- Mandy de Waal
It was a horrifying start to 2013. Two deaths, less than two months apart, which drew attention for very different reasons. The first, a young woman raped and murdered in an attack of such brutality that even violence-saturated South Africa could not turn its eyes away. The second, a young woman who dated a global sports icon, felled by four bullets shot by the hero himself. As this long, tumultuous year finally draws to a close, we pay tribute to Anene, Reeva and their countless fallen sisters: lest we forget. By REBECCA DAVIS.
“What would have happened had Madiba died in prison?” Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu asked at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Indeed, what would have happened? Would South Africa have been the country it is now? Was the path to democracy inevitable, even if Mandela had not walked free from prison, led the process of peaceful transition and become president in 1994? In truth, South Africa’s destiny is so entwined with that of its founding father that it is almost impossible to imagine how history would have unfolded without him. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
By far the most interesting part of the trajectory of the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is his inexorable transition in the minds of many whites from the demonic figure of a feared terrorist to the sainted figure of a beloved icon, though one might, post-demise, call him rather a sacred spirit – because we don’t want to let him truly die and prefer him maintained in a metaphorical limbo between life and death. Referring to film, philosophy, linguistics, modern art and, not least, religion, I construct a forensic meditation on this profound transfiguration.
The sign language fiasco at Tuesday's memorial for Nelson Mandela is a scar on a country that should be focusing on Madiba's legacy and thinking about the state of the nation. Instead, GREG NICOLSON finds himself at a press briefing where no one wants to accept responsibility for the mess, embarrassed that the government isn't even embarrassed.
At the end of a week turned grey with grief, South Africa held by-elections in six wards. All of the wards were in the municipality of Tlokwe, a municipality whose council has been dysfunctional for months and bitterly divided between the ANC and a DA-led coalition of opposition parties. The council has been equally balanced between the two factions and Wednesday’s by-elections were a long-awaited deciding vote. The ANC ended up sweeping the elections and retaining all six seats. How much has changed between September, when these by-elections were meant to take place, and this December we’re in now? By PAUL BERKOWITZ
On 5 December 2013, Afrikaans business rights watchdog organisation, AfriSake, initiated court proceedings to prevent a contract between the City of Tshwane (Pretoria) and private service provider PEU Capital Partners (Pty) Ltd (PEU) from proceeding. The contract, with service fees to PEU estimated to be in excess of R27 billion over the contract period, was established in May 2013, when the City of Tshwane approved a 10-year arrangement to outsource its entire electricity metering and revenue collection activity to a private company, PEU. By CHRIS YELLAND.
This article is written from the perspective of an 18-year-old who just matriculated from The Cape Academy for Mathematics, Science and Technology in Cape Town, South Africa. Raised by his grandparents in the Mitchell’s Plain township in the Cape Flats area of Cape Town, Mikhail Hendricks explains the role that constitutional literacy has played thus far in his life. He tells his personal story of Constitutional discovery and explains why he supports The Know Your Constitution Campaign. He is young, optimistic for the future and most importantly, proudly South African.
If there is anything the outpouring of grief over the death of Nelson Mandela has shown, it is that the world desperately needs a hero. Pope Francis did not set out to be one. He just wanted to be the guy who did things differently. In nine short months, Pope Francis has overhauled the austere image of the Catholic Church, located it in contemporary world affairs and tackled controversies that have bogged down the church and tattered its image. He has been declared Time’s Person of the Year and Forbes ranks him as the fourth most powerful person in the world. His impact on the world, and certainly on the 1.2 billion Catholics, has been immense. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Thousands of South Africans travelled from as far afield as Limpopo to pay their respects to former president Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Standing for hours in queues that moved at snail’s pace, beneath a hot sun, South Africans from all walks of life and various political affiliations stressed the need for unity in South Africa. By KHADIJA PATEL.
