Citizen.Speak.Amplify

‘Five Fingers For Marseilles’ Is A Haunting Meditation On Failure

“Why did you come back? Once you turned the world upside down and ran. Now you are here and it starts again.” What happens after we realise that our plans have come to nothing, that we are fallible against the forces of evil, and that our friends and comrades will inevitably betray us? What do we do after that? Michael Matthews’s western film Five Fingers For Marseilles is a stunning attempt to answer a question that – whether we realise it or not – looms over post-apartheid South Africa like a foreboding thunderstorm. Five…

Sydney Mufamadi vs Pascale Lamche, And The Politics Of Memory

The politics of memory were on full display at a press conference hosted by the former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi – an often tense and angry three-act play in which the documentary filmmaker Pascale Lamche and the veteran journalist Thandeka Gqubule spoke out for the first time after the death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on 2 April 2018 opened up old wounds inflicted during and after the end of apartheid. The death of Madikizela-Mandela ignited interest in Lamche’s otherwise somewhat obscure documentary…

Fascism And The EFF: Or How To Gaslight The Media

Let me be the second to congratulate Gareth van Onselen, after he congratulated himself first in the Huffington Post this week. After he wrote on 7 March in Business Day that the Economic Freedom Fighters is a fascist political party, he was parroted by a number of media commentators including the vice chancellor of the University of Witwatersrand, Adam Habib. It is quite astonishing how quickly this new meme has spread amongst the older male commentariat. Was there a WhatsApp group message? Very curious. I’m less interested…

Individualised Activism With No Structural Analysis Offers Only Half Solutions

At the first Oslo Freedom Forum held on African soil, activists from around the world shared stories of working to try and overcome authoritarianism and repression around the world, from Middle East dictatorships to the scourge of child brides in Malawi. However, not much of these conversations featured an analysis of the interconnectivity of Western economic systems with repressive regimes around the world. The world’s problems cannot be solved by individual activists and campaigners alone. We need to challenge the system…

Land: Why So Afraid Of A Debate?

If there ever was any doubt that different South Africans mean completely different things when they speak about the land, the debate sparked in parliament on Tuesday by the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) draft resolution on the expropriation of land without compensation surely proved exactly that. The land question can be avoided no longer – it is of crucial economic, social and legal importance. So why are critics of expropriation balking at the prospect of debating it in parliament? In the midst of the draft resolution…

Malema’s Land Expropriation Resolution Passes – Helped By The ANC

On Tuesday afternoon, the parliamentary caucus of the African National Congress (ANC) chose to support a draft resolution, with amendments, introduced by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for parliament to establish an ad hoc committee to explore, debate and finally introduce a constitutional amendment to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation in the public interest. On Tuesday, the CIC @Julius_S_Malema will lead a Motion on Expropriation of Land without Compensation for Equal Redistribution at 14h00.…

Cyril Ramaphosa’s New Cabinet – Who’s In, Who’s Out

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his first cabinet reshuffle on Monday night - announcing sweeping changes to the team he'd inherited from his deposed predecessor Jacob Zuma. (Who, incidentally, made 11 changes to his cabinet during his tenure, including two in 2017.) The Daily Vox gives you the breakdown of which ministers are out, which are new, and which have been shown the door. (This list is based on Zuma's last cabinet, so some "new" ministers are in fact returning from earlier reshuffles.) The new cabinet was not…

5 Talking Points From The Gigaba Budget

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba tabled the budget for the 2018 year, announcing a new tax regime, including an increase in value-added tax (VAT) since the democratic dispensation, and increases to personal income tax, to plug a massive revenue shortfall in the government budget, as well as free education. 1. In spite of a more positive growth outlook, government still needs to find R48.2 billion Gigaba announced that the government still needs to plug a massive revenue hole, in spite of a marginally improved economic…

Cyril’s SONA: Sexy Neoliberalism Is Back, Baby! Awooo!

Well. That was different, wasn’t it? President Cyril Ramaphosa. An undisrupted State of the Nation Address. Julius Malema giggling like a lovestruck teenager. And the promises. Oh, the promises. If the new president didn’t promise to come to your derelict house and fix the broken light switches himself, you must be the only South African left out. President Cyril Ramaphosa. It is still taking some getting used to. President Cyril Ramaphosa… The tongue wraps clumsily around the syllables, and spills them out hesitantly and…

EFF: Zuma Is Gone, Now Dissolve Parliament

Following the resignation of Jacob Zuma as the president of the republic on Wednesday night, the Economic Freedom Fighters hosted a press conference on Thursday, where the party leader Julius Malema said that the 5th parliament must still be dissolved. Malema said that the EFF would not be a part of the election of African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday to the state presidency, but would be joining the State of the Nation address, due on Friday. He further said that the party would be supporting the…

Wakanda Felt Like Home

The Hollywood imagination has a troublesome relationship with Africa, perhaps best embodied by Leonardo di Caprio’s jaded Rhodesian character Danny Archer in the 2006 film Blood Diamond, who muses wearily: “Sometimes I wonder... will God ever forgive us for what we've done to each other? Then I look around and I realise... God left this place a long time ago.” Or perhaps in Jennifer Connelly, playing the cloying, do-good Maddy Bowen who gasps her way through the ruins of a West African civil war and genocide. We could talk…

Mmusi takes over Cape Town crisis response. But why?

