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The latest World Bank report on South Africa is not only remarkable for the collaborative method it employed, but also for some of the conclusions it reached on issues like land redistribution.

The report, which includes contributions from a long list of external consultants including myself, the National Planning Commission and Statistics South Africa, is the platform for further engagement between the World Bank and South Africa.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the World Bank earned a justifiably bad reputation for seeking to impose solutions cooked up in Washington DC. Now, the bank takes great care to work in partnership with the country to figure out solutions to economic challenges.

This approach seeks to identify the underlying systemic constraints and not just the symptoms such as unemployment. The bank set out to get to the root causes of what it calls the twin challenges of poverty and inequality which characterise South Africa as an “incomplete transition”.

Interestingly, the bank – hardly known for being radical – identifies the skewed distribution of land and productive assets as one of the five key constraints. The other four are skills, low competition and economic integration, limited or expensive spatial connectivity, and climate shocks. I spoke to Paul Noumba Um, the World Bank’s country director for South Africa, about the report.

Your views about land are interesting in coming when populist movements in South Africa are calling for radical solutions. What informed your view?

We have made a significant effort to understand South Africa’s history. Our report acknowledges that efforts to overcome the legacy of segregation and apartheid was bound to take a long time, even though much progress has been made.

The economic structure that was engineered during the apartheid era remains largely in place even though political power has been democratised. Land reform is part of addressing this legacy and the government has long stated the goal of redistributing 30% of land to the dispossessed communities.

Admittedly, it has been a relatively slow process but this is not surprising given that it can be legally and administratively challenging process, especially when restituting land to South Africans whose families were dispossessed a very long time ago. We do not think that a lack of funds was a major reason for slow progress.

That’s why we argue for strengthening the administrative capacity for land reform, including restitution, redistribution and tenure reform. Our understanding is that tenure reform in the former homelands is particularly important for reducing poverty. Many poor South Africans live in their former homelands where land is still communal.

There are concerns that the noises around the land issue will undermine property rights and investor confidence. What do you think?

Many countries have successfully implemented land reform, in some cases with support from the World Bank.

Whether land reform deters investment depends on the way it is implemented. In our understanding, the South African land reform process has thus far not deterred investment. But policy uncertainty around expropriation without compensation could change this, as it makes it riskier to invest in land.

Our report also draws attention to the property security of poor South Africans. Many poor South Africans are still trapped in informal settlements and there is a huge backlog in issuing title deeds to households who were denied ownership during the apartheid era. Tenure security in the former homelands needs to be addressed. Addressing these tenure issues will unlock economic value for many households as they can make effective use of their assets, be it land for more productive agriculture or their homes for backyard rentals or starting a small business.

The report brings climate shocks back into the mix. Are you concerned that in all the talk about radical economic transformation and rolling back “State Capture” climate change will be neglected?

Not at all. The emphasis on overcoming the legacy of exclusion and rolling back “State Capture” is important. We think that the South African government is strongly committed to tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions. In fact, the government is a pioneer in the area, of progressing toward introducing a national carbon tax.

Drought in the southern part of the country has also been a stark reminder that South Africa is a highly water insecure country, particularly vulnerable to climate shocks. Strong efforts are underway, in some areas in partnership with the World Bank, to raise water and climate-resilience in South Africa.

Climate change is certainly an area that is not neglected. Recent developments around renewable energy is inspiring. These include the signing of 27 renewable energy independent power producer contracts. And there was the launch of round five of renewable energy independent power producer contracts.

Why is partnership with your host government important to you, and what exactly does that partnership entail?

The World Bank is made up of 189 member states, including South Africa. These member states gave the World Bank Group the mission to eliminate poverty by 2030 and boost shared prosperity. These twin goals cannot be achieved unilaterally. They require a strong partnership between the government, the World Bank and many other stakeholders.

The better we understand the challenges to the twin goals, the more constructive a partner we can be. That’s why we conduct these Systematic Country Diagnostics before preparing any new country strategies.

The five constraints we identified in our diagnostic have come out of broad consultations. What may surprise South Africans is what we consider to be root causes versus symptoms of poverty and inequality in South Africa. This is a discussion we seek with South Africans, but it is not up to us to decide how South Africa decides to accelerate progress on its National Development Plan.

But depending on where our partnership is sought, we stand ready to support South Africa in this progress through a variety of development solutions: evidence based analytical work, convening power around specific themes and financing.

 

Richard Calland, Associate Professor in Public Law, University of Cape Town

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Ultra marathon runner Dean Wight is no stranger to crossing the finish line at the Comrades Marathon, in fact he’s done it 27 times. 
 
But this year was extra special. 
 
Wight was able to raise more than R280 000 for a charitable cause. According to the Comrades Marathon charity leader board, Wight has raised the most money for charity.  
 
"Some people run for personal endeavours… but to also run for a cause or a charity makes it worthwhile," Wight told News24.
 
His love for running started in 1979, as an 11-year-old boy.
 
He was inspired to take up running after finding out that his grandfather also enjoyed the sport and signed up for his first Comrades in 1988 when he was only 19.
 
The rest is history. 
 
Wight partnered with the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust (HACT) as one of their ambassadors. HACT is one of six official Comrades Marathon charities. 
 
"[I chose HACT] because they are the only local charity. And I would never be able to give back to a charity that isn't local, because I need to be here to meet with the people and understand who I am raising money for."
 
HACT was started in 1990 in response to the emerging HIV/Aids pandemic.
 
The organisation offers prevention and treatment programmes, as well as a 24-bed respite unit. HACT's geographical focus is the Valley of a Thousand Hills in KwaZulu-Natal and surrounding areas.
 
"Hillcrest Aids Centre is a registered NPO. While we do what we can to maintain some form of economic sustainability, we rely very heavily on donations and grants from those who support us," CEO Candace Davidson told News24.
 
Davidson said Wight was "phenomenal" and that his contributions would go a long way. Wight initially committed to raising R100 000, but he quickly surpassed his target and upped the ante to R200 000.
 
Wight is part of a group of 73 runners who ran the race on behalf of HACT. Collectively they have raised close to R600 000 for the organisation.
 
Source: News24
Sipho Pityana, businessman, Save SA convenor, and outspoken critic of former president Jacob Zuma, is set to take over as president of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) later in June.
 
Pityana, the founder and chairman of black economic empowerment group Izingwe Capital, was unanimously nominated for election as president. He will take on his new role with effect from June 26, when the next AGM takes place, BUSA said in a statement on Tuesday. 
 
