Monday, June 30, 2008

Link Love: Ionian Enchantment

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Ionian Enchantment is a blog dedicated to skepticism, cognitive science, atheism and evolutionary psychology run by Michael Meadon, an MSc student at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN). I am reciprocating some link love that Michael sent my way at the beginning of the month, not out of a sense of obligation, but because I check I.E. almost every day and it is really one of the best SA blogs around - period.

Why, you may ask, does Quid Pro Quo care so much about issues of the brain, divinity and the origin of the species? Well, that’s because your brain matter matters, especially when it comes to politics. Also, the quest for truth and a rational engagement with the world free of superstition and dogma are themes that permeate Ionian Enchantment – and it is essential reading for those seeking a better understanding of what motivates human behaviour. Hence Q.P.Q.'s love of I.E.

In addition, Mr. Meadon is the holder of a BSocSci (Honours) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Cape Town, making him a fellow alumnus of my department. Although he is a bit too disparaging of the shortcomings of the soft sciences for my liking, this blogger knows a thing or two about international relations and systems of government, not just random trivia about monkeys. Mike is also a thorough internet researcher and his blog is a great resource to link to other interesting sites and blogs on a range of issues.

Below I have put together a series of links to I.E.’s most relevant politics labels and posts.

The label 'Political science' includes a great op-ed on South Africa's acquiescence to the military junta in Burma and their refusal to support UN-led sanctions on that country.

Label: 'Politics and the brain'

Post: 'Freedom to Blog'

Post: 'Xenophobia and dormitive virtues'


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Feedback - Making Zuma: Unmaking Mbeki

Wits


Wits University hosted that public forum I told you about on the changing portrayals of SA's two Presidents - Zuma of the ANC and Mbeki of the Republic. The event, which was co-hosted by the Weekender, was attended by a good deal of the Joburg politerati and there was robust discussion about the media's role in the making and breaking of our leaders.


Prof. Tawana Kupe initiated the discussion by hoisting before the audience a series of Star newspaper covers that ranged from around 2006 - 2007. They showed in graphic detail, to use Kupe's phrase, "the fall and rise of Jacob Zuma." JZ's rape trial and acquittal, the mini-putch at the National General Council in mid-2007 and finally, Zuma’s coup de grace, Polokwane in December of that same year. The selection illustrated how perceptions of the ANC President have evolved over the last two years. One of the more noteworthy headlines was the "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" which sat like bookends alongside a very contrite picture of JZ after his trial, lip curled and all. Kupe's main point was that there is a symbiotic relationship between journalists and people with power. When power shifts, and the fortunes of the powerful change, the media also shifts in its representations.

Kupe continued that post-Polokwane the media is now writing political obituaries for Mbeki, but this trend obscures the actual legacy of his presidency, which is a lot more complex than that. I tend to disagree with Prof. Kupe here. Although I will concede that lately everybody's favourite pastime is to lambaste the Pres, I think that Mbeki has bestowed on us a culture of intolerance as well as a casual disregard for our nascent democratic institutions in order to wage personal wars (most graphically illustrated by his handling of the Selebi affair).

Prof. Sipho Seepe was sceptical about the claim that the media ‘made’ Jacob Zuma. For those who were in the struggle with JZ this is unseemly, he said. Here is a man who was central in finding a peaceful solution with IFP militias in KZN shortly after the bloodletting of the transitional years. Ditto with Burundi, one of SA’s more successful peace-making efforts on the continent and in which Zuma was the principal negotiator. He is a Robben Islander, has extensive military experience and a long-standing relationship with the ANC’s intelligence networks. Although JZ was very well connected within the movement - at a time when Mbeki was distant and distracted - there was a period when the former was sidelined by the media. As a last point Seepe said that when he was in Senegal at the time of Polokwane, people were shocked; they couldn’t believe that such a powerful incumbent of the ruling party could be unseated. This is quite an amazing achievement for an African democracy.




Adam Habib asked why people found it surprising that when power shifts the media shifts too. "So what! Everybody shifts so lets not be surprised by that." Habib noted that there was a sense of urban chauvinism in people’s attitudes towards Zuma. The fact that JZ was such a successful peacemaker means he is incredibly astute. Astuteness and political agility are qualities that we look for in our national leaders, so maybe we underestimated Mr. JZ.

