John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "ANC"

Two African Obituaries: Dikko and Gordimer

by John Campbell
Novelist Nadine Gordimer was among about 300 white liberals who visited
Alexandra, the black township near Johannesburg on May 18, 1986 to lay
wreaths at the grave of victims of political unrest. (Reuters photographer/Courtesy Reuters) Novelist Nadine Gordimer was among about 300 white liberals who visited Alexandra, the black township near Johannesburg on May 18, 1986 to lay wreaths at the grave of victims of political unrest. (Reuters photographer/Courtesy Reuters)

On July 14, the New York Times carried the obituary of Umaru Dikko, a former Nigerian minister accused of corruption who was once the subject of a kidnap attempt. On July 15, it carried an obituary of Nadine Gordimer, the South African author who became a major anti-apartheid icon. Read more »

South Africa’s Mamphela Ramphele Leaves Politics

by John Campbell
Anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele launches her new political party "Agang" to challenge South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Pretoria, June 22, 2013. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) Anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele launches her new political party "Agang" to challenge South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Pretoria, June 22, 2013. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

Mamphela Ramphele, the founder of the political party AgangSA (Agang is the northern Sotho word for ‘build’) in 2013, announced on July 8 that she is leaving politics. Read more »

Eyewitness to Democracy: South Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Winnie Madikizela Mandela casts her ballot in Johannesburg's Soweto township, May 7, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) Winnie Madikizela Mandela casts her ballot in Johannesburg's Soweto township, May 7, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Le Chen, Janice Dean, Jesper Frant, and Rachana Kumar. They are Master of Public Administration students at Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs. They are working with Ambassador John Campbell on a graduate practicum project, which was made possible by faculty adviser Professor Anne Nelson. A version of this post appeared on the World Policy Blog. Read more »

South Africa’s May 7 Elections and What I Will Be Watching

by John Campbell
Youth worker Nathaniel Groep, nineteen, stands in front of flats outside his home in Mannenberg, a gang-ravaged township, in Cape Town. Nathaniel said, "Every vote counts, particularly for young people. For our generation there are new possibilities and maybe we can build a brighter future. The issues I would like to see addressed are gangsterism, peer pressure and the lack of work opportunities." April 18, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) Youth worker Nathaniel Groep, nineteen, stands in front of flats outside his home in Mannenberg, a gang-ravaged township, in Cape Town. Nathaniel said, "Every vote counts, particularly for young people. For our generation there are new possibilities and maybe we can build a brighter future. The issues I would like to see addressed are gangsterism, peer pressure and the lack of work opportunities." April 18, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

There seems to be a good deal of genuinely democratic ferment in South Africa, and the post-apartheid political mold may be breaking apart. South Africa’s new political directions may be clearer by the next election cycle, that of 2019. Nevertheless, in this cycle, with election day on May 7, voting trends may indicate the direction that politics will be moving over the next five years. Read more »

South Africa’s May National Elections a Watershed? Not Yet

by John Campbell
Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party cheer at the launch of the EFF's election manifesto in Tembisa township, east of Johannesburg, February 22, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party cheer at the launch of the EFF's election manifesto in Tembisa township, east of Johannesburg, February 22, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) is in decline, but it will most likely win the upcoming elections on May 7. Many voters are angry over its corruption, symbolized by public money spent on President Jacob Zuma’s private, African-styled Versailles named Nkandla, and last year’s unresolved police brutality, labor disputes, and other issues at the Marikana platinum mine. Read more »

Tracking South Africa’s Democracy in Real Time

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A search of FACTIVA’s database revealed preliminary evidence that reporting on service delivery protests has been increasing since the early 2000s, with a sharp downturn in 2013. However, this data is limited by internal factors such as FACTIVA’s addition of new sources and external factors like the media’s use of the term “service delivery protest.”
Source: FACTIVA A search of FACTIVA’s database revealed preliminary evidence that reporting on service delivery protests has been increasing since the early 2000s, with a sharp downturn in 2013. However, this data is limited by internal factors such as FACTIVA’s addition of new sources and external factors like the media’s use of the term “service delivery protest.” Source: FACTIVA

This is a guest post by Le Chen, Janice Dean, Jesper Frant, and Rachana Kumar. They are Master of Public Administration students at Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs. They are working with Ambassador John Campbell on a graduate practicum project, which was made possible by faculty adviser Professor Anne Nelson. A longer version of this post appeared on the World Policy Blog. Read more »

South African President Jacob Zuma’s “Let Them Eat Cake” Moment?

by John Campbell
A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

There is an apocryphal story that in France, King Louis XVI’s queen Marie Antoinette was once told, “Madame, the people have no bread.” To which she replied, “then let them eat cake.” The reality behind the story was of a self-centered court widely perceived as isolated from the French people. The French Revolution followed shortly after. Read more »

South Africa: Progress in HIV/AIDS

by John Campbell
A member of Grandmothers Against Aids and Poverty (GAPA) takes part in an exercise class in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township, February 23, 2010. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters) A member of Grandmothers Against Aids and Poverty (GAPA) takes part in an exercise class in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township, February 23, 2010. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters)

South Africa has been ground zero in the HIV/AIDS tragedy. In 2011, about 5.6 million people were HIV positive, about 12 percent of South Africa’s population. According to the Economist, the HIV/AID disease burden was born disproportionately by blacks, 13 percent of whom were HIV positive. For Coloureds it was 3 percent; for whites, 1 percent. South African women also carry a disproportionate burden; they account for more than half of all new cases of infection. Read more »

South Africa’s Upcoming Elections

by John Campbell
ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma puts on his reading glasses during the opening of a leadership conference in Polokwane, December 16,2007. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma puts on his reading glasses during the opening of a leadership conference in Polokwane, December 16,2007. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

Election day will be May 7, South Africa’s first after the death of Nelson Mandela. Conventional wisdom is that they will be the most competitive elections in the country’s post-apartheid history.

Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) at present holds about two thirds (66 percent) of the seats in parliament and controls most of the provincial governments. Historically, most of South Africa’s blacks citizens, constituting about 80 percent of the population, have supported it. But, recurrent scandals, poor service deliveries in the townships, and issues with the leadership of president and party leader Jacob Zuma are eroding its once overwhelming support. Most commentators think that the ANC will loose seats in these elections. Read more »

Nelson Mandela: A Communist?

by John Campbell
People wait in a bus line to pay their respects to former South African president Nelson Mandela in Pretoria, December 13, 2013. (Kevin Coombs/Courtesy Reuters) People wait in a bus line to pay their respects to former South African president Nelson Mandela in Pretoria, December 13, 2013. (Kevin Coombs/Courtesy Reuters)

Bill Keller’s recent New York Times article entitled “Nelson Mandela, Communist” appeared on December 8. Based on research undertaken by the British historian Stephen Ellis in 2011, Keller accepts Ellis’ conclusions that Mandela was a member of the South African Communist Party and a member of its Central Committee, despite repeated denials by Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC). Read more »