He will take over the reins from Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza, who served for two terms. Martin Kingston has been nominated to serve a second term as vice president. 
 
The new BUSA board and elected members will be ratified at the AGM.
 
"It’s an honour to be asked to serve the unified voice of business at such a critical time in our struggle for transformative inclusive economic growth, as we position our country to be a successful participant in the Fourth Industrial Revolution," Pityana said in a statement.
 
Pityana currently holds positions on various boards, including AngloGold Ashanti. He has held board positions at companies listed on the New York, London and Johannesburg stock exchanges, as well as unlisted companies.
 
He was the former chairperson of the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme, or NFSAS, and is currently chairperson of Council of the University of Cape Town. He was also previously the chair of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution.
 
Pityana also has experience in government, having served as director-general of the Department of Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2002. He was also director-general of the department of labour from 1995 to 1999.
 
He was one of the founders of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) and the Council for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
 
Pityana has served in a number of other business groupings. 
 
BUSA, in a statement, recognised Pityana's "strong sense of civic duty" which led him to form advocacy group Save SA, after revelations of state capture emerged. 
 
Other elected BUSA board members include Absa CEO Maria Ramos, Managing Director of the Banking Association of South Africa Cas Coovadia, and CEO of the Minerals Council of SA - previously known as the Chamber of Mines - Roger Baxter.
 
Speaking on his term of office, Mabuza said he was confident that he was leaving the organisation in a "stronger state", with business having a credible voice anchored by "constructive engagement" with social partners.
 
"It is critical for business to adopt a proactive and unified stance as it seeks to unlock value in the economy and address poverty, inequality and unemployment. I congratulate the incoming board under the leadership of Sipho," said Mabuza.  
 
 
Source: Fin24
Eskom’s ability to keep the lights on could be compromised with intimidation and road blockages "rife" at most of Eskom's power stations and regional offices on Thursday morning, according to a tweet by the power utility's spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe.
 
Phasiwe also tweeted that the power supply to Eskom's head office in Suninghill had "mysteriously" been cut off. Six power stations rely on local coal supply, and these will be the most affected by the delivery stoppages.
 
Disgruntled workers belonging to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) are expected to hand over a memorandum to the parastatal’s management at the Sunninghill head office at lunchtime on Thursday, demanding 15% wage increases. The cash-strapped power utility has offered 0% wage hikes for the financial year. The parastatal's management team is holding an emergency meeting on Thursday morning to address the possibility of load shedding.
 
Phasiwe promised to provide regular updates on various media platforms. A placard circulating on social media warned workers against reporting for duty at Eskom during the one-day strike saying that people would be "subjecting" themselves to risk. However, Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi distanced the labour organisation from the threatening poster.
 
NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu, meanwhile, said police on Wednesday nighht fired rubber bullets to disperse workers who were gathered outside the power stations in Kendal, Thuthuka, Hendrina and Arnot.
 
"The police are intimidating the workers, in what is an attempt to prevent the picket, one employee was shot in the eye by a rubber bullet outside Arnot power station." 
 
"The workers will be joining the picket despite the threats, they are determined to make our voices heard"  he said.
 
At a press briefing on Wednesday, Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe said that contingency plans were in place to keep the lights on during the one-day strike but cautioned there were no guarantees the power utility would be able to do this.
 
Labour federation the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) leaders met Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday afternoon, and they said he promised to call Eskom’s negotiators back to the table and up their offer, in order to avert a full-blown strike.
 
 
Source: Fin24

South Africa’s Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has published a new tobacco control bill which, if passed into law, will tighten the grip on how cigarettes and other tobacco products are sold, marketed and regulated in the country. Health and Medicine Editor Candice Bailey asked Catherine Egbe about what it means for tobacco control.

What’s significant about South Africa’s pending tobacco control legislation?

There are five key areas of tobacco control that the new bill seeks to address:

  • a smoke-free policy,

  • plain or standardised cigarette packaging,

  • regulating e-cigarettes,

  • points of sale marketing, and

  • removing cigarette vending machines.

Some are addressed in South Africa’s current tobacco control law. But the country still doesn’t fully comply with the standards set by the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. South Africa signed the convention in 2005.

Smoke-free public places is one example. The current law bans smoking in public places but allows for designated smoking areas in places like bars, taverns and restaurants provided that they do not take up more than 25% of the venue.

The WHO’s convention calls for 100% smoke-free public places to protect non-smokers fully.

In line with this, the new bill calls for a 100% ban on smoking in public places. It will also ban the advertising of cigarettes and other products at tills or selling them in vending machines.

The health warnings on cigarette boxes and other tobacco product packages is another example. The current law allows for text health warning on 20% of the package. But the convention calls for a minimum of 30% and encourages countries to have the more effective plain or standardised packaging with graphic and textual warnings in place.

So the new law mandates standardised packaging with graphic health warnings to make tobacco packages less attractive to new smokers and to discourage old smokers from continuing to smoke.

The bill is also significant because it attempts to regulate e-cigarettes for the first time in South Africa. To date e-cigarettes have been freely marketed and sold anywhere to anyone, including children.

Is there evidence that the planned interventions will work?

There’s a great deal of evidence from the rest of the world.

Let’s start with smoke-free policies. In countries like South Korea and the US where they are in place, research shows that they led to an overall improvement in health, particularly children’s health.

Incidents of smoking-related cancers went down and there was a reduction in childhood smoking. There was also an increase in the number of smokers saying they want to quit.

When it comes to packaging, studies show that it encourages smokers to quit and discourages young people from wanting to start smoking. Plain packaging was first introduced in Australia in 2012.

E-cigarettes are still a relatively new factor. But research is already casting doubts on various claims made about them. First introduced in China in 2004 they were initially mooted as an aid to quit smoking. But research shows that they in fact encourage young people to start smoking cigarettes. And 18 studies have shown that e-cigarettes do not reduce quit rates. Instead, the latest research shows that they do the reverse – they reduce the quit rates of smokers intending to quit by about 66%.

There are 83 countries that regulate e-cigarettes and about 27 that have completely banned their sale. These include Brazil, Singapore, Uruguay, Seychelles and Uganda.

The advertising, promotion and sponsorship of e-cigarettes are regulated or prohibited in 62 countries.

Why is it important to have a legislation like this?

Tobacco smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the world. Smoking also worsens TB and HIV treatment outcomes. Yet 37% of South African men and 6.8% of South African women aged 15 years and older use tobacco .