The memorial for Nelson Mandela at Midrand's Calvary Methodist Church started like most others. Dark clouds descended and the rain fell. Anti-Apartheid activist and former Commission on Gender Equality chair Joyce Piliso-Seroke gave a warm anecdote of her time with Madiba. Former President Thabo Mbeki, however, changed the script. It's time to question the country's leadership, he said. No prizes for guessing who he is talking about. By GREG NICOLSON.
With Johannesburg’s official memorial for Mandela at FNB Stadium marred by issues ranging from a dodgy sign language interpreter to a feeling of general soullessness, it was hard not to feel despondent. But Cape Town’s memorial event, held at the Green Point stadium on Wednesday night, gave the great leader the send-off he deserved. For anyone lucky enough to be there, the sight of a multi-racial, multi-class crowd singing and dancing in a moment of unified catharsis will have moved them in innumerable ways. It was Madiba Magic given flesh and form once again, and it deserves to give us back the pride and hope that we need now, more than ever. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Till the end of time, history will have it recorded that on the day leaders from across the globe joined South Africa to commemorate the life of Nelson Mandela, the heavens wept and president of the country was humiliated by his people. There is no way to undo that script. The ANC and the state are now in overdrive, trying to “contextualise” and explain why President Jacob Zuma was repeatedly booed during the memorial service. The international media narrative is now shifting to what is wrong with South Africa that its people would be angry enough to shame their president in front of the world, and whether Mandela’s legacy is being undone by his successor. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The International Conference on Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infections (ICASA), which kicked off in Cape Town on Monday, is one of many important events which will not receive the media attention it would have warranted at any other time due to the mourning for Nelson Mandela. Mandela himself had a mixed record on HIV: initially failing to meaningfully address the growing problem during his presidency, and then becoming increasingly concerned about the inaction of his successor Thabo Mbeki on the matter. During the last years of his life Mandela devoted much time to speaking out for the rights of people living with HIV and Aids. He would undoubtedly be distressed to hear that the government’s ARV programme appears to be in some trouble. By REBECCA DAVIS.
It was a day set aside to remember former president Nelson Mandela, to pay tribute to a life well lived, to hail a man embraced across the political divides of South Africa, and indeed beyond. The day, however, may be remembered for different reasons, most notably the public booing of President Jacob Zuma. By KHADIJA PATEL.
If there was one thing that could not have been predicted before Nelson Mandela Memorial Service, it was the booing of President Jacob Zuma. It was, like the rain, unscheduled, and, for some unwelcome. There will be debates around whether it was right, and proper, to boo during a funeral. One thing cannot be taken away though: the people who are frustrated and angry at Zuma at FNB stadium today are not your natural DA voters. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
If only Parliament could be more like it was on Monday, every week: alive with members of the public thronging the walkways and queueing to take their place in the public gallery. They were there to place roses before to a flame of remembrance; to write messages on a commemorative wall; but most of all, to hear politicians from across the spectrum pay tribute to a man who changed South African politics forever. By REBECCA DAVIS.
When Mandela was captured in 1962 the police did not know that he had been overseas for military training and that he was Commander in Chief of the recently formed Umkhonto we Sizwe, Spear of the nation, (MK). It was only later, when Rivonia was raided that they came across documents that pointed to Mandela’s wider role. When Mandela appeared in court in 1962, he was defiant. As he entered he wore the attire of the abaThembu, thus asserting that he was not only a lawyer, an African, a believer in a South Africa that belonged to all who live in it, but also a Thembu. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.
"I was not born with a hunger to be free,” Nelson Mandela writes in his autobiography. He immediately explains, “I was born free - free in every way that I could know. Free to run in the fields near my mother’s hut, free to swim in the clear stream that ran through my village, free to roast mealies under the stars and ride the broad backs of slow-moving bulls. As long as I obeyed my father and abided by the customs of my tribe, I was not troubled by the laws of man or God.” By RAYMOND SUTTNER.