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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

“What is wrong with the ANC?” – A Look at the Party’s Progress and Problems from Remaking the ANC

Remaking the ANCRemaking the ANC: Party change in South Africa and the Global South, edited by Anthony Butler, seeks to understand the ANC and explain its position in contemporary South Africa. He does this by looking at the history of the organisation and by comparing it to similar organisations in the Global South.

In the excerpt below, Butler traces the ANC’s journey to become what it is today. The ANC is a sprawling and internally diverse organisation, and this creates more than a few problems in policy and governance.

Read the excerpt:

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What is wrong with the ANC?

The ANC is both old and relatively new. It was formed more than a hundred years ago as a representative body for regional African leaders confronting deepening white supremacy and racial exclusion. After spending much of the 20th century engaged in fruitless elite politics, or in the doldrums of exile, the ANC was re-created in 1990 in the form of a mass movement. Although the branch was ostensibly placed at the centre of the organisation’s elective candidate selection and public policy choices, ANC leaders maintained central control by using a combination of procedural manipulation, patronage, co-option and invented tradition. This resulted in a tightly circumscribed internal democracy, central veto powers and relative organisational stability.

The ANC has found it increasingly hard to maintain its ‘broad church’ character and any pretence of ideological coherence. The deepest causes of conflict in the ANC result from changes in the class character of the organisation. Previously united by opposition to apartheid, the ANC now contains an affluent bourgeoisie, a significant ‘new’ middle class (with a particularly heavy representation of public sector trade unionists), a traditional working class, in the mines, factories and service industries, and a broad base among the poor and economically marginalised. The different interests and perspectives of these classes are reflected in disputes about public policy. Such conflicts are no longer effectively managed by the ANC’s tripartite alliance with the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, because these two bodies have themselves become embroiled in factional politics and are increasingly divided by the diverse interests and preoccupations of their own activists.

The unhappy result has been an ANC that has lost policy direction and cannot escape interminable internal conflict. Current efforts to bolster orthodox economic policy making, to improve long-range planning, to privilege reason and evidence in policy deliberations and to subordinate particular interests to broader developmental imperatives depend upon recognition that South Africa is tied into an international capitalist order. The predominance of private property, and resource allocation primarily through markets, will continue to circumscribe policy options.

In today’s ANC, however, many political activists now regard the conservative cast of economic and developmental policy as an ideological commitment rather than a pragmatic reflection of the economic constraints on modern politics. Their impatience is reflected in an avowedly more radical advocacy of public ownership and state-led development as keys to a fast-growing and more equal society. The outflanking of the ANC on the left by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and elements in the trade unions poses a special challenge to ANC strategists.

Meanwhile, during its more than two decades in power, the ANC’s organisational coherence has also eroded. Membership has grown from a little over 400,000 in 2002, to 600,000 in 2007, and then to 1.2 million in 2012. Conference resolutions imply that this growth was partly planned: in 2007, for example, the ANC resolved to grow systematically across the country before the movement’s centenary celebrations, taking ‘steps to practically implement the target set by the 1942 Conference of 1 million members’. The objective of the ANC, according to current secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, has been to complement recruitment with ‘intensive branch political education programmes to improve the quality of members’. Mantashe’s belief that a large membership is desirable may be inspired by the expansion of the Chinese Communist Party from 50 million members to more than 85 million. Mantashe claims the ANC needs 2.5 million members in order to be ‘competitive’ as electoral challenges arise.

The truth is, however, that the movement’s remarkable membership growth has been driven mostly by subnational factors, and in particular by competition for office between party factions. This underlying political dynamic of factional competition has itself been propagated mostly by activists’ pursuit of resources. The national leadership cannot easily bring the money-fuelled membership expansion to a halt: as Mantashe himself has observed, the ANC cannot ‘deliberately stop people from joining it’.

