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Richard Calland

The coming failure of Jacob Zuma

If it can reasonably be defined as a political philosophy or rhetorical brand that sticks up for the common person against the elite, why is it that “populism” is so widely denigrated? When American liberals speak of Hugo Chávez as a populist, it is not a term of endearment.

What future for SA politics?

Last Monday, in the middle of the Kennedy Road informal settlement where he lives, S'bu Zikade, the leader of Abahlali baseMjondolo -- the shack dwellers' movement of Durban -- made speech in which he reminded the people who live there that the rights in the Constitution are ''for us, and not just the rich people''.

Is Pretoria shadow-boxing above its diplomatic weight?

<i>Pity the Nation</i>. The title of veteran Middle East reporter Robert Fisk's seminal 1990 book, subtitled <i>Lebanon at War</i>, is resonant again. After a difficult period of reconstruction -- having finally attracted a steady flow of export business and tourism, and having rebuilt its infrastructure and social cohesion -- Lebanon once again looks into the abyss.

With the World Cup over, it’s back to reality

The World Cup was an absorbing diversion from the bad news that dominates our attention. Despite the manic nationalism and its inherent tribalism, part of the naive beauty of the past weeks has been the sense that for once the human race was looking in the same direction.

The crisis is real

Do not believe those members of the party who, because it is their job to do so, deny it. The African National Congress is in crisis. But equally, do not make the mistake of thinking that the ANC has not faced crisis before, because it has -- and it has survived to tell the tale.

Ten years of freedom

We should have been celebrating the 10year anniversary of an extraordinary document, the Constitution. Instead, we were all glued to the television or radio. Inevitably, the verdict totally eclipsed the anniversary; Jacob Zuma stole the show -- an exquisitely painful irony, yet also strangely apt.

A crumbling Cape

Between a dithering African National Congress and a blustering Democratic Alliance mayor Helen Zille, social cohesion in Cape Town is a distant dream, writes Richard Calland. The incident last Saturday when Zille was chased away from a meeting in Crossroads has provided a serious distraction.

Legacy, legacy, legacy

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he will depart from 10 Downing Street before the next election, which must be no later than 2010. He has an ambitious, well-qualified and long-serving minister of finance waiting impatiently for him to go. Sound familiar?

Getting the message across

Dysfunctional ward committees are being blamed for the apparent breakdown in communication between local government and communities.

An Evo-lutionary visit

The visit to South Africa by Evo Morales, the recently elected President of Bolivia, was an evocative reminder of the spirit of 1994. He came looking for solidarity, ideas and concrete assistance for the future. He left with all three. He will need all three. Morales is the first indigenous president in a country where a largely white elite has hitherto enjoyed an oligopoly of political and economic power.

Old and nouveau: A congealing overlap of money and politics

The tribute to Brett Kebble by Khanyo Gqulu last week ("Our north, our south, our east and west") would have been the most delicious piece of satire had it not been offered in such apparently deadly earnest. It -- along with the rest of the sickly tributes to Kebble over the past 10 days -- illustrates at least two things about the new South Africa.

An incoherent opposition

Opposition politics in South Africa is now in real crisis. Not only has the opposition's share of the vote been going steadily down election-on-election since 1994, but the minority parties appear determined to weaken themselves further by self-induced fragmentation -- a trend sharply accentuated by the apparently irresistible charms of the recent floor-crossing period.

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