Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category
Adekeye Adebajo, co-editor of The EU and Africa: From Eurafrique to Afro-Europa and executive director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution, looks back at the international community’s reaction to the Rwandan genocide, 20 years on.
Writing for Business Day, Adebajo recalls how the UN peacekeeping force arrived in Rwanda two months behind schedule, woefully undermanned and under-equipped, and condemns the Clinton administration’s seeming lack of concern:
Led by strong American and British demands, the Security Council, however, withdrew most of its peacekeepers from Rwanda, leaving a token force of 270. A machismo-fuelled US was determined to prove that it could “shut down” a UN mission after the death of 18 American soldiers in Somalia six months earlier. The Clinton administration refused for weeks to call genocide by its proper name for fear of being pressured to act. The representative of the Rwandan regime, Jean-Damascène Bizimana, sat on the UN Security Council throughout the genocide, reporting back on the unwillingness of the council to act.
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During last year’s Jozi Book Fair, Luli Callinicos, author of Who built Jozi?, was selected to be the inaugural Jozi Book Fair Reading Ambassador, “to promote reading and writing in urban and rural areas, in all communities and in all languages.”
Callinicos says she was overwhelmed by the honour and spoke about the importance of creating thousands of reading ambassadors: “They would be speaking about books, getting people excited about reading books, recommending books and writing books. I hope we can all work together to create a reading culture because, Reading the word enables us to Read the world.”
During 5th Jozi Book Fair in 2013 we chose the first Jozi Book Fair Reading Ambassador, Luli Callinicos, to promote reading and writing in urban and rural areas, in all communities and in all languages.
This is the first time that the concept, the Reading Ambassador, is used in South Africa. This is consistent with the JBF’s approach to purposefully intervene in the building of a readers movement. This year the first Jozi Book Fair Reading Ambassador in South Africa, Luli Callinicos was elected. Luli Callinicos is an author, historian and an activist.
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Adam Habib, author of South Africa’s Suspended Revolution, spoke to Amogelang Mbatha and Franz Wild about the ANC’s Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize as a potential successor to President Jacob Zuma.
“He’s very influential in the fact that he is in the top six and he is also known to go way back with President Jacob Zuma,” Habib says, explaining that while Mkhize has been brought up as a possible successor, it remains to be seen if this will happen.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress faces its toughest-ever election on May 7 as some voters expected quicker improvement in their lives 20 years after the end of apartheid, party Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize said.
The 102-year-old movement that took power in the country’s first all-race elections in 1994 faces the “challenges of incumbency,” Mkhize, 58, said in an April 3 interview at Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office. He also cited voter concern about corruption among public officials.
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John Kani, actor, playwright and author, says the same DNA runs through both Nothing But the Truth and his new play, Missing.
Missing focuses on how Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 affected those ANC members living in exile in Europe.
Kani says his most recent play looks at the dynamic between politics – “conspiracy, intrigue and betrayal by his own comrades” and a family having to return to an unfamiliar “home”.
Is it a companion piece to Nothing But The Truth, in the sense that you told the story of return from those left behind. Now you are telling the story from the point of view of the returnees.
No, but there is a DNA thread … you right, he [Robert in >Missing like Sipho in Nothing But the Truth] is also looking at his age, his daughter is going to get married, there is a custom we need to do as Xhosas … Mrs Thabo Mbeki, after seeing the play [Nothing But the Truth], said to me: “John, not all of us were like Themba in exile. Some of us struggled and suffered, especially us women who stayed in these one-roomed flats, never with your husband. I’d love to tell you that story one day” …
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Adekeye Adebajo, co-editor of The EU and Africa, believes the UN/Arab League mediator in Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, may be the man to find a resolution to the conflict.
Brahimi oversaw recent peace talks in Geneva, which failed to reach an agreement to end the three-year conflict. According to Adebajo, more than 100,000 Syrians have died in the war, 4.25-million have been displaced in the country, and 2-million have become refugees. Despite this, Adebajo believes 80-year old Algerian Brahimi, “a man of great experience and diplomatic acumen”, is one of the few diplomats in a position to “craft a solution to Syria’s bloody conflict”.
Adebajo is the executive director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution.
Brahimi replaced Ghanaian former United Nations (UN) secretary-general, Kofi Annan, as the joint UN/Arab League mediator in Syria in September 2012. In throwing in the towel, Annan described the situation as a “brick wall”. Brahimi took up this metaphor, noting that, standing in front of a brick wall, he would look for cracks in it, or else try to go around it. As he noted: “I’m coming to this job with my eyes open, and no illusions.”
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Adekeye Adebajo, co-editor of The EU and Africa, traces the interweaving histories of Nobel Peace Prize winners of African descent.
In a recent column for Business Day, Adebajo unpacks the relationships between the 13 people of African descent who have won the Nobel Peace Prize since 1950, and says lessons can be learnt from their endeavours and experiences.
Among the Nobel Laureates Adebajo mentions are African Americans Ralph Bunche and Martin Luther King, South Africans Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk, as well as Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Mohamed ElBaradei.
THIRTEEN people of African descent have won the Nobel Peace Prize since 1950. We should draw lessons for peacemaking, civil rights, socioeconomic justice, environmental protection, nuclear disarmament and women’s rights in the contemporary era from the rich experiences of these laureates.