Control of the state has further undermined the ability of the ANC’s leadership to impose party discipline upon activists. ANC policy documents pretend that the movement has been extending its control over the state, parastatals and big business, but the reality is very different. The apartheid state and economy have proven very durable, and they have absorbed much of the leadership of the ANC without their fundamental character being changed. At lower levels of the state, ANC offices have become stepping stones to public sector employment and to control over government tenders. Internal ANC elections and candidate selection processes have become characterised by factional conflicts that are fuelled by private resources. ANC intellectuals have identified further ‘sins of incumbency’ that have arisen as the unintended consequences of being a party of government, with access to state resources, for more than two decades. Meanwhile, established business has drawn much of the new political elite into directorships and economic opportunities without any significant change being ceded in the structure or ownership of the economy.

Misleading mental maps

There has been abundant analysis of the multi-dimensional predicament of the ANC, by political commentators, scholars, activists and ANC leaders themselves. Much – perhaps most – of this analysis has marched along two broad, well-trodden and ultimately misleading intellectual pathways.
In most public debate, the country’s ‘dominant party system’ – in which the ANC has enjoyed overwhelming electoral majorities and dominated the political agenda – is viewed as an abnormal and temporary state of affairs. It is widely believed that this system will one day (perhaps very soon) be superseded. It might be replaced by a ‘normal’ multi-party democracy, in which there is competition for office between a variety of political parties – here the United Kingdom and the United States are common reference points. On the other hand, the dominant party, when confronted with imminent electoral defeat, might refuse to allow competitive elections to be held, and instead use unconstitutional means to retain its grip on power.

These narratives generate two visions of what the future holds for the ANC. One view is that the ANC’s electoral prospects will fade, and a flourishing and competitive multi-party system will emerge. The international academic literature on democratic ‘transition’ has explored this possibility exhaustively in recent years and also examined potential threats to the consolidation of liberal democracy in the country.

The idea that South Africa’s political system will ‘normalise’ into something like a West European multi-party democracy may, however, be deeply misleading. One political scientist recently described the transformation of a dominant party system into a competitive multiparty democracy as akin to ‘the passage from adolescence into adulthood’ or as a process of ‘evolution’ and ‘maturity’. It is true that longstanding dominant parties in the global North – including governing parties in Sweden, Canada, Eire and Italy – no longer enjoy electoral dominance or hold ideological sway over their societies. But dominant party systems sometimes take decades to become multi-party systems, and there can be numerous reversals along the way. (We should remark at this point that Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party screamed back to power in 2012 just as its demise was once again confidently predicted.) New dominant parties can also emerge where they did not exist before. Meanwhile, the alleged end point of such normalisation processes – the multi-party competitive system – is itself changing in poorly understood ways, and increasingly lacks the competitive and democratic character that has made it hitherto so politically attractive.

The second view of what the future holds is that the liberation movement is destined to become increasingly authoritarian as electoral challenges mount. Some critics have focused on the alleged ‘Zanufication’ of the ANC. This analysis forms part of a wider set of suppositions about why South Africa will inevitably follow a similar political trajectory to its northern neighbour, Zimbabwe. Some scholars have inadvertently bolstered this conventional wisdom by confining their comparative analysis to African political parties and systems or to national liberation movements in southern Africa.

Events in Zimbabwe over the past decade have certainly provided a riveting spectacle for local elites to watch. And scholars are right to suggest that the comparative study of southern African liberation movements in power can indeed yield significant insights into the trajectory of the ANC. The hopes that were placed in national liberation movements by outside observers and citizens were largely dashed: these movements became authoritarian, intolerant of opposition, deeply corrupt and economically imprudent. In a powerful recent comparative analysis, Roger Southall suggests that they have privileged their own authority over that of the people they claim to represent. They have denigrated their competitors as illegitimate, and advanced patriotic histories of their societies that render opposition politics illegitimate.