However, Habib warned, we have been in this position before. Remember how much everyone over-idealised Mbeki? Lets not do this again. We cannot get around the uncomfortable fact that Zuma has been associated with some questionable behaviour. There is humility in him, yes, he said, acknowledging Prof Seepe, but there is other stuff that we should be cautious of.

“How has Zuma rehabilitated itself?” Habib asked. The charm offensive is a graphic illustration that Jacob Zuma has a coherent press strategy. Afrikaners, Republicans in Texas, businessmen at home and in the UK: all of these groups have been actively courted. There is a deliberate strategy to talk to stakeholders who don’t like him.

Another reason for the success of Zuma is that his reference point has become so bad! Thabo Mbeki has made some huge blunders vis-à-vis Selebi, Pikoli, Zimbabwe and people are inclined to think that JZ might be better. However, with regards the ANC President’s statements on the Zimbabwe question, we must remember that Zuma has greater latitude to make bold proclamations as president of the ruling party than Mbeki has as leader of the country.

We should however, not take Mr. Zuma’s popularity for granted. For instance, the court case could still unmask his flaws. There is also an election campaign coming up next year. Every opposition politician is going to highlight his weaknesses and as much as one’s image can be made, it can also be undone.

Raenette Taljaard expressed her amazement at how journalists underestimated Zuma and misread the changes that were happening at the branch level of the ANC. Our elite structure is exceptionally small in SA - you could literally meet every judge, every national politician and editor. These elites have a tendency to reproduce their own perceptions which is why we were so surprised that the branches voted in the way that they did.

Ms. Taljaard warned that we should not romanticise politicians, irrespective of who they are, and which parties they represent. The relationship between politicians and the populace is a permanently renewable one, she said.

The most notable aspect of the succession race has been the high nature of the drama. How the media in any other country could have responded any better to this level of Shakespearean drama is unclear. The run-up to Polokwane must have been one of the most difficult periods to be an editor of a South African newspaper.

The elephant in the room is the arms deal. Although Zuma was fired for supposed complicity in the deal, it was Thabo Mbeki who was head of the cabinet committee responsible for arms procurement. These questions need answering and, to use Taljaard’s metaphor, there are umbilical cords linking these two leaders that will not be easily severed. The two men are defined in juxtaposition to each other, but they are nevertheless intimately bound together.

The above text is a rewritten version of the notes I took of the Tues 24th June session and should not be considered as verbatim or used for quoting purposes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Xolela Mangcu at the Book Fair

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Author, political analyst and Business Day columnist, Xolela Mangcu recently gave a presentation at the Cape Town International Book Fair. I took the liberty of recording the session and transcribing the proceedings and after much painstaking effort I am now finished. It is too long to post in its entirety on Quid Pro Quo, but you can view the full text in html format by clicking here: Book Fair - Xolela Mangcu Transcript.

Mangcu argued that the principal problem of our times is the problem of Nationalism. Under Mbeki, Mangcu argues, African Nationalism has been manipulated to stifle criticism by creating a racial insider-outsider dynamic that subtly dismisses dissent as anti-black racism. This problem has undermined our responses to HIV/AIDS, crime, the Zimbabwean crisis and countless other areas of public life because it immunizes our leaders from criticism. People like Mangcu - who is, ahem, black - are labeled as coconuts and foot-lickers of the white establishment.

Moeletsi Mbeki, the President's brother, who chaired the discussion, asked how it is that we got to this place, where did it all go wrong? In response, Mangcu addressed the notion of political agency. He basically said that we, as a nation, get the leaders we deserve:

What went wrong is that good men and women pretended that nothing was going wrong. That’s what went wrong. Good men and women inside this room, outside this room, people who could have spoken, people who had the capacity and the power and the influence to speak just didn’t speak. That’s what went wrong. And in many ways, yes its Thabo Mbeki’s creation, Thabo Mbeki’s problems, but I think the bigger problem is that we did not speak when we should have spoken. And I think the question we now face is whether we can as people in this room or outside in society, how long are we going to be able to stay in silence?