On Wednesday, the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Mmusi Maimane hosted a press conference on the City of Cape Town’s looming water crisis. Flanked by city and provincial officials, he announced that he was ‘taking political control’ of the local and provincial governments’ response to the crisis. However, is he constitutionally mandated to do so? Or has he stepped over the line? “As leader of the DA, all DA governments are accountable to me through the federal executive. I am not fully satisfied with the way the city…

H&M deserves no sympathy – the fashion industry is built on brutal, racist exploitation

In 2013, a multi-storey commercial building in the Bangladeshi capital city of Dhaka collapsed, killing 1135 people and injuring thousands more. The disaster was notable not just for being the worst in the country’s history, but for the factories that operated inside the building too – this was a supplier to several global fashion brands. Reuters reported in 2016 that Bangladesh, after China, was the world’s second-largest exporter of ready-made garments, mainly because of duty-free access to Western markets and super-low…

Zuma’s free education plan is a ferocious hospital pass to his successor

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba was the very picture of discomfort on Saturday. He was at the 54th national conference of the African National Congress, as a senior national executive committee (NEC) member. But suddenly he found himself surrounded by journalists, and answering questions on something that surely would have been far from his mind – how he was going to find the money to pay for a new higher education funding regime that President Jacob Zuma had suddenly announced. Wait for the budget speech next year, he told…

The President’s Keepers and state capture: black intellectualism needs to focus, please

It is astonishing that a book revealing deep-rooted and widespread corruption and state capture in government should instead prompt a pointless debate about Jacques Pauw and his supposed audience. South Africa has an undernourished literary tradition. Even among the sophisticated, one still finds confusion and struggle over what constitutes a news article, commentary, analysis, narrative journalism and so on, and why a writer might choose to employ these methods. Ask any editor and they will show you the bald spots on their…

#BlackMonday: Whither the political leadership?

That South Africa is a bitterly divided society is a trite observation, and those divisions must inevitably play out in how different groups interpret social ills that affect us all. Black Monday was one such moment – hundreds of people across the country wore black and marched to protest farm murders. The march, which was supported by AfriForum, agricultural and business groups, as well as ordinary citizens, was sparked by the brutal murder of a farmer in the Western Cape during a robbery. Crime is a terrible problem in our…

The Fees Commission Report will not ease #FMF

: The presidency released the Fees Commission report on 13 November 2017. First will come the outrage. Then the protests. Then more protests. The end to the university crisis is nowhere near at hand, and the release of the report by The Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training (The Fees Commission) will not produce the answer that students so desperately want to hear. There will be no easing of the financial chokehold that is strangling so many of them to death. The City Press reported on Sunday that the Fees…

Who is Hlengiwe Mkhize, the new Minister for Higher Education and Training?

On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma suddenly announced a Cabinet reshuffle – his second in 2017 – where he finally removed the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) minister Blade Nzimande from cabinet. The reshuffle means that the DHET is now in the hands of Hlengiwe Mkhize, formerly the minister of Home Affairs, who had been in that position for just 6.5 months. She must now deal with, among many other issues, the fight over the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training (Fees Commission) and the…

These students escaped a flooded minibus on the N2 highway during Tuesday’s storm in Durban

On Tuesday, Durban was wracked by a terrible storm. There was mass damage to infrastructure, roads were completely flooded and eight people tragically died. A minibus carrying University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) medical students back from their practical classes was caught on the flooded N2 highway. The Daily Vox spoke with Stacey Petzer and Stephanie Naidoo about what transpired as they escaped from the flooded vehicle. Stephanie Nicole Naidoo, 22, Durban, occupational therapy student It was an ordinary prac day, a Tuesday,…

How FC Barcelona could end up in Stoke on a cold rainy night

Spain is in the grips of a crisis at the moment. This week the Catalan region – located in the north-western corner of the country – voted by an overwhelming majority to secede from Spain. This was in spite of a brutal police crackdown on the vote, which had been declared unlawful by the government in Madrid. Despite opposition from the national government, it appears Catalonia will forge ahead with a unilateral secession. The secession movement is inspired in great part by Spain’s painful history. The country fought a…