Foreign Policy Blogs

Southern Africa

Delivery and South African Politics

Delivery and South African Politics

Recent protests in Cape Town (and an article about those protests in the Mail and Guardian) provide a useful reminder that much of the discontent among South Africans, even those who otherwise would proclaim their fealty to the African National Congress (ANC), comes down to the delivery of …

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What shale gas could mean for Southern Africa

What shale gas could mean for Southern Africa

The shale gas debate rages on across Europe, Asia, and North America, but one ponders how the already resource rich Southern Africa fits into this equation. What is there, what is the potential and what could it mean from an economic and geopolitical standpoint?
One country already known to possess great …

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A South African Footnote to “Rush”

A South African Footnote to “Rush”

[Jalopnik/Gawker]
So this is kind of cool. Apparently Formula One legend James Hunt, who is the central character in the new Ron Howard movie Rush, was also an ardent and vocal opponent of the Apartheid regime. Of course this seems to go unmentioned in the movie (Yes, I know …

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People Are Just the Worst (UPDATED)

People Are Just the Worst (UPDATED)

Today’s evidence that people are the absolute worst: Poachers in Zimbabwe have killed more than eighty elephants by putting cyanide in one of their watering holes.
UPDATED: Authorities have caught and convicted the perpetrators, who have received fifteen-year prison sentences.

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Hashim Amla, Race, and South African Cricket

Hashim Amla, Race, and South African Cricket

[Hashim Amla. From Africa is a Country.]
A few months ago Niren Tolsi had a fantastic piece in The Con that he later allowed to be republished in Africa is a Country (which added useful links within the piece) about South African cricketer Hashim Amla. …

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Robert Mugabe: Sore Winner

Robert Mugabe: Sore Winner

[Robert Mugabe in his Default Setting. ©The Guardian]
And in the least surprising news ever, Robert Mugabe proves not to be gracious in victory. He has announced his new government, and the opposition MDC, which has been part of an uncomfortable coalition for the last five years, finds itself on the outside …

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“Only thing left for Zim voters is hope” (Self Indulgence Alert)

“Only thing left for Zim voters is hope” (Self Indulgence Alert)

This past weekend South Africa’s Sunday Independent published a lengthy (by op-ed standards) piece of mine on the Zim elections, which are taking place today. It continues one of my prevailing themes in the last few weeks, and indeed represents an attempt to synthesize my last month’s writing on Zim …

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Uncle Sam, Uncle Bob and elections in Zimbabwe

Uncle Sam, Uncle Bob and elections in Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans will go to the polls on Wednesday to participate in an election that will be closely monitored by hundreds of foreign observers, mostly from around Africa. One country that will be watching despite Western observer missions not being invited is the United States of America.
Relations between Washington and Harare are …

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Zimbabwe Election Countdown

Zimbabwe Election Countdown

In ten days Zimbabweans will go to the polls.
This much we know. And it is just about all we know.
There are glimmers of hope for the opposition. Some are reading murky tea leaves, coming to the conclusion that Morgan Tsvangirai and his wing of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC, …

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On Mandela

On Mandela

The news hanging over the last month or so has been Nelson Mandela’s health. He has been in hospital in Pretoria for several weeks now, with conflicting reports on his condition. It seems that he is critical but stable, he may or may not be on life support, and he …

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Green Point, Melville, and the Gini Coefficient

Green Point, Melville, and the Gini Coefficient

I am wrapping up this latest southern Africa trip over the next couple of days. Almost a week in Green Point, Cape Town, followed by a final few days in Melville, Johannesburg, allows me to decompress, see friends, buy books, write and reflect on the cultures of privilege and privation …

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Hope in Zimbabwe

Hope in Zimbabwe

The monolithic over-road monument that one drives under going to or coming from the airport in Harare reminds one clearly of the importance of the country’s 1980 independence. Hard won in the bush and at international negotiating tables the victory over Ian Smith’s ruthlessly racist Rhodesian regime represented — still …

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Zimpressions

Zimpressions

I think I have a new slogan for the Zimbabwe tourism board: Zim: It’s not as Horrible as You Think!
But, yeah, some aspects of it seem to be pretty wretched. I should provide the standard caveats, of course. Zimbabwe, despite its politicians, is beautiful, its people are warm, its potential …

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Early South Africa Observations

Early South Africa Observations

I arrived in South Africa yesterday after a week in London. Wouldn’t you know, I effectively skirted jetlag in the U.K., then after an overnight flight here on which I was unable to sleep, I arrived yesterday at a bit before seven in the morning. It took a while to …

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Mandela and Mugabe: A Study in Contrasts

Mandela and Mugabe: A Study in Contrasts

[Robert Mugabe and Nelson Mandela]
Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized for more than a week and South Africans are on edge.
Robert Mugabe has controversially announced a quick July 31 date for elections in Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans are on edge.
Of course South Africans are on edge …

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