African Americans, Ralph Bunche (who won the Nobel prize in 1950) and Martin Luther King (1964), played an important role in the pan-African struggle, with Bunche leading the creation of the United Nations (UN) Trusteeship Council by 1947, and King championing decolonisation efforts.
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Wednesday 26 March saw the launch of Caroline Wanjiku Kihato’s Migrant Women of Johannesburg: Life in an in-between city. In front of a packed seminar room at WiSER (the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research), Kihato spent an intriguing hour in conversation with WiSER Writing Fellow and author Christa Kuljian. WiSER’s Catherine Burns chaired the session.
Kihato, who is from Kenya and who worked as a street trader on her arrival in South Africa, conducted most of her research between 2004 and 2008. In her book, she looks at the experiences of migrant women in the inner city – women who came from Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Nigeria, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe to make a life in Johannesburg.
The discussion between Kihato and Kuljian, whose book Sanctuary: How an Inner-City Church Spilled onto a Sidewalk was published last year, centred on Kihato’s research methods, which had a strong ethnographic component, as well as the image of Johannesburg as a city in the liminal space.
She spent time just “hanging out” with a group of migrant women, Kihato explained, and also gave them disposable cameras to document their lives. The result is a book shaped by personal narratives and visual material. The use of photographs presents the reader with the domestic spaces – women’s homes – that are rarely seen.
Kihato’s research includes findings on the dynamic between hawkers and police – as she calls it, an “elaborate performance” – experiences of xenophobia and the brutal realities of domestic violence.
A slideshow was also presented at the event and included photographs of a woman doing her young daughter’s hair before school, a bathtub spattered with blood, and a notice to appear in court, given to Kihato by a street trader who had summarily ignored a fine from the metro police.
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John Kani, actor, playwright and author of Nothing But the Truth, discusses his latest play, Missing.
Speaking to Yazeed Kamaldien from City Press, Kani says he drew heavily on his political past for his latest work, which will be at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg from 4 June. In it he plays a fictional figure named Robert Khalipa, who served the ANC for three decades in exile in Sweden. He expects to be handed a position in parliament under Nelson Mandela and then Thabo Mbeki, but is not called back to South Africa.
Kani says the play tackles the complex relationship apartheid exiles had with “home”:
When Nelson Mandela was released in 1990, it was arranged that a group of these exiles would come home and be part of this negotiating team. And be part of the whole setup structure of the government this side.
Somehow, his name was missing on this list. He could not work out why his name was not on this list. He spends all these years in exile, trying to ask himself: ‘What did I do, what did I not do? What did I say that could be the reason I was left out?’
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Richard Rive, best-known for his excellent play ‘Buckingham Palace’, District Six, was murdered in 1989 – an act that robbed the South African literary community of a strong, talented voice.
At the recent discussion on Rive and Shaun Viljoen’s book Richard Rive: A Partial Biography at the SU Woordfees 2014, veteran journalist Amanda Botha and actor Basil Appollis lamented the fact that Rive had not received the recognition that he deserved. Most of his writing had been banned during apartheid.
It was specifically the recognition of his own community that Rive sought, Appollis said. But instead he faced prejudice within his own family because his skin was darker than his siblings’.
Botha spoke about Rive’s friendship with many Afrikaans writers such as Jan Rabie, Elsa Joubert and Ingrid Jonker. She said she is glad that some of Rive’s works are now begin republished.
Appollis, who used to play the lead role in ‘Buckingham Palace’, District Six, performed powerful scenes from the drama at the event:
Carolyn Meads tweeted live from the event using #Woordfees2014:
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New from Wits Press, Visions of Freedom: Havanna, Washington, Pretoria and the Struggle for Southern Africa 1976-1991, by Piero Gleijeses:
During the final 15 years of the Cold War, southern Africa underwent a period of upheaval, with dramatic twists and turns in relations between the superpowers. Americans, Cubans, Soviets and Africans fought over the future of Angola, where tens of thousands of Cuban soldiers were stationed, ready to decolonise Namibia, Africa’s last colony. Beyond lay the great prize: South Africa. Piero Gleijeses uses archival sources, particularly from the United States, South Africa, and the closed Cuban archive, to provide an unprecedented international history of this important theatre of the late Cold War.
These sources all point to one conclusion: by humiliating the United States and defying the Soviet Union, Fidel Castro changed the course of history in southern Africa. It was Cuba’s victory in Angola in 1988 that forced Pretoria to give Namibia its independence and helped break the back of apartheid South Africa. In the words of Nelson Mandela, the Cubans “destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the white oppressor … [and] inspired the fighting masses of South Africa.”
Visions of Freedom tells a remarkable and sweeping history of Cuba’s role in assisting the so-called Third World from the clutches of white domination. Written with intrigue and insight, it will appeal to scholars of international politics, historians and the general reader interested in Southern African history.
About the author
Piero Gleijeses, born 1944 in Venice, Italy, is a professor of United States foreign policy at the Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. He is best known for his scholarly studies of Cuban foreign policy under Fidel Castro, which earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005, and has also published several works on US intervention in Latin America. He is the only foreign scholar to have been allowed access to the Cuba’s Castro-era government archives.
Author info courtesy Wikipedia
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