Not only was Mangcu an exemplary speaker, but remarkably, the questions from the audience were focused and insightful with none of the usual grandstanding that often accompanies such discussions. Notable audience members included Jeremy Seekings, Prof of Sociology (and Politics) at UCT as well as Anthea Garman, lecturer in Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University. Garman made this comment, which acknowledged our responsibility to speak out in the face of injustice, but also highlighted how the ANC had sought to restrict the ambit of debate in society:

Xolela, you said in answer to the first question that people with platforms didn’t speak out. But I want to suggest to you that one of the most damaging things the ANC did was, to use your language, “corral our public spaces” and to shut up the voices that were disagreeable and the “discontents”, to use your language again. I’m kind of reminded... of the ANC Today newsletter. Do you remember the thing about the sociology of public discourse, and who gets to decide what we talk about in public? And Thabo Mbeki, through ANC Today, was saying only the ANC as the voice of the majority gets to decide what we talk about in public and what our agenda is for public discourse.

I want to suggest that that is one of the most terrible erosions of our democracy. Because many of us will not join a political party, we won’t go and join the ANC, even if it is the majority party and the one that you can make the most headway with politically. What we want to do is to be public citizens, and we want to be able to play our citizen role. And when we’ve got the erosion of our public space, and our citizenship is also eroded, and many of us have not been able to speak out. It’s not just the kind of question of courage; it’s also a question of the space being eroded for us.

I also piped in with a query about Xolela's proposal for a new non-racial culture, what he terms 'syncretism', which I asked him to explain in more detail. His response was that 'syncretism' was the rejection of essentialised notions of blackness that currently dominates the identity politics of the ANC and an attempt to reclaim a moral consciousness behind a definition of blackness. This would make non-racial responses to problems more meaningful because it wouldn't have being black as the sole criterion of legitimate political participation.

The discussion was nearly 50min long so it makes for quite a big document. However, it is definitely worth devoting your energies towards as Xolela's is one of the bravest voices in South Africa today.

***

A review of Xolela Mangcu's book To the Brink: The State of Democracy in South Africa will appear on Quid Pro Quo in due course.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Public Forum - Making Zuma: Unmaking Mbeki

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The Wits University Faculty of Humanities and The Weekender will be hosting a debate this coming Tuesday the 24th of June 2008 on the role of the media and its representation of our political leadership. The catalyst for the discussion is the seeming about-turn in the media's portrayal of the two players in the tragi-comedy known as 'the succession crisis'.

A brief profile of the panel is in order, along with some of their most notable writings.

First on the list is Prof. Sipho Seepe who is currently the President of the South African Institute of Race Relations. Prof. Seepe has been an ardent critic of the Mbeki administration, particularly on the President's pseudo-scientific views on HIV and AIDS. As head of what was during the apartheid era a bastion of liberal idealism and progressive politics, Seepe's appointment came as something of a surprise to some given his intellectual origins as a member of Black Consciousness (a movement seen as dialectically opposed to the perceived paternalist approach of white liberalism). However, Seepe puts forward an eloquent repudiation of this thinking by stating his admiration for the institute and the trans-ideological nature of its work. You can read the article on the SAIRR's website by following this link: 'Protecting a Brave History'.

Ms. Raenette Taljaard is the former DA spokesperson on Finance and is currently Director of the Helen Suzman Foundation. She has some well-reasoned opinions and a sober debating style. Raenette is certainly a very able bearer of the Suzman standard.

Prof. Adam Habib, who has recently taken the post of Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, and has worked extensively with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) will surely add some flavour to the evening. In 2006 Adam was denied entry into the United States by the Department of Homeland Security. The American Civil Liberties Union have taken up his case, citing the use of ideological exclusion as a violation of "...Americans' First Amendment right to hear constitutionally protected speech by denying foreign scholars, artists, politicians and others entry to the U.S."

Prof. Tawana Kupe who is Dean of Humanities, Wits University will also be present.

Keep your eyes open on Quid Pro Quo for my report.

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Time: 18:00 for 18:30

Venue: Senate Room, 2nd Floor, Senate House, Wits University

Friday, June 20, 2008

Encounters Film Festival - New Deal?

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The 10th annual Encounters Documentary Film Festival is on in Johannesburg from the 19th to the 29th of June. For political nuts there will be an array of documentary features, supplemented by panel discussions and debates.

I saw New Deal? on Fri the 20th. The film was made during the genesis of the United Democratic Front, which was founded in response to the tricameral constitutional reforms of P.W. Botha's Nationalist government in 1983. That was 25 years ago and New Deal? provides a glimpse of the Front and its power as a grass-roots democratising force. The UDF re-energised the struggle for freedom with genuine participatory structures that encompassed a range of civil society and community groups. It was also an important conduit between the exile leadership of the ANC and its networks within the country.