Before the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, South Africa was a leader in tobacco control in Africa and across the world because of strong tobacco control legislation it had put in place. But the laws weren’t updated according to current WHO’s standards and the country now lags behind some other African countries.

The new legislation will place South Africa on the right path. Apart from saving millions of lives, it will ensure that South Africa fulfils its obligation as a party to the WHO convention.

There are several benefits to having strong legislation.

Firstly, it will protect millions of South Africans who don’t smoke but take in secondhand smoke from those who do. They face the same health risks as active smokers.

Secondly, it will also help encourage people to quit and live healthier lives and discourage young people from starting.

And thirdly, the tobacco industry views young people as replacement smokers. Strong legislation will prevent young people from being manipulated by the tobacco industry.

What are the next steps?

Once the bill becomes law, the health minister will have to draw up several regulations to guide its implementation. These will ensure that the law is interpreted correctly and not manipulated by the tobacco industry and that the potential gains of the legislation are not watered down.

 

Catherine O. Egbe, PhD, Specialist Scientist, Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

It is common when municipal workers go on strike in South Africa to resort to upturning garbage cans and strewing litter around city centres.

Their message is clear: we may be at the bottom of the social heap, and you may think we are human trash, but by God, society needs us, and if you don’t listen to us and give us a living wage, we’ll make you pay for it.

Trashing a city is more than a demand for a better wage. Often, it’s also an expression of rage against employer arrogance or unaccountability, and a demand for basic respect. Such tactics are manifestly expressions of class struggle and class power, workers resorting to their most effective weapon. While they are unlikely, in extremis, to be able to confront the armed might of the state, they may well be able to make city managers and the general population wilt in the face of the stink and mess of uncollected garbage.

Yet such actions are indicative of a discordant society, and a culture of littering can tell us a lot about a society’s ethos.

Littering is an act of individual or group disposal of waste at the public expense in terms, not only of the cost of public collection, but also at worst, of public health, and always in terms of public enjoyment of the environment. It prioritises the private interest over the public, and places the burden of collection or consequences of litter on the collective.

Doubtless too, it is expressive of class, income, status and power. It is no accident that in most – if not all countries – better-off residential areas are likely to be freer of litter than worse off localities. They have more public clout and more private resources.

Littering tells us a great deal about community spirit. It is surely no accident that the Scandinavian countries, which regularly top the World Happiness Index, are relatively litter free. Their governments have long prioritised the collective interest and there is less social inequality than in similarly industrialised nations.

Industrialised countries such as Britain and the US are rich, but they’ve embraced austerity and encouraged rampant consumerism, making them sadly notorious for being far more publicly dirty, as captured by Kenneth Galbraith’s (1958) critique of “Private Affluence and Public Squalor”. South Africa has similarly developed a culture of externalising private costs onto the public, a culture of not caring about the environment which has been emblematic of the country’s mining industry for more than a century.

Public interest

South Africa is a country still deeply divided along lines of race, class, and geography in which there may be a public, but a limited sense of “public interest”. It’s a country where the needs of the better off were historically always prioritised over those of the poor.

For example, the expansion of the road system was accompanied by the massive expansion of white suburbia from the 1960s, where tellingly, pedestrians – many of them black domestic workers going to and from work – were denied pavements and left to walk in the road. Because the white inhabitants of suburbia were ratepayers, and because they employed domestic labour to tend to their verges, they enjoyed a generally litter free environment. The scholarship is not available to tell us about the state of litter and waste in the townships at that time, but we may guess it was distressingly different.

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, second from left, joins the city’s Are Sebetseng (Let’s work) cleaning campaign. Enoch Lehung

Today, the South African environment is pockmarked by the detritus of mass consumption. The culture of takeaway culture is also the culture of throwaway, and if there is no litter bin available, or if it’s full, too bad. It’s just easier to dump. So, what if it adds to the mess? Does anyone really care about the one more bottle or can lying on the ground?

There are worries, as there should be, that the appalling littering along South Africa’s highways and the litter to be found even in many of South Africa’s beauty spots, is a threat to our tourist industry, and that in turn, means fewer jobs (let alone less general enjoyment). Yet the problems resulting from poor disposal of waste run far deeper.

Yes, the fast food industry and the supermarket chains, which have a fetish for unnecessary packaging, have much to answer for. But the externalisation of production costs onto to the public is hard-wired into South African industry.

South Africa is a country whose industrial origins lie in mining, and mining systematically produces massive waste and pollution which often has hugely detrimental effects on the environment and public health. This culture continues today, sadly encouraged by lax governmental environmental supervision and excessive concern for profits, investment and private gain.

“Littering” by individuals is merely the expression of a far wider selfish – and publicly, costly - culture.

Addressing the issue

There are no great mysteries about how to address the issue of litter. What is needed first is the political will. This in turn requires the recognition of the importance of the problem.

There is more at stake than what many people might consider to be merely a middle class distaste for littering and general physical untidiness. Indeed, any presumption that middle class people have a greater dislike of litter than working class people or the poor needs itself to be questioned. After all, poor people bear the brunt of the problem. Where there is litter, there is filth, and where there is filth, there is disease.

Political will must be backed up by public resources, and all the paraphernalia of waste collection – from collection lorries, appropriate waste sites and disposal mechanisms, and litter bins. So much is obvious. Yet what is also required is far greater effort by government and ordinary citizens to curb the waste encouraged by excess packaging.

South Africa’s recycling industries – providers of thousands of jobs in the informal sector – need to be backed up by greater requirements imposed on retailers to provide collection points for plastic, cans, bottles and so on. The lack of effort by municipalities to encourage recycling by requiring householders to sort their waste into categories is scandalous, especially in middle class, high consumption areas where this would be easy to implement.

Legislation to curb use of plastic is spreading around the world, and South Africa should not want to be left behind.

A cleaner environment, cleaner air, cleaner towns and cities, needs to be placed firmly on the public agenda.

 

Roger Southall, Professor of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Jagged cliffs running along stunningly scenic coastlines, cities framed by sky-high mountains, lush indigenous forests, golden sand beaches and prides of lions basking in the afternoon sun, South Africa is one of the best — and most stunning — travel destinations.

When here, it’s not really a question of what to do, but more of a question of what not to do. Relax with a game of golf and a laid-back wine tasting, indulge in a thrilling surf session, experience a heart-pumping safari and top it off with the biggest adrenaline rush of your life as you jump from the highest bridge bungee in the world. The diversity of landscapes, people, culture and activities in South Africa will leave you asking for more.