These movements share certain historical contexts. Across most of sub-Saharan Africa, colonial powers withdrew rather than being ejected. Where, however, there were significant settler populations that would not concede power, for example in Namibia and Zimbabwe, anti-colonial forces had to engage in armed struggle. This resulted in a change in the character of those movements: they became militaristic, advanced heroic conceptions of their own supposedly revolutionary actions, and developed habits of hierarchy and secrecy that were carried over into the period of liberation. Moreover, the southern African settler societies were economically more advanced than other African states, and they were riven by correspondingly more complex class structures. They depended on extended relationships with international partners, who introduced social democratic, communist, and pan-Africanist ideas into their political doctrines. Southall notes that repeated electoral majorities for these movements, combined with their control of their nations’ political agendas, resulted in the blurring of boundaries between state and party. Meanwhile, post-colonial nationalist elites all ‘stepped into the shoes’ of the departing colonial elites, adopting their lifestyles and pretensions, while cynically transferring resources to themselves under the guise of projects of Africanisation or indigenisation.

However, as Southall himself observes, it is unclear to what extent the ANC’s experience as a national liberation movement predisposes it to replicate such political pathologies. Patterns of white domination varied between southern African societies and so generated responses that were quite different in each case. ‘The ANC’, he notes, ‘emerged from struggles within a far more advanced, more complicated, more urbanised, and more diverse society, and its predisposition to embrace difference was a vital outcome.’ The settler population is also far bigger in South Africa than in neighbouring countries and it is less able to emigrate. In the economy, the private sector is massively more developed than in neighbouring countries, and it possesses a greater ability to fund redistribution and to accommodate the rent-seeking ambitions of incoming political elites. As a result of such contextual differences, according to Southall, national liberation movements’ struggles will have outcomes marked as much ‘by their differences as their similarities’.

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Six Points to Rejuvenate an Ailing Political Party: An Excerpt from Remaking the ANC by Anthony Butler

Remaking the ANCRemaking the ANC: Party change in South Africa and the Global South, edited by Anthony Butler, is a book about South Africa’s current dominant political party and other organisations like it in the Global South. It looks at how political parties adapt to challenges and changes over time, and charts the road to oblivion if they fail to do so.

In the excerpt below, Butler lists six things to consider for party reform. He says that every party is different to every other party, and will face its own unique challenges and complexities. Nevertheless, the process of party change is never entirely new and the concerns he lists are common to most political organisations.

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Six considerations for party reformers

Rejuvenating an ailing party is never easy. Party leaders must address the complex and unique challenges that derive from a party’s own history, culture and political environment. There are no reliable templates that can be borrowed from other parties – not even from organisations that share common experiences as dominant parties of government in developing countries, or from comrades who claim similar ideological or historical roots.

Adapting to change is, however, never something entirely new. After all, a dominant party, in order to stay dominant across two or more decades, must already have reacted repeatedly and self-consciously to assorted political challenges. When such a party’s leaders are hit by the crisis of electoral defeat – or by the fear of its impending arrival – they find themselves with a bewildering range of potential options. To name but a few: they can undertake changes to their identity and ideas; refashion their programmes and public policies; remake party constitutions; modify procedures for selecting leaders and candidates; open up or close down intra-party democracy; renew, expand, contract or re-educate their memberships; subvert democratic institutions and practices; or repress their opponents, using their grasp of the levers of state power.

Party leaders, as we have emphasised, will approach organisational and political adaptation informed by their party’s goals. But what do parties really want? Their objectives are likely to include some mix of vote maximisation; the pursuit of office (or particular offices); the realisation of policy objectives; and a desire (on the part of activists at least) for internal party democracy to grow. In the self-conscious reflection about goals in the ANC’s strategic documents, such objectives are mixed together with a broader pursuit of human emancipation and ideological hegemony.