Although lacking in context and having felt the deteriorating effects of time, New Deal? captures some of the chaotic energy that propelled this historic phenomenon forward. Early on in the film there are some revealing moments from a National Party convention, held in a NGK church, where President Botha sews the seeds of fear, warning of the dangers of majority rule and outlining his reform agenda. An all-white audience looks on with steely adoration. This provides the backdrop for the inauguration of the UDF with the stiff uniformity of the Nationalists juxtaposed with scenes of the first meeting of the UDF in Mitchels Plain. We see throngs of excited crowds, racially mixed and burning with moral indignation. The articulate rabble-rousing of young Frank Chikane and Terror Lekota (both of whom have since put on a lot of weight and become mandarins of the state) is also on display.

Several guest speakers were present to discuss their involvement, many of whom have now been absorbed into government and business. They included Popo Molefe, former Premier of North West, activist and academic Raymond Suttner, as well as "People's Poet" Mzwakhe Mbuli.

My reaction to the discussion was ambivalent. The director, Tony Bensusan, who was also present, had to endure several rather patronising comments from the panelists as to how the film could have been improved. Popo Molefe cited the need to focus more on the community self-governing units, and not just the high-level stuff, the launches, speeches, etc. I think this was to miss the point. Certainly New Deal? should not be read as some over-arching narrative of the movement but it is precisely because of its lack of retrospect and its rawness as an historical text that made it worth viewing. It is the perspective of one film maker and his reaction to events as they unfolded before his young eyes. A comprehensive study of the movement is certainly overdue in film format, but that will be somebody else's job.

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New Deal? will be screened again on Sun 22nd June at 17h00 at NuMetro Hyde Park with another Q&A taking place afterwards. It will also be shown in Cape Town when the festival moves down there next month. Sat 5th July at 17:30pm as well as Wed 9th July at 18:30.

For a list of South African documentary films at the festival follow this link.

Tonight Online: Hands-on history goes visual for new generation

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Book Review - An Unpopular War

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An Unpopular War - From Afkak to Bosbefok

J. H. Thompson

Zebra Press (2006) 238 p.

Subtitled “Voices of South African National Servicemen”, this book is a compendium of oral testimonies of white conscripts who fought in the apartheid armed forces. Thompson conducts over 40 interviews, jumping between narratives and dividing each testimony according to a chronology of themes.

Beginning with the anxiety of call-up, life in boot camp and the physical and mental rigors of training, the storytellers convey a range of experiences, from the cruelty of their superiors to the boredom of patrols and the friendships formed in the bush. The most compelling sections are those that deal with the border conflict in South West Africa (Namibia) and Angola against SWAPO guerrillas. The intensity of the fighting there in the late 1970s and 80s is one of history’s underexposed truths.

More attention could have been given to a contextual chapter or some way of linking these anecdotal accounts to a broader understanding of the military campaign in Southern Africa. As stand-alone pieces however, these voices are nevertheless an important contribution to the literature on apartheid.

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Zebra Press have a site that seeks to create an interactive space for readers and authors. With regards this title, conscripts have sent letters to Ms. Thompson outlining their feelings and thoughts on their involvement in the conflict. They reveal some tell-tale signs of post-traumatic stress, and less than sympathetic views towards the ANC and its armed struggle (unsurprising given the extreme levels of indoctrination to which soldiers were subjected).

Follow this link to read more:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Doublespeak

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ANC President Jacob Zuma and SA President Thabo Mbeki have released a joint statement dispelling the notion that there are two camps in the ruling party. This appears to be a desperate attempt at a display of unity - a rare occurrence given the two politicians' otherwise antagonistic relationship.

In a letter to the City Press, Messrs. Zuma and Mbeki insist that "[n]either of us holds opposing political positions. Neither of us are involved in a struggle to build a personal support base in the ANC..."

"There is no Zuma camp in the ANC. There is no Mbeki camp in the ANC. Nobody, including members of the ANC and the media, should use our names to pursue divisive goals that have nothing to do with the truth".