1. COME FACE TO FACE WITH THE KING OF THE JUNGLE ON SAFARI

African Lion is one of the big five animals
South Africa is one of the best destinations for safari
Safari in South Africa

A safari is to South Africa what the Great Wall is to China; it’s synonymous, iconic, and something that must be experienced when visiting the country. South Africa is one of the best places in the world to spot the big five game animals — the African elephant, lion, leopard, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo. Safari activities in South Africa can be as relaxed or jam-packed as you want, however, there’s no way to control the wonder you’ll feel when meeting some of South Africa’s most majestic animals in the wild.

Recommended parks:

  • Kruger National Park is one of the biggest — and most famous — game reserves in the country. One of best places to spot not just the big five, but also a wide variety of other quintessentially-African wildlife, this world-renowned park is home to dozens of historical and archeological sites, boasting over 250 cultural heritage sites.
  • Kgalagadi National Park offers the dramatic landscape of the Kalahari Desert for a safari. Spot a black-maned lion or the otherwise elusive leopard strutting through the wild.
  • Get a chance to experience the big seven; the big five, whale and the great white sharks, in Addo Elephant National Park. Encounter herds of elephants; from which the park gets its name, Transval lions, rare black rhinos, and more. The park is also home to some archeological sites, making it a well-rounded destination!

Best season: May to October. The dry winter and spring seasons forces animals to come to the watering holes to drink, making a spotting much more predictable and likely.

Insider’s tip: Stop your car, turn off the motor, listen to the bush. Listen for strange high pitch animal calls or constant bird chittering. That is normally the alarm signs from smaller animals, which indicates they have seen a predator that is hidden from sight in the bush. — by Brendon Steele from Elephant Herd Tours and Safaris

2. SWIM WITH GREAT WHITE SHARKS

Shark Cage diving in South Africa
Experience the sharks of South Africa
Shark cage diving spots in South aFrica

If you’re thinking this is only an activity for advanced and certified scuba divers, you’re wrong. While it’s true that shark-cage diving is an activity for the bold and fearless, there are no special qualifications for embarking on this adventure. Experience the sharks of South Africa — including Great Whites — up close and personal from the protection of a metal cage. It is even possible to “free swim” snorkel with other shark species, as well as scuba dive for certified divers.

Recommended spots:

  • Gansbaai is a fishing town with one of the world’s biggest populations of great white sharks just off the coast. Its location just 2-hours from Cape Town has made it a popular place to take the plunge.
  • Durban has warmer waters and attracts different shark species like blacktips, tiger, ragged tooth, dusky, and whale sharks.

Best season: March to September. The colder months are when the sharks hunt nearer to the shore and swim closer to the surface. Plus, it avails the best visibility.

Insider’s tip: The high season corresponds with the South African winter, and winter storms can prevent boats from launching so make sure you plan your shark cage diving trip early in your visit to Cape Townto maximize your chances. When done, make sure to stop off in Stanford and head to Don Gelatos for the best ice cream in town. — by Ian Haggie from Explore Sideways

3. ENJOY THE RIDE AND ROAD TRIP THROUGH SOUTH AFRICA

Road trip in South Africa
A road trip in a scenic coastal stretch of South Africa
Road trip in South Africa map

South Africa is home to rugged terrain, sky-high cliffs, sprawling ocean vistas, dense jungles, dramatic deserts, lively cities and charming villages. Linking them all are sprawling roads, making South Africa a road-tripper’s dream. Availing scenic beauty at each stretch, a road trip in the country is usually not about reaching a destination, it is about enjoying the journey. While there are many pretty natural sights in South Africa, there are some truly iconic roads just begging to be driven.

Recommended routes:

  • The Garden Route is by far South Africa’s most famous stretch of road. The twisting and turning 300-kilometer road takes drivers along staggeringly steep coastal cliffs, through the indigenous forests, and past the Tsitsikamma and Outeniqua mountain ranges.
  • The Sani Pass is a drive that will quite literally take your breath away — the high-elevation gravel mountain pass requires a 4x4 vehicle and is the most challenging and demanding of its kind!
  • A short but picturesque road trip is the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga. Speckled with some of the most beautiful natural wonders, the 80-kilometer route winds around the Blyde River Canyon. Stop along the route to see some stupendous waterfalls, the breath-taking God’s Window, the phenomenal Three Rondavels and more.

Best season: November – March. The summer months are dry and the chance of rainfall is low.

Insider’s tip: The best thing to do while on a road trip in South Africa is to get on local communication with a sim card, or to put your phone on roaming. This allows you to be in contact in case of emergencies, to contact accommodations and attractions, and for them to contact you easily too. — by Emile & Nikita from Roof of Africa Tours

4. STRAP ON YOUR BOOTS AND EXPLORE THE TRAILS

Hiking the Drakensberg in South Africa
South Africa offers hiking trails that are fit for anyone
Hikes in South Africa

A land of diverse landscapes and stunning scenes, South Africa is a playground adventure-seekers. The best way to capture and experience the surreal landscape and wild terrain is on foot, and there’s certainly no shortage of hiking trails in South Africa. With trails ranging in levels of difficulty, there are hikes suitable for all skills and fitness levels.

Recommended hikes:

  • Table Mountain is a Cape Town icon with 8 main hiking trails and dozens of other off-shoots offering hikes of various difficulty levels. There are endless opportunities to experience the vistas, flora and fauna of the area.
  • Drakensberg is the 200-kilometer plus mountain range in the south-central part of South Africa. Famous for its accessible plateau, multitude of trails, strenuous climbs, and of course, breathtaking scenery and surroundings, Drakensberg is every hiker’s dream come true.

Best season: November – March. The summer months provide the driest and safest hiking conditions.

Insider’s tip: If you are not familiar with the area, we recommend that you use a guide to accompany you up the mountains. Pack for all conditions so that you are prepared for everything. If you are not in shape, it is recommended to try to walk quite a bit in the weeks prior to hiking the mountains. — by Tracy Young from Kabura Travel and Tours

5. INDULGE IN THE FINER THINGS WITH A WINE-TASTING

Cape Winelands in South Africa
Franschhoek's winelands in South Africa
 
Wine tasting in close malverne
Wine tasting in Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch
Wine tasting in South Africa

Think country lanes, rustic houses, rolling hills, and luscious vineyards. With all the exciting things to do in South Africa, it may be easy to overlook a more relaxing activity like wine tasting. But you shouldn’t. South Africa produces some of the world’s most exquisite wines, and there is no better place to taste than straight from the source. The Cape Winelands, nestled in the valley of the endless mountains, are quaint and surrounded by lovely, tranquil scenery, the perfect spot to sip world-class wines.

