Vusi Gumede

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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The biggest political questions of our time

The previous decade was rough, at many levels. This new decade, the 2010s, brings some hope. However, the risks remain on the upside — politically, globally, personally and so on. The 1990s were said to be a lost decade — Adam Roberts thinks the 2010s might be “decadent”. The Americans are suggesting that this decade…

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World would be a better place if women took charge

The “condition” of women and girl children remains repulsive. This is an indictment to humanity as a whole, given that the overall human condition itself is precarious. In her incomparable novel, Changes, Ama Ata Aidoo brilliantly captures the critical challenges confronting females in particular — the conversations of the two main characters, Esi and Opokuya,…

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Profiling in the name of identity

The world we live in remains a disturbingly dangerous and very fragile place, largely because of our own making. Amin Maalouf opens his provocative book, In the Name of Identity, with an analogy that may be worth reproducing for this polemic. Maalouf talks of “a young man born in France of Algerian parents clearly carries…

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Africans must confront prejudice and stereotypes

There are many things that Africans do which give Africa and Africans a bad name or rather there are things that folks with black skin do which tarnish the image of those with black skin. However, as one of the greatest pan-Africanists ever alive — Marcus Garvey — once argued: “The black skin is not…

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Poverty, inequality need home-grown solutions

A world-renowned scholar of public policy, Yehezkel Dror, recently reemphasised the point that policy and politics “closely interact, often overlap, and in part cannot be separated even analytically”. This seemingly obvious point, with far-reaching implications, has also been made by various eminent scholars. On poverty, Martin Ravallion — a leading scholar on issues of poverty…

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Social and economic exclusion: A ticking time bomb

One of the most powerful texts ever written, The Communist Manifesto, opens with a very instructive statement: “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”. This statement still holds and will probably hold for another century or so. Almost all the nations in the world have to contend with this…

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SA: Matters of self-esteem, race and so on

In a timeless collection of African short stories, folk tales and poetry, edited by Barbara Nolen, the poem titled The Moon succinctly captures what this polemic is about. Let me reproduce the said poem: “The moon lights the earth It lights the earth but still The night must remain the night The night cannot be…

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SA’s unresolved challenges

Noam Chomsky, an eminent scholar and activist, in his celebrated Profit over People reflects that: “The first great experiment was a bad idea for the subjects, but not for the designers and local elites associated with them. This pattern continues until present: placing profit over people. The consistency of the record is no less impressive…

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South Africans: Pledging a new social contract

Martin Luther King Junior, in one of his most powerful sermons ever — the one delivered at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Christmas Eve of 1967 — stated the obvious but critical that “we must either learn to live together as brothers, or we are all going to perish together as fools”. The…

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