Dominant parties are likely to experience serious conflicts over party goals because they embrace such a wide range of constituencies and interests. They also deliberate upon the historic purposes of their movement using doctrinal formulations (such as ‘national democratic revolution’) that are deliberately opaque and accommodate diverse aspirations and philosophies. Bigger parties at least tend to be more consistently office-seeking and centrist in their behaviour than their smaller counterparts (and dominant parties are always big parties). For this reason, they are more likely to be pragmatic in their strategies for occupying the central space in politics. Dominant parties are also long-term governing parties, and the objectives they pursue are shaped by their extended and intricate relationships with the state and with business. Beyond these broader considerations, the chapters in this book suggest that there are six key factors that reformers should bear in mind when contemplating a party reform project.

Firstly, don’t panic. In dominant party systems, the opposition is almost always weaker than it appears. The ruling party has a reservoir of trust, patronage networks and skilled political activists at its disposal. Opposition parties find it hard to move to the centre-ground of politics and to secure sustainable popular support. Even in the realm of ideology, a dominant party’s ideas continue to hold sway even after an electoral defeat and eviction from legislative and executive offices.

Secondly, modernisation is inescapably political, and the implications of each administrative and procedural reform need to be carefully calculated. Changes to basic administrative systems; the introduction of new technologies to manage membership recruitment and retention; mechanisms for running internal list processes and elections; and performance-monitoring systems: all of these can radically change who holds power in the party (usually to the benefit of the centre). So, too, can the introduction of mandatory ‘political education’ programmes and the development of difference classes or categories of membership or cadreship.

Thirdly, money is central to politics. The ability to channel resources, such as jobs and public services, to particular constituencies lies at the heart of many dominant parties’ endurance in power. But patronage can alienate voters, and the power-brokers who mobilise voters in exchange for resources are a threat as well as a resource. Moreover, slow-growing and sclerotic economies such as South Africa’s simply cannot sustain patronage relationships on a sufficient scale to sway electors. And money politics is at the heart of the factional struggles that have the power to tear a dominant party apart. The availability of public funding, transfers from parastatals, and private donations all have ambivalent effects. Distribution and openness matter: national control over financial resources, when combined with transparency legislation, can empower the centre of the party, limit the accumulation of ‘war chests’ at lower levels, and stabilise factional jostling for offices.

Fourthly, leaders in the centre must respond to the interests and perspectives of their party peripheries and regions. In middle-income countries, there are typically vast developmental and economic gulfs between urban and rural constituencies. A balance must be struck between centralisation and decentralisation when it comes to candidate selection, control over the distribution of state and party resources, and the selection of regional and national leaders. It is essential, in particular, to avert large-scale regional defections that can provide a platform for the growth of opposition challengers.

Fifthly, the character of factional politics in a dominant, or once-dominant, party is central to its prospects for success. ‘Unity’, as Boucek observes, ‘is a necessary, albeit insufficient, condition for party dominance.’ Dominant parties need to maintain coalitions of voters, special groups and allied parties. But, above all, in order to avoid ‘degenerative factionalism’, they need to sustain a coalition of inevitably competitive internal factions. Boucek observes that ‘the intra-party dimension of competition is a critical factor in explaining the maintenance and the decline of dominant parties’. We would add that it is crucial to understanding their resurgence.

Finally, the leaders of dominant parties threatened with defeat can embrace electoral competition, resist it or subvert it. Some members of each of the dominant parties explored in this volume espouse nationalist or quasi-socialist ideologies that can be used to justify the manipulation of electoral rules and institutions, to promote mobilisation around race, religion or ethnicity, to abuse freedom of the media and other political freedoms, and to subvert judicial independence. The conditions under which mild subversion becomes authoritarian repression are in part a product of deliberation among dominant party leaders and strategists.

The ANC is not set on any ineluctable path into the future. Our exploration of the experiences of other governing parties in middle-income developing countries demonstrates that many varieties of adaptation to defeat, or to the threat of it, are available to leaders of the liberation movement.

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Zapiro Comments on Chester Missing Controversy: Roodt and Hofmeyr are Short on Grey Matter

Chester Missing's Guide to the Elections '14DemoCrazyIt's Code Red!Zapiro has added his voice to the recent Dan Roodt/Steve Hofmeyr/Chester Missing controversy, saying Roodt and Hofmeyr are clearly “short on grey matter”.

