John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "South Africa"

What to Expect from the African Union Summit

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
The opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Negeri). The opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Negeri).

This is a guest post by Jason Warner. He is a PhD candidate in African Studies at Harvard University, serving as a U.S. Government Boren National Security Fellow in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Late January in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia brings waves of impenetrable traffic, pan-African flags adorning the central Bole Road, and scarcely a vacant room in the city’s infamously hotel-filled landscape. The cause: the semi-annual African Union (AU) Heads of State Summit, which this year began on Friday, January 23. As the AU’s most important annual meeting kicks into high gear this week, here are some of the more pressing questions that observers and participants will have on their minds. Read more »

1,155 Rhinos Poached in South Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A White Rhino and her calf walk in the dusk light in Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa's North West Province, April 19, 2012. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) A White Rhino and her calf walk in the dusk light in Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa's North West Province, April 19, 2012. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

Home to the world’s largest rhino population, South Africa saw 1,155 rhinos illegally killed in 2014. That is a 15 percent increase on 2013’s 1004 poached rhinos. More than 4.6 percent of an approximate total of 25,000 rhinos in Africa were killed this past year in South Africa alone. Read more »

Nelson Mandela and the Land Question in South Africa

by John Campbell
Community members visit a memorial on the anniversary of the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela at the site of his arrest in Howick, 5 December, 2014. South Africa marked the first anniversary of former President Nelson Mandela's death on Friday with tributes to his struggle against white-minority rule and sober reflections on the country's failure to capitalise on the freedom he fought for. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) Community members visit a memorial on the anniversary of the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela at the site of his arrest in Howick, 5 December, 2014. South Africa marked the first anniversary of former President Nelson Mandela's death on Friday with tributes to his struggle against white-minority rule and sober reflections on the country's failure to capitalise on the freedom he fought for. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

A year after the death of Nelson Mandela, his reputation for reconciliation is undiminished. However, a more rounded evaluation of his career is emerging, one that takes into account the difficult choices that he had to make. I was part of that process in an article I wrote for Foreign Policy and my Council on Foreign Relations Expert Brief. Bernadette Atuahene, the author of the compelling We Want What’s Ours: Learning from South Africa’s Land Restitution Program, in a thoughtful Los Angeles Times Op-ed looks specifically at Mandela’s compromises over the land question at the time of South Africa’s transition to “non-racial” democracy. She concludes that Mandela left a legacy of both reconciliation and inequality. Read more »

Restrained South African Reaction to the Murder of Pierre Korkie

by John Campbell
A police trooper gestures as suspected al-Qaeda militants arrive in an armoured vehicle at the state security court in Sanaa, December 2, 2014. (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters) A police trooper gestures as suspected al-Qaeda militants arrive in an armoured vehicle at the state security court in Sanaa, December 2, 2014. (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters)

Pierre Korkie was a South African teacher working in Yemen, where his wife, Yolande, did hospital relief work. They were kidnapped by al-Qaeda operatives in May 2013. Yolande Korkie was released without ransom payment in January 2014. Pierre Korkie, however, was held for a $3 million ransom. On December 5, he was murdered by his kidnappers during the course of the failed U.S. effort to free American journalist Luke Somers, who was also killed. Read more »

South Africa’s Rugby to be Transformed?

by John Campbell
South Africa's Patrick Lambie (C) keeps the ball during their rugby union international test match against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, November 8, 2014. (Cathal McNaughton/Courtesy Reuters) South Africa's Patrick Lambie (C) keeps the ball during their rugby union international test match against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, November 8, 2014. (Cathal McNaughton/Courtesy Reuters)

Across the racial rainbow, South Africans love sports. They excel in individual sports, such as golf, but also team sports. Since the end of apartheid, the Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby team, has twice won the Rugby World Cup (it is tied with New Zealand and Australia for the most titles). South African rugby is among the best in the world. South Africa’s football (soccer) team has won the African Cup of nations, and South Africa has hosted the FIFA World Cup. Bafana Bafana, the national team is usually regarded as one of the best in Africa. Read more »

Ebola Threatens ‘Africa Rising’ and Strains Relations Across the Continent: A Look at the Southern Africa Example

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A boy stands near posters displaying a government message against Ebola at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (2Tango/Courtesy Reuters) A boy stands near posters displaying a government message against Ebola at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. (2Tango/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Brooks Marmon, Accountability Architect at the Accountability Lab.  Brooks was previously based in the Lab’s Liberia office and recently completely an extended assignment in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Read more »

Black and White Income Inequality in South Africa and the United States

by John Campbell
A fruit vendor waits for customers at an informal settlement in Thokoza, south of Johannesburg, July 18, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) A fruit vendor waits for customers at an informal settlement in Thokoza, south of Johannesburg, July 18, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

South Africa is notorious for having gross income inequality. Its GINI coefficient–a standard for measuring income inequality–is one of the highest in the world. The World Bank computed it at 63.1 in 2009, with zero being absolute equality and one hundred absolute inequality. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the GINI coefficient for the United States in 2012 was 47.7. When analyzing these two GINI coefficients, there is a danger of comparing apples with oranges. The GINI coefficients here cited were developed by two different institutions, no doubt with different methodologies. What GINI coefficients actually show is also a matter of debate. Still, they indicate income inequality was greater in South Africa than in the U.S. in recent years. Read more »

Huge Diamond Mined in South Africa

by John Campbell
A visitor holds a 17 carat diamond at a Petra Diamonds mine in Cullinan, outside Pretoria, January 22, 2009. London-listed Petra Diamonds said it expected a difficult operating environment going into 2009 and that it saw conditions improving by the end of 2010.  (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) A visitor holds a 17 carat diamond at a Petra Diamonds mine in Cullinan, outside Pretoria, January 22, 2009. London-listed Petra Diamonds said it expected a difficult operating environment going into 2009 and that it saw conditions improving by the end of 2010. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

Diamonds are associated with glamour and South Africa. The Cullinan Mine, east of Pretoria, is famous for diamonds of the huge variety, including the ‘Cullinan Diamond,’ at 3,106 carets, the largest gem quality diamond ever found. The owner presented it to King Edward VII in 1905, and the Great Star of Africa, which was cut from it, is in the scepter of the royal regalia used at the coronation of British monarchs. Read more »

HIV/AIDS, South Africa, and the United States

by John Campbell
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi after attending a PEPFAR (U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) Transition Signing, at Delft South Clinic in Delft South, a suburb of Cape Town, August 8, 2012. (Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi after attending a PEPFAR (U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) Transition Signing, at Delft South Clinic in Delft South, a suburb of Cape Town, August 8, 2012. (Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Courtesy Reuters)

In the aftermath of the miracle of a democratic transition from apartheid to “non-racial” democracy, South Africa faced a disease nightmare. During the presidencies of Nelson Mandela and his successor, Thabo Mbeki, up to a third of some population groups in South Africa were victims of HIV/AIDS. Deaths soared, and the national life expectancy dropped by a decade. Read more »

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters and the Labor Aristocracy

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Party (EFF) cheer during their party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. (Skyler Reid/Courtesy Reuters) Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Party (EFF) cheer during their party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. (Skyler Reid/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

In his August 5 post on Julius Malema and South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), John Campbell concludes that both may be shoved aside by a responsible, left-wing political party, expected to be created by the Metal Workers Union in time to contest the 2019 national elections. As Campbell mentions, this new party is likely to be well funded with veteran leadership. However, what he views as the Metal Workers Union’s strengths—ample funding and veteran leadership—may be the very characteristics that will make any political party it creates unattractive to those now supporting Malema and the EFF. Read more »