Vusi Gumede

Africa’s Achilles heel: Global capitalism

In 2010, during the 50th anniversary of African political independence, I wrote an article which provocatively proclaimed that developmental states remain a pipedream in Africa. There is no consensus on what has constrained the further advancement of our troubled African continent. Could it be, fundamentally, institutions as some have argued or leadership as many have…

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Africa, time to get back to basics

As a point of departure, it is important to acknowledge that we know a lot about the challenges confronting the African continent today. Equally, we know more about the world today. It is in this context that a call for rethinking Africa’s political economy is made. Such a rethink is timely because the world economy…

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Poor policy slows SA’s growth

James Carvelle, Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign strategist, coined a phrase that remains pertinent the world over, especially in South Africa, when he said “the economy, stupid”. As we now paraphrase Carvelle’s phrase, “it is [indeed] the economy, stupid”. In the case of South Africa, I insist that it is both the economy, and more fundamentally,…

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As uncertainty deepens, the human condition further worsens

In a compelling poem by the great African intellectual giant Amílcar Cabral, a powerful ‘story’ of Return is told. A relatively young Cabral, in his 20s, published a timeless poem that remains relevant – though written in 1949 – even today. It is worth presenting a couple of verses from it: Old Mama, come and…

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The world needs a better moral compass

At the occasion of the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony of 1960 at Oslo University in Norway, in his acceptance speech, Chief Albert Luthuli highlighted a fundamental challenge that still confronts Africa that “our continent has been carved up by the great powers. Alien governments have been forced upon the African people by military conquest…

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Africa in the aftermath of the recession

Many African scholars and politicians have repeatedly made the point that Africa remains behind other regions or continents as a result of the historical injustices it endured for centuries. Disturbingly, though, the injustices have taken a different form over the years, particularly by the so-called developed world. This is not to say that part of…

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International cooperation: World remains a mess but there’s hope

Africa is, arguably, still the richest continent but her people are the poorest in the world — the world remains a mess! But there are some encouraging signs: Africa appears to be well-poised to lead the world into a better future. This view is supported by others. Michael Pilkington, for instance, believes that 2011 will…

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SA still has a long way to go on reconciliation

Now that the Fifa 2010 football extravaganza is over and the strike is on hold, it might be opportune to reflect on how far we have, as South Africans, actioned the reconciliation project. The World Cup gave a picture of a nation in unison. Was that a façade? do we still see different races, with…

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Where is SA going?

Nuruddin Farah, one of the extraordinary novelists of our times, succinctly captured — in his novel entitled Secrets — the beginnings of Somalia’s civil war. Kalaman, the protagonist, relates what he was going through as the tragedy unfolded: “I sat in the car. I was a storm-beaten, lonely man. I was sad. I was mournful….

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SA needs to get its act together

In what is recorded as his last speech, the extraordinary Anton Muziwakhe Lembede told the gathering, at Leake Hall in Soweto, June 1947, that “the history of mankind is the history of the liberation of the mankind”. Fast-forward to 1961, Frantz Fanon forcefully argued that “what matters today is the need for redistribution of wealth”….

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