Zapiro, South Africa’s preeminent political cartoonist and commentator, is quick to point out that he is pleased to be able to make light of the matter, as it had a positive outcome.

“It’s a freedom of speech issue,” Zapiro tells News24, “but it’s a bizarre one. I mean, how on earth Steve Hofmeyr, dimwit that he is, could have thought he could get away with this …

“He seems to be fairly proud of being a racist, but when they call him on it and it affects his pocket, he gets all hurt and confused and thinks it’s a freedom of speech issue.”

Watch the video:

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Win a Copy of Cape Town Flavours and Traditions by Sophia Lindop

Cape Town Flavours and TraditionsJacana Media is offering two lucky individuals the opportunity to win a copy of Cape Town Flavours and Traditions. All you have to do is like and share their Facebook page – as simple as that!

In Cape Town Flavours and Traditions food fanatic Sophia Lindop offers recipes for some of the best culinary delights from Cape Town, sharing the gastronomic history of the Mother City and inviting you to sample the taste of Cape cuisine. Photographer Neil Austin’s work beautifully illustrates the delicious and flamboyant flavours of the melting pot which is Cape Town.

Here’s where to share the page:

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Join Carolyn Hamilton, Pippa Skotnes and Paula Ensor for the Launch of Uncertain Curature in Cape Town

Launch: Uncertain Curature

 
Uncertain CuratureJacana Media invites you to the launch of Uncertain Curature, edited by Carolyn Hamilton and Pippa Skotnes.

The editors will be in conversation with Paula Ensor at Commune.1 in Cape Town on Thursday, 4 December. The event will start at 5 PM and is part of Cape Town’s “First Thursday” museum and gallery evening.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 4 December 2014
  • Time: 5:00 PM
  • Venue: Commune.1
    Cape Town Art Gallery
    64 Wale Street
    Cape Town City Centre
    Cape Town | Map
  • Interviewer: Paula Ensor
  • RSVP: Zinta van der Linde, zinta@jacana.co.za, 011 628 3200

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Excerpt from Askari: Jacob Dlamini Outlines the Origins of Vlakplaas and its Resonance Today

AskariRead an excerpt from Jacob Dlamini’s explosive new book, Askari: A story of collaboration and betrayal in the anti-apartheid struggle.

In this chapter Dlamini delves into the origins of the askari project, which began at Vlakplaas, west of Pretoria. Initially askaris were treated as informers, being paid around R200 for their efforts. By 1982, however, they were absorbed into the police force proper, and paid between R600 and R700 a month.

Read the excerpt:

* * * * * * * * *

Chapter 2: The Askari

The Security Branch had established the askari project in 1979, using a handful of defectors and captured ANC and PAC insurgents, as part of a campaign to improve South Africa’s domestic counterinsurgency capabilities. The first recruits were housed at Vlakplaas, a 44-hectare farm along the Hennops River, west of Pretoria, bought specially for this purpose. The first askaris were treated as informers and paid about R200 from a secret police fund. When Tlhomedi Ephraim Mfalapitsa became an askari in January 1982, a month after defecting from the ANC, the Security Branch gave him new clothes, food rations and ‘some few hundred rands’ as a stipend. At the end of January 1982, the Security Branch changed the askaris’ status from informers to police officers by absorbing them into the police force proper at salaries ranging, according to Mfalapitsa, from R600 to R700 a month.

           Save for Colonel Johan Viktor, its founding commander, Vlakplaas was at first an all-black unit. Viktor was replaced in August 1980 by Captain Dirk Coetzee, a ‘gangster of practically Olympic achievements’. Coetzee was demoted at the end of 1981 for passing around pornographic material among his colleagues – but not before killing a number of anti-apartheid activists on behalf of a grateful government. It was acceptable to kill for God and Country – but definitely not OK to peddle smut. In August 1981 a number of white policemen, all veterans of South Africa’s counterinsurgencies in Rhodesia and South West Africa (Namibia), were transferred to Vlakplaas. The askaris on the farm were divided into four groups, each led by a white officer. Vlakplaas fell under Section C, the counter-terrorism arm of the Security Branch. By 1982 Vlakplaas and its askaris were considered the ‘special forces’ of the Security Branch.

