Articles on African politics

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Supporters of the Congress of South African Trade Unions march in the streets of Johannesburg. Economic freedom has eluded the majority of South Africans. Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

South Africa: why economic freedom is proving to be the ANC’s undoing

Economic transformation of unequal societies in a democratising context is difficult. This requires a creative mix of policy options underpinned by a commitment to social justice.
Women wait in line to fill buckets from a communal clean tap in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, South Africa. The country has extremely high levels of inequality. Nic Bothma/Reuters

Why inequality will not be fixed with Pikettian posturing and distorted data

Thomas Piketty's visit reminds us of the need to reconsider South African inequality-fibbery. His inequality critique is vital, but only if it can withstand the neoliberal embrace.
Malawian President Peter Mutharika has promised to fight the corruption that has seen donors withdraw their support for his impoverished nation. Reuters/Eldson Chagara

What drives corruption in Malawi and why it won’t disappear soon

Malawi appears to have learnt nothing from the biggest state corruption scandal that rocked the country two years ago, leading to donors withdrawing their support. The same conditions still remain.
The Global South is engineering new anti-poverty strategies, leaving traditional left analysts in a quandry. Reuters/Nacho Doce

The study of inequality has been mainstreamed – what now for the left?

Could the surge of worker and popular resistance worldwide provide the global trade union movement with an opportunity to take the lead in developing a broad coalition of social forces?
The opening ceremony of an exercise organized by the US military in Ndjamena, Chad earlier this year to take on Boko Haram. Reuters/Emmanuel Braun

How the US is expanding its fight against extremism in Africa

Apart from numerous worldwide threats including from China, Iran, North Korea and Russia, the US is taking more notice of Africa due to the expansion of extremist organisations on the continent.
Post-election violence in Kenya in January 2008. The country was forewarned in its peer review report that trouble was brewing, but took no action. EPA

Why Africa is losing out by letting the peer review process collapse

The African Peer Review Mechanism has made a difference since it was started in 2003. There are multiple examples of reforms that have been introduced as a result. All have gone unnoticed.
The Economic Freedom Fighters’ entry into parliament is the most dramatic example of political realignment in South Africa. Reuters/Skyler Reid

Why South Africa is primed for fundamental political realignment

The Marikana massacre of 2012 triggered strikes across South Africa and political realignment. But could this, and the formation of the United Front to rival the ANC, have long-term significance?
Vendors sell bananas in an open market in a village near Bujumbura. Burundians are being driven deeper into poverty. Reuters/Goran Tomasevic

Beyond political violence in Burundi: an economy in crisis

Whenever the crisis in Burundi is discussed, the economy is often overlooked, even though it is central to understanding the backdrop to the most severe crisis since the end of the civil war.
King Mswati III, centre, with his regiments at Ludzidzini royal palace during the annual Reed Dance in August. Swaziland ranks among the worst in Africa for its level of democracy. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

African democracy update: satisfaction remains elusive for many

Satisfaction with democracy varies widely in Africa. Across 28 countries, only 46% of citizens say they are “very satisfied” or “fairly satisfied” with the way democracy works in their countries.
Demand for housing in South Africa continues to outstrip supply despite the government having made more than three million houses to poor households. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Waiting for the state: politics of public housing in South Africa

The dismally slow provision of housing in South Africa is such that more than 2.2 million households live in 2700 informal settlements. Waiting is the norm and can take years, even decades.
Seabelo Senatla of South Africa scores a try against New Zealand during the gold medal match of the Rugby Sevens at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Reuters/Russell Cheyne

What South Africa will be sacrificing by hosting the Commonwealth Games

By investing in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, South Africa sacrifices investment in pressing societal needs. Instead, the country should be mobilised around the national goal of fixing schooling.
Leaders at the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2013. Malta will host the next one in November 2015. Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Why the Commonwealth endures despite being written off by the left and the right

The Commonwealth is politically fraught, with widely divergent members. But, instead of unravelling as some critics wish, it has instead inspired copycats and appears set to grow and endure.
Black students at University of Stellenbosch protest against the institutions’s language policy they say discriminates against them by favouring Afrikaans. Times Media/Adrian de Kock

Why Biko’s Black Consciousness philosophy resonates with youth today

Black youth are grappling with the question of the meaning of freedom in post-apartheid South Africa. They seek an antidote to their reality wherein blackness continues to be mocked and marginalised.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir signs a peace agreement in the capital Juba, on August 26, 2015. Reuters/Jok Solomun

Why South Sudanese adversaries signed a peace deal that they do not want

The Sudanese government and its armed opposition are both unhappy with the ceasefire they signed. Senior military officers have also publicly voiced their disapproval of the induced deal.

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