Foreign Policy Blogs

ANC Versus ANC-YL Over . . . Botswana?

The African National Congress (ANC) and the ANC Youth League have clashed over the issue of, of all things, politics in Botswana. Basically, the Youth League has called for political change in Botswana, supporting the the Botswana National Front, (BNF) which the Youth League calls its “ally,” instead of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The ANC is understandably peeved about what it sees as the Youth League’s foray into foreign affairs that are rightfully the ANC’s ambit.

I would suspect that lots of folks even within the ANC hierarchy would be happy to see the BNF supplant President Ian Khama’s BDP. But given Botswana’s stability and general reputation in the region it is untoward for a faction in South Africa’s ruling party to seem to be taking sides. It would be bizarre in some ways for Botswana to become the big flash point between the ANC and the Youth League given the various shenanigans and machinations of the latter. At the same point, were it not this it seemed almost destined to be something else. The Youth League seems to fancy itself the latest incarnation of the Young Turks who shook up the ANC hierarchy in the 194os, bringing Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, and others to the fore. I’ll let you decide whether or not Julius Malema, ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, and others in the current Youth League hierarchy warrant the mantel of Mandela, Sisulu, and Tambo.



Derek Catsam

Derek Catsam is a Professor of history and Kathlyn Cosper Dunagan Professor in the Humanities at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He is also Senior Research Associate at Rhodes University. Derek writes about race and politics in the United States and Africa, sports, and terrorism. He is currently working on books on bus boycotts in the United States and South Africa in the 1940s and 1950s and on the 1981 South African Springbok rugby team's tour to the US. He is the author of three books, dozens of scholarly articles and reviews, and has published widely on current affairs in African, American, and European publications. He has lived, worked, and travelled extensively throughout southern Africa. He writes about politics, sports, travel, pop culture, and just about anything else that comes to mind.

Areas of Focus:
Africa; Zimbabwe; South Africa; Apartheid