Citizen.Speak.Amplify

UCT Vice Chancellor: #FeesMustFall Not To Blame For Prof Mayosi’s Death

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, the vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town (UCT) on Tuesday clarified her position on the death of the health dean and cardiology researcher Professor Bongani Mayosi, releasing a statement in which she says that she does not blame the Fees Must Fall Movement, but encouraged the institution to reflect on his tragic passing. UPDATE: A spokesperson for the University of Cape Town said: “ takes student mental health concerns very seriously and as such frequently promotes and communicates…

How To Feel When A Coloniser State Wins The World Cup

“Why are you supporting France in the FIFA World Cup? Because of Kylian Mbappé? But France committed/commits atrocities in Africa!” If you exist in the sort of left-socialist continuum of online, you will have come across some variation of this statement after France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Sunday. It is impermissible to feel any sort of positivity towards France because of its history, it is said. But consider the smile on Yeo Pogba’s face as she held the Jules Rimet trophy aloft. Consider what it means for the Pogba…

Eat The Rich: The CEO SleepOut Is Capitalism’s Absurdity Laid Bare

The CEO SleepOut is a perfect advertisement for late capitalism in all its crass glory: having bled the sun, the moon, and the earth dry for resources, having sat atop a global pyramid of upward wealth extraction, the One Percent now deigns to offer the crumbs of that exploitation back to the poor. But even that supposed act of charity is laced with narcissism and a desire for possession: until it was taken down, there was a real offer for a rich person to spend the night in Nelson Mandela’s cell on Robben Island for…

2018 FIFA World Cup: For Africa, There Were Positive Lessons To Take

In the end, it was the bloody yellow cards that did in the Lions of Teranga. For the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup, the tie-breaker for knockout round qualifying came down to the disciplinary records of two otherwise evenly-matched sides: Senegal’s one yellow card against Poland, one against Colombia and three against Japan meant that it was Japan that qualified second out of Group H. Four Japanese yellow cards versus the six for Senegal. It was that close. It was a disappointing way to exit the World Cup…

All Hail Aliou Cissé, Africa’s Coach At The World Cup Who Is Forging His Own Way

The youngest coach at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The only black African coaching a team at the World Cup. Probably the coolest presence on the touchline at the tournament. There is nothing not to love about Aliou Cissé, the head coach of Senegal. Cissé is a rare presence on the touchlines of the FIFA World Cup, because he’s young and he’s black. It’s true. He is the only black African coaching a side at the World Cup – and at 42, he’s the youngest too. On Tuesday, Cissé was a calming presence on the touchlines as Senegal (The…

Enjoy The FIFA World Cup, In Spite Of The Politics

Poor Mohamed Salah. In an image tweeted out by the New York Times “chief soccer correspondent” Rory Smith, the Egyptian winger is pictured with his hand tightly in the grip of Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, and all-round very nasty man. Salah does not look like he wants to be in the image – his face his pulled into a barely-disguised ‘WTF’ grimace. This @marcbennetts1 image of Mo Salah with Ramzan Kadyrov is as good an illustration of the World Cup as a political/propaganda tool as you’ll get. Proximity to…

‘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…