Recommended wineland:

  • Stellenbosch is a one-hour drive from Cape Town and boasts the country’s oldest wine route with nearly 150 wine farms. The Cape Dutch-style houses set in the Jonkershoek River Valley make this quaint little town a must-visit. The surrounding mountains, adorable downtown, and excellent bistros have mass appeal.
  • Tucked in the heart of Cape Winelands, Franschhoek is considered the gastronomic capital of South Africa. Surrounded by high mountains that are adorned in vineyards, the wineland features fifty-two fantastic wineries and is dotted with top-notch restaurants. Pair the gourmet food with a glass of wine straight from the barrel!

Best season(s): February – April (autumn) and November – December (early summer). These are cooler months, hence more apt to go winery-hopping. Plus there are less crowds and some great deals to grab!

Insider’s tip: Visit Elgin Region in Western Cape, an up-and-coming wineland, that has a cool climate and produces grapes with lower tannins and more delicate flavors. When here, book an appointment with Richard Kershaw Wines. His chardonnay is exported to Beaune in France — the home of chardonnay! — by Mark Tanner from Winelands Experience.

6. PREPARE TO RIDE THE BEST WAVES

Surfing in South Africa
Head to J-Bay for for consistent swell to ride
Surfing in South Africa

Surfing South Africa’s consistent swell is one of the favorite pastimes of locals. Much of the country has been blessed with excellent surf up and down the southern and eastern coasts. From Cape Town to Durban, surfers can ride world-class waves every day. There are some spots that should be reserved only for the advanced and experienced, however, surfers of all levels can find a suitable spot in South Africa to hang ten.

Recommended beaches:

  • Jeffrey’s Bay, also known as J-Bay, is the most famous surf spot in South Africa. Due to its consistent swell, big waves of up to 20 feet, and multiple breaks, this spot has reached international fame.
  • Dungeons in Hout Bay, Cape Town, is a legendary spot thanks to Red Bull’s recognition of the massive waves that break here. Certainly, Dungeons is only for experienced surfers looking to tackle some of the biggest waves South Africa can offer.

Best season(s): Swell is year-round, but the peak surfing season is April – August if big waves are what you seek.

Insider’s Tip: To escape the crowd, head to Umzumbe Beach, some 97km from Durban. A quiet coastal town, it flaunts gorgeous beaches, most of them protected by shark nets, and offering great swells. 

7. INTERACT WITH THE GENTLE GIANTS

Hermanus in Garden Route
A Southern right whale jumps out of the water - a possible sight in Hermanus
Whale watching in South Africa

South Africa’s exposed coast and strong currents make it an underwater hotspot for all sorts of impressive fish, mammals, and sea critters. Sharks and seals definitely come to mind, however no trip to South Africa would be complete without a whale-watching tour. This is by far one of the most impressive things to see and do in South Africa.

Recommended places:

  • Hermanus is on what’s known as the Cape West Coast and has been declared the whale-watching capital of the world. The best thing about Hermanus is that you can spot the amazing migrating Southern right whales from the stunning cliff-tops framing Walker Bay. Need we say more?
  • Plettenberg Bay, located on the eastern portion of the Garden Route, is another great place for viewing orcas and Bryde’s whales, in addition to dolphins and seals.

Best season: July – December. This is migration, breeding, and baby-raising season!

Insider’s Tip: On the way to Cape Town, stop at Stony Point. Stony Point boasts one of the largest colonies of African penguins and is situated in Betty’s Bay just off the R44 regional road. — by Remondy Clementia from Kabura Travel and Tours

8. TAKE A WALK DOWN SOUTH AFRICA’S MEMORY LANE

Robben Island in Cape Town
Entry point to popular Robben Island prison
Historical sites in South Africa

South Africa certainly has a checkered past that remains an extremely important part of the country. From the Dutch settlers in the 17th century, the British invasions throughout the 1900s, to Apartheid which swept through the country in the mid to late 19th century — South Africa has seen a lot of ups, down, and in-betweens. Although dark at times, it is simultaneously fascinating for visitors to learn about the culture and history that makes up this unique and diverse nation.

Recommended sites:

  • Robben Island is probably the best known historic site in South Africa. As the former location of an isolated prison, this place was used by everyone, from the 17th century Dutch to the 21st century South African government. It’s most famously known as the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years.
  • Soweto may be a surprising sight for those who have never seen a living and breathing township. As the biggest of its kind in Johannesburg, it was formed almost 100 years ago and is still home to over 1 million people.

Best season: Anytime. These sites are open year-round.

Insider’s tip: Locals are very friendly and love tourists and will try to interact with visitors as much as possible. Don’t be shy! — by Tracy Young from Kabura Travel and Tours

9. SCORE AN ACE IN A GAME OF GOLF BY THE OCEAN

Golfing in South AFrica
South Africa is home to some of the top-class golf courses in the world
Golfing in South Africa

South Africa is home to some of the top-class golf courses in the world. And while many visitors to the country come for an excellent safari, many also combine the thrill of spotting a wild animal with a leisurely stroke play under the African sky. Whether you’re soaking up the cosmopolitan vibes of Cape Town, road-tripping down the Garden Route, or on safari at Kruger National Park, there’s likely a golf course nearby dripping with South African character. Getting your golf game on is no problem with the number of golf courses in this country.

Recommended golf courses:

  • Leopard Creek, neighboring Kruger National Park, has hosted some of South Africa’s best-known golf competitions. The course is built along the Crocodile River and the nearby wildlife of the adjacent nature reserve often show themselves. Exciting!
  • Oubaai Golf Course, located on the scenic Garden Route, offers some excellent ocean views; no surprise there! The view of Herold’s Bay from the 17th hole is alone worth a round on this course.

Best season: The best thing about golf is it’s good any time of year. Keep in mind that that November – February can be rainy.

Insider’s tip: If you are up for the greatest golf challenge, head to Legend Golf Resort in Limpopo. Its Extreme 19th sits on top of Hanglip Mountain and is only accessible by helicopter.

10. TICKLE THE TASTE BUDS ON A GASTRONOMIC TOUR

Things to do in Durban Eat Bunny Chow
Bunny chow is a must try when in Durban
 
Traditional South African Food Bobotie
Bobotie served with yellow rice
Food guide in South Africa

South African cuisine is special because of its diversity. South Africa has no qualms about creatively incorporating outside influences and culture from several European and Southeast Asian countries. Malay-style curries, tried-and-true African dishes, braaied (barbecued) meats and fresh seafood, eating in South Africa is one of the best ways to spend your time.

