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Is Malema a Supernova?

Is Malema a Supernova?

Julius Malema, the firebrand leader of South Africa’s ANC Youth League and lightning rod for controversy may find that his wave has crested too early. Recent polls indicate that his popularity is waning, particularly in the cities that provide so much of his support. This news should not come as a surprise. Of late when […]

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Zambians Vote

Zambians Vote

Zambians go to the polls today to cast their ballots. Not only do they vote for president in what is expected to be one of the most closely contested Zambian election since independence, they also will vote for their representatives for the next five years in parliament and local government. As is so often the […]

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The Rugby World Cup: Early Days

The Rugby World Cup: Early Days

The IRB Rugby World Cup is under way in New Zealand. The hosts come in as the favorites because, much like Brazil in football, the All Blacks pretty much are always the favorites, despite a history of underachievement in rugby’s signature event. The All Blacks have only emerged with one William Webb Ellis Cup, and […]

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South African Crime Down

South African Crime Down

There is good news on that eternal South African bugaboo, crime. The country’s police minister, Minister Nathi Mthethwa, has announced that South Africa’s murder rate — perennially one of the worst in the world — fell by 6.5% in the period from March 2010 to April 2011. In that same time span the number of […]

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Demagoguery, Thy Name is Mugabe

Demagoguery, Thy Name is Mugabe

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s volatile and unpredictable President has moved from his insistence that his country would hold elections in 2011 and now says that Zimbabwe’s elections will be held no later than March 2012. For Mugabe the exact date of the elections matters much less, it seems, than his ability to dictate terms. For Mugabe […]

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ANC and Historical Ironies

ANC and Historical Ironies

ISN Insights has published my latest piece, “ANC: Historical Irony on the Horizon?”, in which I wonder whether or not Jacob Zuma might face a fate similar to that Thabo Mbeki confronted in 2007 and 2008.

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Libya and What Comes Next

Libya and What Comes Next

I’ve been quiet as epochal events have developed in Libya. Suffice it to say that I am cautiously optimistic — Moammar Gaddafi has been bad for Libya, bad for North Africa (ask Chadians about what Libya has meant to them over the year) and especially bad for Pan Africanism, a creed he embraced only after […]

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In Zim It’s Not Just “What Now?” But Also “What Next?”

In Zim It’s Not Just “What Now?” But Also “What Next?”

Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has accused the Zimbabwe military of attacking civilians in politically motivated attacks. Few outside observers doubt that the accusation is plausible. One of the country’s leading military figures, General Solomon Mujuru, died in a fire on his farm in Beatrice on Monday evening. Mujuru, the husband of Zimbabwe’s Vice-President Joice […]

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An African Film Cornucopia

An African Film Cornucopia

A few documentaries have caught my eye. A couple I have seen, one I just received a copy of, and a couple I am looking forward to seeing as soon as possible: SnagFilms has “Raindrops Over Rwanda” streaming for free, and if enough people watch it they will donate $50,000 to the Kigali Memorial Centre in […]

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On SA’s Strikes

On SA’s Strikes

The Mail & Guardian has a comprehensive online guide to this year’s labour strikes. It is a great one-stop-shopping site to get up to speed on events that have shaken South African society and politics.

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African Arguments

African Arguments

Are you reading the African Arguments network of blogs? You should be. African Arguments is a project of the Royal African Society in London, and the “intention of the site is to provide a forum for the serious analysis and discussion of contemporary African affairs with an emphasis on political life, and its impact on […]

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The Lion Roars Even When He Purrs

The Lion Roars Even When He Purrs

Cyril Ramaphosa is the potential game changer in South African politics. The master negotiator for the ANC during the CODESA process that ultimately led to 1994’s elections and the end of apartheid chose the path of business rather than politics after the mid-1990s. Yet there have long been whispers, hints, and yearnings for Ramaphosa to […]

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Ranking Customer Service

Ranking Customer Service

At The New York Times Magazine, Nate Silver decided to try to apply his analytical chops to the question of “where to get the world’s best service.” He basically links standard tipping rates with survey responses about the customer service people received in 24 countries. The takeaway: All of this brings us to the Tipping […]

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Somalia’s Famine: It’s About Politics

Somalia’s Famine: It’s About Politics

In Somalia famine spreads and its death toll rises. It is increasingly clear that while the famine’s proximate cause may be drought, in reality like so many famines this one is predominantly a political creation that emanates from al Shabaab, the al Qaeda-affiliated organization that is actively preventing food aid and other materiel to reach […]

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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). […]

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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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