Tag Archives | African National Congress

Reliving The South African Struggle In London

London School of Economics Coat of ArmsLondon: Thomas Wolfe wrote “You Can’t Go Home Again” years ago, and its core truth keeps popping up in my life even as I tend to retrace some of my life journeys, in an endless walk down memory lane.

I am back in London, cold and wet as I remember it, to attend an event honoring those of us who went to South Africa on underground missions at my mid 1960’s alma mater, The London School of Economics and Political Science. I was on political side of he College’s split personality back in 1966-68.

This event marked my real “major” in what the Rolling Stones called “street fighting years:“ imagining world revolution.

Our group of solidarity stalwarts is now called “The London Recruits.” There is now a book out from Merlin Press telling our story in the words of many participants, including myself.

Yes, I was an activist in those pre-journalism years, blamed by some in the then Fleet Street press for sparking the LSE’s student “troubles” that soon morphed into an occupation and dramatic student protest.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

South Africa’s Political Wars Begin To Resemble Our Own

Cape Town, South Africa: When I came to South Africa, I thought I was escaping the way our news programs are totally dominated by political coverage even though the election is months away and everyone knows none of this polling and hyped-up speculation matters until October.

The fight between the Democrats and Republicans is an obscenely costly affair which none of our political pundits care to investigate in terms of why so much is being invested and what the likely payoffs will be, and to whom.

Business Day, the Wall Street Journal of South Africa, featured an essay recently with a headline that offers insight into the motivation of politicians in both countries: “PUBLIC OFFICE JUST A WAY TO PILLAGE THE STATE.”

In the US, of course, we have two principal parties, almost like two wings on a plane. The Republicans, now the captive of the hard right and the Democrats, firmly ensconced in the center, partial to corporations but with some issues and positions that appeal to liberals and even, parts of the left.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

South Africa’s Cancer Of Corruption

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA: Twenty one years after Nelson Mandela walked free, corruption has become the issue du jour in South Africa.

Even president Jacob Zuma who narrowly slithered out of a corruption trial before his election is blasting corruption in the ranks of the African National Congress which came to power as the morally superior alternative to an apartheid regime that shamelessly used the wealth it controlled to benefit Afrikaners and deprive the black majority of services.

“Let’s make a plan,” were the code words members of the all white National Party used to scheme ways of stealing state resources to benefit themselves, a cozy reality overshadowed by the vicious racial policies that outraged the world.

As the ANC prepared to win power democratically, there was concern among leaders that a deprived black majority might feel it was “their turn” and thus, their right to cash in on their political victory.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

South Africa’s Youth Face A Grim Future

School Children at Imperial Primary School in Eastridge, Mitchell's Plain (Cape Town, South Africa).

School Children at Imperial Primary School in Eastridge, Mitchell's Plain (Cape Town, South Africa).

“Don’t Know Much About History”

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA: I got into South Africa before I got there.

I did so through meeting a young woman whose given name was Pony, in the tradition of South Africans who call their daughters “Beautiful” or “Truth” or some other creative appellation.

She was on her way home to a small country town, after a year spent in Cuba where she was in a course teaching scientific sport. She was one of a number of scholarship students traveling on the plane with me from Madrid. Cuba had adopted the systematic training system, or Sports institutes, used in East Germany and put it to good advantage in its award winning State backed athletic program. Now they are sharing their knowledge with other Third World countries

Pony, in her late teens, was one of a large number of foreign students attracted to the idea, and was selected by the Cuban Embassy in Pretoria for the five year opportunity beginning with a immersive Spanish language course.… Read the rest

Continue Reading