Recommended locations:

  • Cape Town has it all — check out the Bo-Kaap neighborhood for halal Cape Malay dishes, Bree Street for hip venues and hearty gourmet food, and the Neighbourgoods Market for everything else!
  • Durban is another foodie paradise — this city is known for its barbecue, bunny chow, samosas, and locally brewed beers.

Best season: Any time and as often as possible!

Insider’s Tip: Take a cooking course in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town. Learn how to cook Cape Malay food and then devour it for lunch. — by Henko Wentholt from Abang Africa

11. CLOSE YOUR EYES AND TAKE THE LEAP, LITERALLY

Bungee jumping in Garden Route National Park
Brave the deep bungee at Bloukrans Bridge
 
Bloukrans Bridge in Garden Route
Take on the highest bridge bungee from the famous Bloukrans Bridge
Extreme jump activities in South Africa

Adrenaline junkies will already know that South Africa is home to the world’s most thrilling activities. The country has the bragging rights for the highest bridge bungee jump, insane skydiving locations, and several other jumping-off activities that’ll get the ultimate dare-devil’s blood pumping and heart pounding. The daring come from all over the globe to experience one of the most thrilling things to do in South Africa, which is to take one big, massive leap.

Recommended locations:

  • Take on the highest bridge bungee from the famous Bloukrans Bridge on the Garden Route. The location over the beautiful Bloukrans River Gorge, framed by rolling green mountains, makes for some truly spectacular scenery. But at 216-meters high, we doubt that it will be the first thing you notice.
  • Check out Durban’s Big Rush Big Swing, an 80-meter high swing that plunges into the Moses Mabhida Stadium. Football isn’t the only high-energy activity happening here.

Best season: The activities take place 365 days a year and operate in all weather conditions except for gale force winds and thunderstorms.

Insider’s tip: Trust your jump master and jump at his command. The longer you wait, the more you get psyched.

12. TAKE IT UP IN THE AIR FOR AN ELEVATED PERSPECTIVE

Paragliding in South Africa
Paragliding avails some pretty incredible South African sights
 
Helicopter rides in South Africa
A helicopter ride in Cape Town is a fantastic way to get a bird's eye view of South Africa
Flying activity in South Africa

What better way to experience South Africa’s diverse and ever-changing landscape than by soaring over it? Take it up in the air and experience the natural diversity the country has to offer. Hot-air balloon rides and paragliding provide a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of some pretty incredible South African sights. If you are looking for a bit of extravagance, helicopter rides are also up for grabs.

Recommended locations:

  • Climb aboard the only hot air balloon taking off from within a national park. The Pilanesberg National Park in the North West Province offers panoramic views over the 550 sq km of characteristic plains and grasslands. Home to the big five, you may get lucky and spot something really incredible!
  • Take on to the sky in a helicopter in Cape Town. Get a bird’s-eye view of the famous cityscape, with Table Mountain and other significant hills walling its one end and the never-ending blue sea bordering its fringes.

Best season: Any clear day without force winds and storms is suitable.

Insider’s tip: If you’re going to take pictures through a window from inside a helicopter (a car or a bus for that matter) we suggest that you wear darker clothing as whites tend to reflect off the inside of the window and spoil the image. — by Herman Geldenhuys from Cape Town Helicopters

13. STEP INTO THE SHOES OF A SHOPAHOLIC

Shopping in South Africa
Take home some South African souvenirs
Shopping in South Africa

Shopping in South Africa ranges from stall market steals to posh boutiques and designer duds. Whether you’re looking for some cheap souvenirs, locally made handicrafts, or the finest quality textiles or gemstones, you’ll find it all in South Africa. Remember, when you’re in the markets, don’t be afraid to haggle with the vendors — this is expected and won’t be seen as disrespectful. Just don’t go unreasonably low with your price and you’ll probably walk away with your goodies for a lot less!

Recommended venues:

  • V&A Waterfront, located along Table Bay, is undoubtedly a favorite place to visit in Cape Town. With over 450 shops and restaurants, you’re guaranteed to find whatever it is you’re looking for, be it gifts, souvenirs, authentic South African textiles or boutique clothing. It’s not just shopping either, Table Bay is the it-spot for waterfront dining, live entertainment, and other family attractions.

Best time: Open 9:00 – 21:00, 7 days a week

Insider’s tip: & Banana, in Hout Bay is a fantastic store that has the coolest range of locally designed and made jewelry and bags. If there is a fashionable souvenir you could take away from South Africa, it is here. — by Ann-Marie from Taste the Cape Travel

When it comes to the question of what to do in South Africa, clearly there are many answers. A holiday here can be as fast-paced or laid-back as you’d like. Shop ‘til you drop and eat ‘til you burst, or push your physical and mental limits with death-defying activities and challenging outdoor activities. The beauty of this country is in your ability to tailor-make your very own holiday.

 

Read More Here: Bookmundi

Africa has long been considered an attractive alternative asset class for South African institutional investors, offering powerful, risk-adjusted returns over the long term, along with excellent diversification benefits.

In a low growth, low return local environment, including an alternative asset class such as Africa into retirement fund portfolios has the potential to significantly enhance the risk and return profiles of these portfolios.

It is in this context that we consider former finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s important announcement that the limit on offshore investment for institutional investors would be increased from 25% to 30%.  Even more importantly, Treasury determined that the additional foreign allowance for investments into the rest of Africa should be doubled from 5% to 10%.

When approached to comment on this increased prudential limit, acting head of Sanlam Africa Investments, Brett Mallen, commented that after having spent the past three years establishing the Sanlam Africa Brett MallenInvestments business with his business partner, StJohn Bungey, it was rewarding to see the short-term cycle turn upwards again. It was even more encouraging to see Treasury’s affirmation of the rest of Africa as an investment destination for local pension funds. 

Africa’s growth trajectory

“We have always held the view that Africa is on an upward long-term secular trajectory that investors can benefit from. This longer-term trend merely experienced a temporary downward cycle after oil and a number of other commodities collapsed in late 2014.  Africa has since disproved its naysayers who believed it was only a commodities play that was short-lived, following the flush of easy money looking for an outlet after the global financial crisis in 2008.  I am certain that the increased allocation bears sound testament to the longer term view into which our team have vested their careers”. 