One can appreciate this gesture for its attempt to achieve some kind of détente between the ANC's organisational structures - dominated by Zuma and the new National Executive Committee (NEC) - and the incumbents of state office. It could be argued that the contradictory messages on everything from the electoral crisis in Zimbabwe to the crime problem have left South Africans thoroughly confused as to the policy positions of the Congress. Such conflict hampers effective decision-making and creates needless distractions from the more important task of governance.

However, not only is the joint statement a feeble attempt to paper over the divisions that exist in the ANC, it is also consistent with the party's long-held, and cumbersome tradition of "collective leadership". This principle may have worked in building exile structures, but it is at the very root of the ANC's current problems. During the Mbeki years collective leadership narrowed the space for the contestation of ideas and cultivated a climate of fear - with those who broke rank feeling the cold rebuke of The Chief.

The party seems to be uncomfortable with the newfound diversity of opinion from within its ranks, but this is a necessary phase in order to create more deliberative mechanisms of governance. We should welcome the divisions within the ANC, not because we wish to see them torn apart, but because we recognise the value of having plural voices in one of the country's most important institutions.

The open letter also reveals the supercilious character of the ANC leadership and its perception of the public. Are we so easily swayed by the utterances of our politicians that if they merely insist that something is not the case then it will cease to be an issue in the public mind?

Alternatively, the letter could be considered a message to rivals within the ANC that they should cease their fighting for the sake of the higher good of organisational solidarity; but this also seems feeble. No amount of proclamations can get you around the awkward fact that there are competing networks of patronage vying for the limited resources of the state and that only one faction can win.

A reconciliatory gesture this may be by Zuma's people, but the fact that such statements are being made at all is indicative of the seriousness of the divisions. No such statements would be necessary if the ANC was indeed operating on a united front.

This letter appeared in the Business Day, 12th June 2008.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Cape Town Book Fair 2008

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Next weekend (14-17 June 2008) the annual Cape Town Book Fair will be held, once again, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). I am making the trip down for my graduation ceremony which happily coincides with the fair. For politically minded readers there will be a who's who of writers and commentators present and I urge you to hunt them down and interrogate them as much as you can. Don't be shy, they're just people.

Something absolutely not to be missed is a 'conversation' between Mark Gevisser, author of Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred (see my review) and Andrew Feinstein, former ANC MP and the man behind After the Party, the fly-on-the-wall account of the ruling party and its smothering of arms deal investigations. This is sure to be a great dialogue between two passionate democrats who each have some very searching opinions on the state of politics today. Hopefully they'll have a lot to argue about, the articulate chaps that they are. Catch them on Saturday 14 June at 15h00 (Stand L8).

Xolela Mangcu will be talking about his book To the Brink: The State of Democracy in South Africa which I am reading it at the moment. Xolela has a piercing intellect and some interesting thoughts on the dangers of the reflexive racial solidarity propagated by our current leaders.

Alex Boraine, Max du Preez and Mac Maharaj will be debating the impact and legacy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which for all those interested in transitional justice and the work of national reconciliation, should be a highlight. Boraine, who was the founder of IDASA and deputy-head of the TRC under Desmond Tutu, has just released an autobiography entitled A Life in Transition. I have read his account of his time at the TRC - A Country Unmasked - which is a wonderful overview of the travails and emotions of working on this "grand historical experiment". Max du Preez had a special role in televising the Human Rights Violations hearings as well as the Amnesty hearings on SABC. According to my friend Natalie Jaynes at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation there is a compilation DVD of his weekly reports out now, which could be worth a look. Mac Maharaj was a pretty nimble spy in his day and later a rather unremarkable transport minister. Putting his resume aside for a moment, he will have a lot to say on the issue of prosecutions and what the ANC perceived to be an unfair portrayal of its complicity in violations of human rights, particularly against suspected askaris in the camps of Southern Africa. Also, his experiences with post-TRC prosecutions and/or investigations (vis-a-vis the Bulelani Ngcuka affair) would be worthy of some attention. If he doesn't talk about these things, somebody should ask him to.

The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR) will be presenting a selection of their publications and you are urged to find their stall and attend their sessions. The Centre will be showcasing four titles, to be accompanied by panel discussions on each topic:

Gulliver's Troubles: Nigeria's Foreign Policy After the Cold War.
Saturday 14 June 12h00 - 12h45 (room 1.42). Discussants will include Prof. Kader Asmal, former ANC MP and Cabinet Minister, now Professor Extraordinaire in Law at UWC; Dr. Adekeye Adebajo (Executive Director of the CCR) among others.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Africa and China.
Saturday 14 June 16h00 - 17h30 (room 1.63) to be chaired by Prof. Ben Turok of the ANC.

