“I don’t understand why all these statues are still there”, remarked a new acquaintance in reference to the classical apartheid and colonial monuments dotted around the city of Cape Town. I often have to field this question after explaining my work on heritage formation and commemorative culture in post-apartheid South Africa. The short answer is that the state’s abandonment of iconoclasm—except for the most egregious cases—stems from the values of reconciliation and nation-building that inform the democratic dispensation. Our culture of monumental tolerance goes back to apartheid.
On June 6 1944, more than 150,000 Allied troops landed in Normandy. Their number rose to 1.5m over the next six weeks. With them came millions of tons of equipment, ranging from munitions, vehicles, food, and fuel to prefabricated floating harbours.
What we call one another and how we identify ourselves in South Africa is an expression of a complex relationship of sameness and difference, belonging and exclusion. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
How we are “named” and how we identify ourselves is not whimsical, but carries the weight of historical experience.
Because terminology is seldom neutral we need to examine why some usage is adopted or disappears and what purpose using or not using one or other term serves.
THE state of the nation address many in the mainstream want to hear is not the one the country needs to hear. Tuesday’s address should help answer two important questions.
Does the new government want to bargain with the business sector and other interests to chart a new path for the economy, or does it believe it can fix problems on its own? Are poverty and inequality still high on its agenda or has its attention turned elsewhere? Much of the debate wants to hear an address that does not "waffle" about policy but promises to "get things done".
On Monday 17th March, I attended a conference to showcase PhD research organised by the Africa Research Student Network, which provides a forum for London-based, Africa-focused research students to discuss and learn from one another’s work. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Funmi Olonisakin, founding Director of the African Leadership Centre; here are five things to remember when researching Africa, inspired by Dr Olonisakin’s talk.
1. Africa does not exist in a vacuum
The writer says that by dismissing Nhlanhla Nene (above), President Jacob Zuma pulled the plug on all South Africans. File picture: Nic Bothma
Why has President Jacob Zuma’s decision to sack Nhlanhla Nene caused such a fuss? Has Zuma crossed an important line or is this only a threat to the wealthy?
President Jacob Zuma listens to the state of the nation debate in Parliament. Picture: GCIS
AFTER Nhlanhla Nene was fired, cyber and print commentary, searching for an explanation, grasped at several terms: state capture, cronyism, patronage. The essence of the argument is that President Jacob Zuma’s actions were motivated by self-interest and the interests of family, friends and associates.
Protesters wave banners and flags calling for the resignation of President Jacob Zuma in Johannesburg on Wednesday. Picture: AFP PHOTO/MUJAHID SAFODIEN
SOMETIMES, failing to see a society’s strengths can be as much of a problem as ignoring its weaknesses. Which is why much of the reaction to Pravin Gordhan’s return as finance minister did us no favours by presenting a victory for SA as a defeat.