There appears to be consensus among economists that there is little risk in increasing the prudential limit on foreign investments within South African institutional portfolios, given the strong flows into emerging markets over the past year.  Treasury appears to have expressed a view that they expect this trend to continue into at least the medium term, particularly in the context of a new political landscape in South Africa.  Therefore, allowing local pension funds to diversify at a time that rand strength could perhaps be mitigated a little, does make good sense. 

However, Mallen believes that there is a further important message which Treasury intends to send with its specific increase of the African allowance from five to ten percent:  “For the South African economy to recover to its previous levels, it is non-negotiable for us to co-exist amongst stronger African economies, with deeper capital markets that are more financially inclusive.  This will require further investment from South African – and other international – investors.”  

The greater Sanlam Group for which Mallen works has identified the strategic imperative of investing into the African economies in which it so actively participates. This can be seen through its significant operations in 34 countries and the recent announcement of the $1bn follow-on investment to acquire the remaining equity stake in Saham Finance.

“There are excellent opportunities to realise the remarkable growth prospects across a number of African economies – across all investment classes – and in so doing, supporting and contributing to the strength and resilience of the rest of the continent”, says Mallen. 

Of course there are risks to investing into Africa but diversification across geographies and asset classes, and investing alongside African investment veterans with carefully selected local partners with whom deep relationships of trust have been built, can largely mitigate that risk so that the promised returns can be realised.

Now may be the right time to invest

“It is again exciting to be investing into Africa as it is clear that this is the right time in the cycle to be making at least some allocation to African markets.  In no way is this more apparent than from the remarkable performance of the African public equities markets over 2017, delivering a market beta of around 22%.  Our portfolio managers are convinced that there is still attractive beta to be realised in the short and medium term (AND that they can repeat the exceptional alpha which they generated in 2017).”

Conclusion

Despite the attractive investment case, Africa as an investment destination has recently been overlooked by South African retirement funds and allocators of capital. Blindsided by the temporary poor performance between 2014 - 2016, few recognised the greater opportunity in utilising their previous 5% allocation to Africa and the associated rand hedge benefits if invested into offshore US dollar denominated African funds.

Now that this allocation has doubled to 10%, it may be a good time to take a fresh look at asset allocation and understand all the levers available to maximise these outcomes.

Facebook has been in the news recently after UK company Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of millions of their users by way of a questionnaire app.

When this was discovered it was thought that 50 million users had been affected, but that number jumped up to 87 million just yesterday. We now know how many of those users are South African, and it’s a thankfully a relatively small number.

We’ve been told by a Facebook spokesperson that there were only 33 users who installed the app in the country. 59 777 South Africa users in total have been “potentially impacted” and have had their details compromised.

The huge difference in those two numbers stems from the fact that the app relied on sharing between friends who may have been in different countries. To patch up this problem Facebook has recently clamped down on what information advertisers have access to. In a addition, all users will now see more about what apps they’re using and what data they have access to, so they can make better decisions about what software they use.

On top of this, those potentially impacted will be given an alert so they can see what data could have been shared. If you’re someone locally or internationally who is more than a little irked by all this, here are the steps to permanently delete your Facebook account.

We also suggest that you put in a personal data request to see exactly what information the site has stored about you.

 

Source: Htxt Africa

No other woman – in life and after – occupies the place that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela does in South African politics. A stalwart of the African National Congress (ANC), she nevertheless stands above, and at times outside, the party.

Her iconic status transcends political parties and geographical boundaries, generations and genders. Poets have honoured her, writers have immortalised her and photographers have adored her.

Her life has been overburdened by tragedies and dramas, and by the expectations of a world hungry for godlike heroes on whom to pin all its dreams, and one-dimensional villains on whom to pour its rage. Yet perhaps it is in the smaller and more intimate stories of our stumbling to make a better world that we are best able to recognise and appreciate the meaning of the life of Madikizela-Mandela.

In her particular life, we may see more clearly the violence wrought by colonialism and apartheid, the profound consequences of fraternal political movements to whom women were primarily ornamental and, yes, the tragic mistakes made in the crucible of civil war.

Her political power stemmed from the visceral connection that she was able to make between the everyday lives of black people in a racist state, and her own individual life. State power, in all its vicious dimensions, was exaggerated in its response to her indomitable will – and in its stark visibility, personified.

Fearless in the face of torture, imprisonment, banishment and betrayal, she stood firm in her conviction that apartheid could be brought down. She said what she liked, and bore the consequences. Her very life was a form of bearing witness to the brutality of the system.

A life of misrecognition

Many obituaries will outline the broad sweep of her life; few will mark the extent to which her revolutionary ideas were shaped before she even met Nelson Mandela. To most of her social circle in the 1950s, for a long time into the 1980s, and certainly for Nelson Mandela’s biographers, Madikizela-Mandela was a young rural naif who charmed the most eligible (married) man in town.

This way of seeing her as primarily beautiful, and not as an emerging political figure, has coloured both contemporaneous accounts of Madikizela-Mandela (for she was surely too young and beautiful to have a serious political idea) as well as scholarly accounts of the period (which focused on the thoughts and actions of men).

This misrecognition resonated in the ANC, which had no way of accommodating Madikizela-Mandela’s political qualities other than by casting her in the familiar tropes of wife and mother. Astutely, she embraced the role of mother and wife of a political leader and fashioned it into a platform for her own variant of radicalism, drawing on recent memories of the forcible dispossession of land and its impact on the Eastern Cape peasantry, and black consciousness.

She kept those traditions alive in the ANC, especially in the everyday politics of the townships, when the leadership of the party was crafting new forms of non-racialism and at times vilifying black consciousness. Even though she was not part of the inner circle of the black consciousness movement, being older than the students leading it at its height, she was an ally in words and spirit.

Madikizela-Mandela in a T-shirt bearing the image of Chris Hani. EPA-EFE/Kim Ludbrook

In the tumult after the 1976 uprising, she built a bridge between different political factions. In the early 1990s, when Nelson Mandela was urging armed youths to give up violent strategies, it was Madikizela-Mandela they called on (along with the then leader of the South African Communist Party Chris Hani) to defend their change in tactics.

She played a similar role in brokering between moderates and radicals in the ANC and its breakaways up until her death. This was a form of gendered politics made possible by her status as mother of the nation, uniting warring sons and holding together her political family, even if peace was maintained only in her presence.

White power and black suffering

Winnie Madikizela was born in a rural Eastern Cape village called Bizana in September 1936. Her parents, Columbus and Gertrude, were teachers and her childhood was marked by the stern Methodism of her mother and the radical Africanist orientation of her father.