HIV/AIDS and Society in South Africa.
Sunday 15 June 16h00 - 17h30 (Room 1.63).
Two notable panellists will be Nosizwe Madlala-Routledge and Justice Edwin Cameron. These individuals have contributed more to pushing back the frontiers of the fight against HIV and AIDS than many others can boast. I shared a philosophy seminar with Nosizwe in 2006 some months before she took a stance against her boss and got herself fired. She is not as combative in her speaking style as she is on policy matters, but she is a lone voice of reason in a party unable to confront the full extent of the epidemic and its wider impact on our communities.

The African Union and Africa's Human Rights Architecture.
(click for executive summaries)
Monday 16 June 16h00-17h30 (Room 1.43).
The Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete will chair this panel discussion which will include Dr. John Akokpari, a seniour lecturer in my department.

Last year's fair was a real treat. George Bizos was there promoting his autobiography, Odyssey to Freedom (which I got signed for my Mommy) as well as Richard Calland, Moeletsi Mbeki, Pregs Govender, et al. I even got to speak with Ronald Suresh Roberts, which was, needless to say, nothing short of spectacular. On the literary side the likes of Kiran Desai, Antjie Krog and Kopano Matlwa were also in attendance promoting their work and chatting to readers (this blogger being one).

I will be writing detailed reports over the long weekend for all those not in CPT and unable to attend. Those of you in town have no excuse, especially if you own a fanatics card which gives you free entrance.

See you there and don't forget to bring your books for signing!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Satire Section - Mbeki: The Native Intelligence Diaries



As Fit as Govan?


Tom Eaton has been ridiculing those in power for some years now. His prose is often convoluted and flowery, but the section of his brain responsible for irony functions well. Up until late last year Eaton ran a satirical column entitled Viva Gazania! (I'm still trying to find out what this means and some clarity from readers would be very much appreciated. I know it has something to do with Azania, but that's all).

This is a particularly funny piece released in mid-2007 in the form of a personal diary of Thabo Mbeki. It was pre-Polokwane and Mbeki was still party leader and held some degree of authority. However, by this stage the President's aura of invincibility was transforming into an opaque cloud that screened him from the shifting realities that were so evident to all.

Another individual oblivious to the changing times was Mbeki's hagiographer (a person who writes a glowing biography, uncritical of his subject, someone unwilling to distill the facts from his admiration) the inimitable Ronald Suresh Roberts. You can see here for a review of Fit to Govern: The Native Intelligence of Thabo Mbeki. Eaton's piece mocks the self-importance that the Mbeki-Roberts project entailed, as well as the inherent vanity and pseudo-intellectual posturing of some of our President's thinking.

For clarity. 'Bheki' refers to Bheki Khumalo, the President's spokesman who resigned a month after this article was published for reasons unconnected with anything. Click here for an equally amusing, albeit non-satirical, look at the back-slapping and praise singing that characterised the President's acolytes before events caught up with them.

My favourite line is where Robert Mugabe tries to upstage Mbeki by releasing his own biography with the grandiose title of 2 Fit 2 Govern: The Ultra-Native Mega-Intelligence of Robert Mugabe. Always trying to outdo his younger counterpart is Mr. Mugabe. Oh, and to sensitive readers, apologies for the scatological Zapiro cartoon, it isn't usually my style, but I think its appropriate given the subject matter.

Happy reading: Mbeki: The Native Intelligence Diaries

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Xenophobia in the Media - Daily Sun Called to Account


The xenophobic violence that has racked South Africa in recent weeks raises important questions about the role of the media in reporting the tragedies. The Media Monitoring Project (MMP) has filed a complaint against the Daily Sun for what it perceives as inflammatory and callous coverage of the violence. The MMP objected to the repeated use of the term 'alien' in the Sun's reportage, claiming that this amounted to complicity in the attacks, in that the term reinforced negative assumptions about non-citizens.


The Media Monitoring Project's statement.

More information on the procedure of the complaint can be found on the Press Council's Website.

Related News Hits:

Bizcommunity.com
Mail & Guardian Online
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