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Mandela’s Health, and South Africa’s

Mandela’s Health, and South Africa’s

[Mail & Guardian] Nelson Mandela is once again in the hospital and as has been the case so often in the past, his lungs are the source of his health problems. Mandela is obviously such a symbolically resonant figure in the country’s history that it is nearly unimaginable that he has slowed down to the […]

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A Fight Club Approach to Policy in the Sahel

A Fight Club Approach to Policy in the Sahel

[Atlantic-Community.org] Last week Atlantic Community, “The Open Think Tank on Foreign Policy,” hosted a theme week of articles from various observers on global affairs to discuss the theme of “Security in the Sahel.” My contribution was “A Fight Club Approach to Policy in the Sahel” in which I questioned whether or not it even makes […]

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The Kenyan Election: Temper Your Optimism

The Kenyan Election: Temper Your Optimism

[The Star] There is little doubting that the Kenyan elections just passed went a whole lot better than the last ones, in 2007, that resulted in widespread violence and chaos. December 2007 and January 2008 saw bloodshed that some observers chalked up to simple tribal and ethnic clashes. But that simplistic assessment reduced complex political […]

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Defending African “Superstition” and “Irrationality”

Defending African “Superstition” and “Irrationality”

(Pictiure from Tribeca Films/New York Times) Oh dear. In a (quite positive) review of the new film War Witch, which is set in an anonymous Sub-Saharan African country (but was filmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and clearly is intended to evoke that country’s conflicts), Stephen Holden drops this little observation: “Superstition, witchcraft, exorcism, […]

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Agang: Contender or Pretender?

Agang: Contender or Pretender?

So Mamphela Ramphele has re-entered South African politics in a big way. Ramphele, an anti-apartheid stalwart, Black Consciousness Leader, Medical Doctor, and academic leader recently announced the formation of a new political party, Agang, which she casts in the role of saving her country. Coming from a Sotho word meaning “Build,” Agang represents a frontal […]

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Unpredictability, West African Dominance, and the 2013 Africa Cup Of Nations

Unpredictability, West African Dominance, and the 2013 Africa Cup Of Nations

Over the course of the last two weeks the African Cup of Nations football tournament has been playing out its myriad dramas across the host nation of South Africa. Historically played every in even numbered years, The Confederation of African Football (CAF) decided to switch to an odd-numbered-year format in no small part so as […]

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South African Budget Transparency

South African Budget Transparency

There are certain narratives in South Africa that seem immune to change over time. Despite many indications that violent crime has been going down consistently over the last decade or more, South Africa is still tainted as a crime-infested country. Although AIDS rates have been dropping, for many South Africa still represents Sub-Saharan Africa’s AIDS […]

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Zimbabwe’s Election Year

Zimbabwe’s Election Year

[Image From SW Radio Africa] Zimbabwe no longer occupies a great deal of space in international media coverage. Even in South African media the neighbor north of the Limpopo has returned to secondary status, on the backburner but not on the boil. And it is true that things in Zimbabwe are not what they were […]

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The Mangaung Aftermath

The Mangaung Aftermath

[Image From: African Executive] It seems as if everyone and their mother has an opinion on the state of South African politics after Mangaung. For better or for worse, the African National Congress has reaffirmed Jacob Zuma’s status as the leader of party and country. It has brought Cyril Ramaphosa back into the political loop […]

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Zuma Wins, Ramaphosa Looms Over His Shoulder

Zuma Wins, Ramaphosa Looms Over His Shoulder

So, Jacob Zuma was rather easily elected to continue on as ANC President, and therefore to represent the ANC as the party’s presidential choice in the 2014 elections. We can debate whether this is a good or bad idea. But barring unforeseen circumstances (and let’s face it — Zuma is not the poster child for […]

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Mangaung

Mangaung

South African politics have been on a collision course toward Mangaung all year. The African National Congress is holding its National Conference in Mangaung, (the metropolitan region that includes Bloemfontein) this week and all of the political intrigue of the last few years will come to a head. Indeed, one can draw a straight line […]

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What Do You Do About a Problem Like Malema?

What Do You Do About a Problem Like Malema?

  In the latest twist of the saga in current South African politics former ANC Youth League President Julius Malema has been charged with money laundering. Malema, once an ally of President Jacob Zuma now counts himself as Zuma’s chief foe. “We must make sure Jacob Zuma does not become president of the ANC…. Remove […]

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Of Marikana, Malema and Mangaung: South Africa’s Faultlines

Of Marikana, Malema and Mangaung: South Africa’s Faultlines

[Protesting mineworkers at Marikana mine in South Africa, September 5, 2012. Photograph by Mike Hutchings/REUTERS.] The Marikana Massacre, which pitted police against striking miners, labor against capital, and in the minds of many the state against the people, serves as a brutal and grim reminder of just how divided post-Apartheid South Africa is. The Mandela […]

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The Sentencing of a Killer and Odd Progress in South Africa

The Sentencing of a Killer and Odd Progress in South Africa

[Eugene Terre’Blanche against the backdrop of an AWB flag, From The Guardian via Google Images] I hope you will all forgive my recent break from blogging. But I am back and plan to resume regular posting starting now. Obviously a great deal has transpired across the continent in recent weeks. And nowhere has seen fissures […]

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Kenya’s Debt, Kenya’s Promise

Kenya’s Debt, Kenya’s Promise

So, what does it mean that Kenya’s debt is low low that if the country were part of the Eurozone it would have the third lowest debt ratio? Probably not a great deal. It means, of course, that Kenya has managed its debt well. It means that data can reveal a great deal, but that […]

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About the Author

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

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