A Thousand Words

A Thousand Words

ugandapicturewordsAnyone taking a picture is arrested or shot. Then, Facebook takes down the pictures of the courageous who manage to post the massacre. A Kenyan TV journalist is charged with “abetting terrorism” for taking … TV video.

And most noteworthy of all, the organizer of the massacre, self-imposed Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni poses for a “government picture” in sunny South Africa with its despised leader, Jacob Zuma. You can truly wonder in Trumpian vernacular, “What the f*#! is happening in the world today!”

Read more

Genderright

Genderright

semenyaToday Elle magazine’s South African cover was the controversial, victorious woman athlete Caster Semenya. Semenya trounces all others in track and field and carried home Olympic gold for South Africa this year.

Her critics contend she is either not a woman or too androgynous to be allowed to participate as a woman. She’s undergone intense scientific scrutiny which certainly became personal humiliation. Legitimate concerns about the efficacy of the division between “men” and “women” in sports competition got hopelessly muddled in the process of investigating her gender.

In the end sports authorities accepted she had crossed the finish line first as a woman, but they’ve punted on the issue of whether or not she is a “woman.” Where does this leave us?

Read more

мат

мат

russiainafricaRussia wasted no time using Trump’s election to increase its global power. Yesterday it thrust a masterful spear between Africa and the U.S. by aligning itself with African countries threatening to withdraw from the World Court.

The renegade power’s lightning fast global moves have been reported this morning in Central America, Syria, and of course right here in America, but it is in Africa where Russia may be most successful acting so quickly.

Read more

Triumphant Tutu

Triumphant Tutu

tutuOne of the world’s gentlest, most thoughtful and consequential men is sick and dying but more importantly, suffering. After 85 years he has changed his mind: euthanasia is right.

Desmond Tutu, the revered Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, Nobel Laureate and winner of countless other peace prizes including America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, is above all a deeply religious, non-violent man. His prolonged sickness broke his resolve against euthanasia two years ago when he wrote in an Op-Ed in the Guardian “I have been fortunate to spend my life working for dignity for the living. Now I wish to apply my mind to the issue of dignity for the dying.”

Tutu’s arguments are not religious ones, and that is what has attracted me to his thinking. His arguments are practical, political.

Read more

No Change … Again

No Change … Again

nochangeLook, it’s happening all over the world. I’m going to compare two places I know, South Africa and the U.S.

South African society is just beginning to seriously hurt about a year after a similar sort of political turmoil hit them to our Trump election, the re-election of a clearly incompetent executive that an entrenched political party was then only partially able to control.

Year-long protests nearly shut down the country’s educational system and the economy has started to decline much more seriously than globally or for other African countries. About a year ahead of the U.S. in terms of political change, this could foreshadow the U.S.

Read more

Tuesday Follows Monday

Tuesday Follows Monday

probabilitiesPredictions matter. Trends across divergent, widely different worlds matter. This isn’t just a cathartic prognostication of a released Cubs’ fan. Tuesday, remarkable changes will afflict the already fatigued and troubled people of the U.S. and South Africa.

Call me superstitious but you’d be wrong. The world is so globally connected, media so lightning fast, that everything effects everything else in similar ways. Tuesday both the U.S. and South Africa may both have new presidents that the majority of their people don’t like and don’t want.

Is this democracy?

Read more

Heed History

Heed History

trumpandzumaThe current president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, has nearly destroyed his country. He rose to power on the negative emotions of a neglected class of people, and he had no idea what to do once there.

Jacob Zuma’s rise to power and destruction has many similarities to Donald Trump’s, and above all the lesson to be learned is that he is real, not just a pixel personality that you can switch off.

Read more

Wealth vs Intelligence

Wealth vs Intelligence

getwhatupayforThe first student killed in South Africa’s year-long protests occurred yesterday near Pretoria when a driver ran his car into a line of protestors.

Street violence is not new in post-apartheid South Africa. Police have shot protestors (in mining strikes, for example), but this is a first for student demonstrations and the first time that citizen-against-citizen violence has reached this level.

Things are escalating; they’re getting serious. The Rand is falling, tourism is starting to balk and everyday life is changing. The time has come to tell South Africa, “You better get your act together.” And the time has come that the rest of us recognize a very important lesson before what is happening in the streets of South Africa spreads worldwide.

Read more

#Everything Must Fall

#Everything Must Fall

thisiseducationSouth Africa’s respected university system is in chaos. Most universities are closed because of violent protests.

The two most prestigious, the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) manage to occasionally open but violent protests disrupt most classes.

While the ostensible issue is the cost of tuition and fees, I think there’s something much deeper, reflecting a very troubled South Africa.

Read more

Economy Stupid

Economy Stupid

economy-stupidUnending protests continue in Ethiopia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and though unique issues power each country’s turmoil, the fundamental driver is economic.

South Africa and Ethiopia are both experiencing healthy growth despite the protests, while Zimbabwe is tanking. Excluding Zim’s recent plunge, all three countries were performing very much like the U.S. over the last 4-5 years: modest but steady growth and improved employment. So what’s going on?

Let’s examine their individual situations, first.

Read more

The World Watched

The World Watched

US-VOTE-DEBATEUnbelievable coverage of the debate in the African media, and I’m struck by how often reference was made to both candidates’ “reluctant” pledge to support the outcome. In Africa respect for the outcome of a democratic election is never taken for granted.

Many Africans understand for perhaps the first time in modern history, Americans are wondering the same.

Across Africa there’s fear not of Trump but rather of the millions of Americans who support him.

Read more

Snake Oil or Nukes?

Snake Oil or Nukes?

pastorbannedAmerica has never lacked of snake oil salesmen, but following South Africa’s banning of Steven Anderson it’s clear that we better start realizing they might be something dangerously more than just conmen.

The Tempe, Arizona, Baptist minister decided if Barack Obama won’t cleanse South Africa of “sodomites .. drinking booze .. and terrorizing God’s people,” he will. Well, guess what: South Africans are doing what we and our ratings-greedy journalists and weak-kneaded politicians won’t: Stopping American extremism.

Read more

The Meaning of Motherhood

The Meaning of Motherhood

celeste-nurseThe daughter wants nothing to do with her mother. That statement has special meaning today in South Africa where 20-year old Zephany Nurse’s presumed mother began a 10-year jail sentence for having snatched Zephany from the hospital when she was 3 days old.

The now legal name given to Zephany by the convicted woman is not known and Zephany’s privacy is protected under South African law. Nevertheless, she said through her laywer, “Don’t you think for once that [her real mother] is my mother. Whether it is true or not is not for you to toy with… think what I am going through, and my father and mother.”

Read more