David Smith

A lament for radio in Africa

People who complain about the lack of available news about Africa usually don’t try very hard to find it. Sure, if you use South African daily newspapers or South African radio and television as your sources, you’re likely to be disappointed. One of the best sources of news from and about Africa, a source updated…

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Remapping Sudan

This Sunday’s referendum in South Sudan is a seriously big deal. I didn’t think it would happen. I thought it would go the way of the referendum in the Western Sahara, the one that should have taken place well over a decade ago but hasn’t, because the Moroccans are still afraid that they might lose….

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Thoughts in the wake of Africa Day

Monday was Africa Day. It’s a bit like Mother’s Day — once a year we remember somebody or something that is always part of our life, but far too often neglected. Kaya FM played more African music than usual (apart from what Nicky Blumenfeld plays over the weekend) and a number of newspapers ran leaders…

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Let’s have more Africa news, not less!

Jacob Zuma casts doubt on the Constitution and the Mail & Guardian cuts the Africa section: what a week! Insulting the dignity of the Constitutional Court is the sort of thing I expect to hear coming out of Julius Malema’s mouth; I didn’t expect the head of the ANC to say such a thing. It’s…

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Regional Commercial Radio — The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Regional Commercial Radio – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly A lot of South Africans will be taking to the road over the next few days and weeks. For those who don’t really feel like talking while speeding down the highway, there’s always the radio. The last year or so has given us a…

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In praise of an ex-dictator

I have been listening to Bantu Holomisa speak for the past 21 years. On Thursday night I heard him again at the University of Johannesburg. Attendees were told that the Major General would deliver a lecture on his initiative to include a question about citizens’ views on constituency representation in the election manifestos of political…

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A good woman in the Congo

I was thinking about xenophobia today. In fact, these days I think about it far too often. The death of a friend in Kinshasa prompts today’s thoughts. Nathalie Muteba was a young and extremely gifted journalist at Radio Okapi, a national radio network covering the Democratic Republic of Congo. On Friday Nathalie died suddenly of…

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Happy World Refugee Day

I imagine the Tuesday night debate at Wits on xenophobia was the sort of event that attracted the kind of people who read and contribute to Thought Leader. I was there and I’m pleased to have made the effort. The discussion was interesting, and probably could have gone on for hours had there not been…

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The birth of a country

“We are proud, independent and free. Today ends all delusions that Kosovo will ever be ruled by Belgrade. We are the last bit to symbolise the disintegration of Yugoslavia.” — Declaration of independence by Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci on February 17 2008 There’s nothing like a new country to inspire writing. Yet another little…

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