August 2009

Visit the archives.

The South African Economy: Polarisation Paralysis and the Struggle for Equity

Picture: Trevor Samson - World Bank Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen - An emerging description of the South African economy is captured in the words "polarisation paralysis." The term has several renderings and different emphasis across academic disciplines, with important nuance and extensions. Another rendering is that it might provide a metaphor for the first 100 days of the Jacob Zuma Presidency, but also sets the challenge for this term of government. Two features prefigure the shadow boxing over economic policy since the start of the Jacob Zuma...

District 9, Ugly Marvel

Picture: www.moviesmedia.ign.com Kim Nicolini - Rumble of revolution. Factory coming back to life. District 9 is not a pretty movie. It doesn’t look pretty. Its message isn’t pretty. It hurts the eyes to watch. In fact, District 9 is an outright ugly movie, but it is an ugly that is perfectly crafted and takes ugly to the heights of a new aesthetic. The screen is full of unflinchingly realistic ugly slums, banal ugly interiors of institutionalized spaces, and ugly people whose entire lives and bodies have been corrupted by the...

Izulu Lami: A Poignant Comment on the Plight of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in South Africa

Picture: Vuleka Productions Colette Francis - Izulu Lami/My Secret Sky, the multi-award winning feature film currently on at cinemas nationwide, is the story of two orphans from rural Kwazulu-Natal who journey to the city and are caught up in the underworld of street children and prostitution. People are saying that this is South Africa’s Slumdog Millionaire, but I don’t think so. Madoda Ncayiyana’s feature film debut is closer in timbre to the work of Guillermo Del Torro, director of Pan’s Labyrinth and other...

Once Upon a Coup: A Tale of Intrigue from the Oil Rich Country of Equatorial Guinea

WIDE ANGLE is a television programme of America's Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) that provides in-depth news coverage of international issues. This week it aired a programme about the foiled coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea, which included the involvement of South African mercenaries.  The clip above, which makes for intriguing viewing on the scramble for oil in Africa, is an excerpt of the programme aired by the public broadcaster. PBS billed the programme as follows: "A...

Doing It for Ourselves

Picture: Trevor Samson - World Bank Glenn Ashton - We South Africans have all grown up in a big brother state. For whites it was a big brother that smothered them in privilege at the expense of everyone else; for blacks it was a more sinister big brother. As different as our segregated societies were, we had much in common. We were all ruled by an apparently omnipotent, fascist, militaristic and bureaucratic state. Blacks had passbooks, whites had books of life. Now we all have identity documents.  We have not really moved away from the...

Why We have to Fight Global Income Inequality

Picture: Igorlazunna Francine Mestrum - Since the international organisations put poverty on the political agenda in the 1990s, little has been heard about inequality. This is quite amazing, since it was the income gap between rich and poor countries that gave rise to the development project after the Second World War. The first UN resolutions on development do not mention poverty, but they do refer to the huge inequalities between developed and under-developed countries. With the new poverty agenda of the World Bank and the human...