Rural life, with its entrenched gender roles, shaped her childhood. Not only was she aware of her mother’s desire to bear another son, but she and her sisters were expected to care for their male siblings. She was barely eight when her mother died months after giving birth to Winnie’s brother. Her childhood was cut short, and she had to leave school for six months to work in the fields and to carry out, with her sisters, all the daily chores of the household, from preparing food to cleaning. In her large and rambunctious family in which her parents upheld discipline with physical punishment, she learned to defend herself with her fists, if necessary.

Her rural background made her aware of land dispossession as a central question of freedom. By her own account, she learnt about the racialised system of power early in her life. From her father, she learnt about the Xhosa wars against the colonisers, and later would imagine herself as picking up where her ancestors had failed:

If they failed in those nine Xhosa wars, I am one of them of them and I will start from where those Xhosas left off and get my land back.

She was to retain the theme of land dispossession by colonialism throughout her political career. Associated with this was the idea that race was central to colonialism. Taught by her grandmother that the source of black suffering was white power, her framing of politics was defined completely by the ways in which her family understood the relations of colonialism, and by their personal experiences of humiliation.

As with many other ANC members with Eastern Cape roots, she did not think of urban struggles as the only space of resistance, or workers as the only agents of change. She warned, in 1985, that

The white makes a mistake, thinking the tribal black is subservient and docile.

Militant to the core

After six short years together, Madikizela-Mandela’s husband, Nelson, was sentenced to life imprisonment. By this stage, she too was inextricably involved in the national liberation movement, politics with single parenting. She was attuned to the mood of people, and was more of an empathic leader than a theorist or tactician.

She was an effective speaker, and had a gift for winning over an audience. Adelaide Joseph, a friend and fellow ANC activist, recalls that

when she made her first public speech…right on the spot, while she was speaking, the women composed a song for Winnie Mandela. And they started to sing right in the hall.

She joined the ANC Women’s League and the Federation of South African Women, and participated in several campaigns. She was militant to the core. On one occasion, when a policeman arrived at her house with a summons and dared to pull her arm, she assaulted him and had to defend herself in court for the action.

She was far from being a bystander, or a passive wife patiently waiting for her husband’s release from prison. In her autobiography, Madikizela-Mandela credits several other women for influencing her politically. Among these were Lilian Ngoyi, Florence Matomela, Frances Baard and Kate Molale, all leaders of the Federation.

For her, they were the “top of the ANC hierarchy” although at the time no women were in fact in any formal leadership positions in the ANC. The ANC only allowed women to become full members in 1943, and during the 1950s, women were locked in an intense battle for recognition within the movement.

In the ANC Women’s League and in the Federation, she held positions as chairperson of her branch in Orlando, and was a member of their provincial and national executives. In the 1970s, with her close friend Fatima Meer, she formed the Black Women’s Federation. It was a short lived organisation with few campaigns, but signalled an adherence to the new township based politics that was sweeping the country.

Her mode of work in any case was not that of painstaking organisation-building; she was more capable as a public speaker and as someone who could connect with people in the harsh conditions of life in apartheid’s townships. She attended funerals and counselled families, acts of public courage that sustained activists. She offered a form of intimate political leadership, instinctively aligning herself with people in distress.

Gender was her political resource, enabling her to draw on effective qualities to form political communities and providing a mode in which she could enter into the lives of people in the townships. She embraced the role of mother and wife of a political leader and fashioned it into a platform from which she challenged the apartheid state.

Banishment and brutality

If the apartheid state had hoped to break her, they failed. She was fearless in the face of the state’s attempts to silence her. Her home was repeatedly invaded and searched, and she was arrested, assaulted and imprisoned several times. Then, in 1977, in an act of extreme cruelty, she was served with a banishment order to a place in the Free State called Brandfort – a place she had never heard of nor had she ever visited.

It was a horrendous uprooting from her family and community in Soweto, a form of exile that she described as “my little Siberia.” Madikizela-Mandela grasped very clearly the power that could derive from associating actions against her with actions against the nation. As she put it,

When they send me into exile, it’s not me as an individual they are sending. They think that with me they can also ban the political ideas. But that is a historic impossibility… I am of no importance to them as an individual. What I stand for is what they want to banish.

But although the state did not break Winnie, by her own account it did brutalise her. Talking about her long period of solitary confinement and torture in 1969, she told a journalist that

that imprisonment of eighteen months in solitary confinement did actually change me … We were so brutalised by that experience that I then believed in the language of violence and the only to deal with, to fight, apartheid was through the same violence they were unleashing against us and that is how one gets affected by that type of brutality.

The consequences were awful, not just for her but also for Paul Verryn, and especially for the families of Stompie Seipei and Abu Asvat. This period in her life, and in South African politics generally, is one that will not only occupy our moral energies, but also shape the ways in which narratives of violence in the 1980s are written. These were dark times in a country weighed down by states of emergency and militarised control. The exaggerated quality of Madikizela-Mandela’s life had to bear, too, the nightmares of our nation’s struggles to free itself.

The ANC could barely contain the nature of leadership that Winnie represented. Like many women in the movement, she was marginalised from its powerful decision making structures. Unlike male leaders, her personal life was constantly under the spotlight (no doubt aided by a zealous security machinery that kept her under constant surveillance), and she was judged harshly and unfairly for her private choices. Although she was a masterful player of the familial categories of wife and mother, she felt reduced by them too.

Winnie with Nelson Mandela after his release from prison in 1990. EPA-EFE/Stringer

Commentators like to use words such as maverick and wayward to describe her, but these tendencies developed because the regular structures of the ANC could not easily accommodate a powerful woman with a radical voice. Stepping outside the agreed parameters of the official party line, as she frequently did, was a form of asserting her independence, a form of refusal of the terms of political cadreship that were available to women in the ANC and in society more generally. It also allowed her to build alliances with the new voices emerging after 1994, from standing with the Treatment Action Campaign against Thabo Mbeki’s policies on HIV/AIDS, to supporting the formation of the Economic Freedom Fighters. It accounts for the tremendous affection for her among young activists who are equally wary of the sedimented power structures in politics.

The endless stream of photographs that picture her in romantic embrace with Nelson Mandela, even now in her death, and despite their divorce, miss this fundamental point: the marriage was only a small part of her life, not its definitive point. To present her simply as wife, mostly as mother, is to erase the many struggles she waged to be defined in her own terms.

 

Shireen Hassim, Professor of Political Studies, WiSER, University of the Witwatersrand

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

  1. Opinions and Analysis

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