           The Security Branch referred to Vlakplaas as a rehabilitation centre for former terrorists. But, as the TRC observed, ‘there is no sign that any rehabilitation took place’. Goodman Twala, an MK operative who became an askari in January 1986, said his police interrogators offered to take him to a ‘rehabilitation centre’, meaning Vlakplaas, if he agreed to defect. Asked what he did at Vlakplaas, Twala replied, ‘I did not do anything specific there, except that it was work.’

           Twala was trying to make ‘working’ at Vlakplaas sound banal. It was anything but. When Almond Nofomela joined Vlakplaas in December 1980, shortly after his graduation from the Hammanskraal Police College, he, his fellow officers and the askaris at Vlakplaas received intensive training in counterinsurgency techniques. Nofomela recalled, ‘It was a physical training and theory in how should you ambush, how you should kidnap and how should you shoot and so on.’

           According to Nofomela, Vlakplaas operatives were taught that ‘whenever we shoot we shoot from the chest and to the head’. They were also instructed on how to use weapons made in the Eastern bloc and to handle knives of different lengths. ‘Captain [Dirk] Coetzee emphasised the fact that when we, for instance, when we kidnap at times, we should use a knife to injure a person so that we would be in a position to overpower him, not to kill him and so on.’ Nofomela and his colleagues first applied their training on 19 November 1981 when they ambushed and killed Griffiths Mxenge, a lawyer and underground ANC operative, in Umlazi, near Durban. Nofomela, fellow cop David Tshikalanga and askaris Brian Ngqulunga and Joe Mamasela butchered Mxenge near a stadium in Umlazi. Using knives to make the killing look like a robbery, they almost severed Mxenge’s head. They then stole his car, wristwatch and leather jacket as trophies.

           Some claim that the askari project did not begin as a deliberate tool of state violence. Chris Mosiane, an MK operative who became an askari in 1984 following his abduction from a Swaziland jail by the Security Branch, stated, ‘In the initial stages askaris were used as police dogs to sniff out insurgents with white SB [Security Branch members] as their handlers. Black SB were used to monitor the askaris.’ But from the very beginning askaris always did more than track their former comrades. They served as agents provocateurs, assassins, bounty hunters, double agents, informers, intelligence analysts, spies and, of course, state witnesses. Some even ran agents within the ANC and PAC, and many mounted false-flag operations, such as recruiting unsuspecting youths and then giving them booby-trapped explosives, to discredit the anti-apartheid organisations. They were assisted in the performance of their duties by a network of apartheid agents in both the ANC and PAC.

           When, in January 2014, I interviewed a former askari whom I will call Judas Mpho Tladi, I asked about the biggest surprise he experienced after he became an askari in January 1988. Tladi said it was finding out just who in the ANC was in the pay of the South African police and spy agencies. Tladi had operated in the ANC underground in Swaziland and specialised in illegal border crossings. His job included moving ANC members in and out of Swaziland and Mozambique. Tladi’s ANC network had depended on people on both sides of the South Africa–Swaziland border. Tladi revealed that a woman named Jane Mtshali (not her real name), who had been part of his ANC network in Piet Retief, had in fact been working for the Security Branch – something he discovered only after he became an askari. When I heard this, it was my turn to be surprised.

