh winds are now more often storms.
2.- South Africa's Fire Kingdom. By Zakes Mda, a playwright.
In Cape Town, a rise in unpredictable and more ferocious fires are destroying the ecosystem.… Seguir leyendo »
Not long ago, in Cape Town, I watched smoke billow from the hills facing the city. The flames were so ferocious that within a half-hour the smoke could be mistaken for rain clouds. Sirens wailed and in no time helicopters were hovering in the sky, dousing the flames with some pink substance.
At Greenmarket Square in the center of the city, an old man exclaimed: “They are very quick to put out the fire when the mountain is burning, but when our shacks burn you never see them. They care about the birds and the tortoises and the antelopes more than they care about human beings.”… Seguir leyendo »
In Johannesburg, Robert Mugabe was given a rousing welcome by Africans from across the continent. As he addressed the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, we ululated and sang his praises, and after his brief speech we gave him a standing ovation. He spoke of the wonderful work he had achieved in Zimbabwe with his "agrarian reforms" in a country where 70% of prime land had been owned by just 4,000 white farmers.
Here was an African leader who was prepared to redress the injustices of the past by giving land back to its rightful indigenous owners. Here was a government doing what our own was afraid to: dealing with the problems of inequitable distribution through one short, swift surgical action.… Seguir leyendo »