           I had met Mtshali in 2009 during a research trip to a township outside Piet Retief. Mtshali and her fellow ANC councillors in the local municipality had been kicked out of office in a wave of protests that rocked South Africa after Jacob Zuma became South Africa’s president in May 2009. Mtshali boasted during our interview that, unlike the young protesters who had kicked her out of office and torched her house, she had paid her dues in the struggle. She had been a member of the ANC underground in Piet Retief, responsible for moving insurgents in and out of South Africa. Few of the protesters who had driven her out of her home are likely to have known this, and certainly none of those I interviewed suggested at the time that Mtshali might have been an apartheid agent. She offered to take me to the border area to show me where she would ferry insurgents across. I never took her up on her offer.

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Join Koni Benson, The Trantraal Brothers and Zapiro for the Launch of Crossroads at The Book Lounge

Book Launch: Crossroads Comics

 
It's Code Red!Isotrope Media would like to invite you to the launch of Crossroads by Nathan and Andre Trantraal and Koni Benson.

The event will take place on Wednesday, 3 December, at The Book Lounge at 5:30 PM. The Trantraal Brothers are political cartoonists for the Cape Argus and Benson is a writer and research associate at the University of Cape Town.

The authors will be in conversation with political cartoonist Zapiro, whose latest book It’s Code Red! was published by Jacana this year. Crossroads is a graphic novel history series that tells the tale of women’s resistance to slum clearance in Crossroads, Cape Town, from 1975 to 2014.

Don’t miss it!

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Excerpt from I See You by Ishtiyaq Shukri: Journalists Report from Leila Mashal’s First Campaign Speech

I See YouI See You is EU Literary Award-winner Ishtiyaq Shukri’s second novel. It tells the story of medical doctor Leila Mashal’s entry to the arena of politics with a unique campaign focused on the sole issue of freedom – an issue one would expect to be no longer relevant 20 years after the first democratic elections in South Africa.

In the excerpt below, shared by Aerodrome, a reporter and a news anchor discuss her campaign, explaining why so many different groups of people would be interested in her first speech as an official candidate in the upcoming local elections. The anchor is baffled by the large group of people who have turned up at the event and the reporter explains that, despite being independent and relatively unknown on the political scene, Mashal has her own “enormous” backstory which is supported by incredible online social networking.

Read the excerpt to find out more about Mashal’s background:

News anchor: Welcome back.

In the run-up to local elections in South Africa next year, one independent candidate has already captured the spotlight. A doctor by profession, Leila Mashal has announced her intention to give up medicine and take up politics. Our reporter John Smith is outside the Great Hall at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where Dr Mashal is about to address a packed auditorium.

Not an obvious choice of venue, John. Is this the start of an elitist campaign for highbrow academics?

Reporter: On the contrary. We’ve been filming outside the Great Hall here at Wits since the middle of the afternoon, when people started arriving by the busload ahead of the presentation by Dr Mashal, or Leila, as she is more commonly called, and I can tell you, the scenes here have been phenomenal. Yes, there will of course be academic and specialist interest in what Leila has to say here tonight on a campus where she herself was a student back in the eighties. But remember, universities are not only about the academics and professors you mentioned – more importantly, they are about young people, who are by far the majority on any university campus up and down the country.

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Get Your Copy of It’s Code Red! Signed by Zapiro in Cape Town

It's Code Red!Jacana and Exclusive Books would like to invite you to a Zapiro book signing event at the Table Bay Hotel at the V&A Waterfront.

Zapiro will be signing copies of his latest coolection of sharp-witted and well-timed cartoons It’s Code Red! on Saturday, 29 November, from 11 AM until 1 PM.

Don’t miss it!
 
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Join Erica Platter and Devi Sankaree Govender for the Launch of Durban Curry at Bargain Books Ballito

Durban Curry: So much of flavourJacana Media And Bargain Books Ballito would like to invite you to the launch of Durban Curry: So much of flavour by Erica Platter and Devi Sankaree Govender.

The launch will take place on Friday, 28 November, at Bargain Books inside the Ballito Lifestyle Centre. Join Erica Platter and Devi Sankaree Govender at 5:30 for 6 PM as they take you on a culinary journey with their food storybook. Durban Curry includes recipes for masalas, sambals and so much more.

Don’t miss it!

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