Archive for the ‘Non-fiction’ Category
Professor Laurie Nathan, former parliamentary advisor on security and defense, director of the Centre for Mediation in Africa and co-editor of Falls the Shadow, was interviewed by John Robbie on Talk Radio 702 about the 2011/2012 report by the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI). Robbie says the list of problems goes on and on and that the report tells the story of “a state agency in absolute crisis”.
Nathan explains that the problems in the state security agencies that the report exposes are not surprising: “There are a number of really big problems at the top. The one is the almost complete absence of oversight by civilian bodies. A second big problem is the absence of decisive political leadership from the minute they’re in cabinet. The third is the politicisation of the security agencies, all of which manifests itself in this kind of behaviour.”
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Herman Wasserman, media studies professor at Rhodes University and author of Tabloid Journalism in South Africa, spoke to Sydney Smith from iMediaEthics about the media coverage of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial that is currently underway.
“The obsessive coverage of the trial points to the larger asymmetries in our society,” Wasserman says. He pointed to issues of social justice, such as restorative justice for the poor, saying that the media is neglecting to look into these issues but is covering every single aspect of this one trial.
Likewise, Rhodes University media studies professor Herman Wasserman told iMediaEthics in an e-mail that he shares Harber’s concerns about how the devotion of resources toward this one headline-making case could be better used.
“The obsessive coverage of the trial points to the larger asymmetries in our society,” Wasserman pointed out to iMediaEthics. “The media leaves no stone unturned in its coverage of this trial, but neglects the questions of social justice, conditions in our prisons, restorative justice for the poor etc – the example of the poor mother that stole a loaf of bread in Harber’s column.”
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Awino Okech, contributor to Jacketed Women: Qualitative research methodologies on sexualities and gender in Africa, has written an article for Pambazuka News on the “number of conceptual tensions and their impact on lived realities” that have re-surfaced as a result of the “recent wave of legislation seeking to criminalise and extend government surveillance of non-heterosexual relationships.”
“The state is always present in your bedroom. Its absence has an impact on your access to services and this is the source of the tenuous relationship between citizens and governments,” Okech writes.
It is 2006. We are in Green Point, a public beach in Cape Town. “Freedom” has been here for a while so all races mingle freely. A group of women having wined and dined the whole night as part of ushering in the New Year think it is a great idea to take the last bottle of champagne to the beach. A kiss is exchanged between two women and this draws multiple stares of disapproval from heterosexual families on the beach. Soon, an irate father walks up to the group and demands; “you must not do that in front of the children.” “That” being a public display of affection between two women and the children were disinterested in what was going on. This is “Africa’s pink capital”.
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The controversial Traditional Courts Bill has been dropped, reports Stephen Grootes for Eyewitness News. The Bill has been criticised for potentially removing “the right of millions of rural people, particularly women, to use normal courts instead of traditional courts.”
“The legislation has been slated for giving traditional leaders too much power, as it allows a chief to punish someone with forced labour,” eNCA reports.
For an understanding of the way in which African religions have been incorporated into South African law, read Tom Bennett’s Traditional African Religions in South African Law.
Recent developments in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) means the Traditional Courts Bill is dead, the Alliance for Rural Democracy said on Friday.
It says the bill therefore cannot be passed into law.
The Traditional Courts Bill has been ejected from Parliament.
The National Council of Provinces was due to reinstate the proposed law later this year.
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Randolph Vigne, former Liberal Party deputy chairman and author of Thomas Pringle: South African pioneer, poet and abolitionist, has written a column for Business Day with South African historian Merle Lipton, in response to recent comments from some DA members that “the former Liberal Party and Progressive Party would have viewed the DA’s endorsement of affirmative action as a ‘betrayal’ of the liberal principle of nonracialism.”
Vigne and Merle lay out the differences between the Liberals and the Progressives and write that “Many Liberal Party members, including national chairman Peter Brown, would have agreed with DA leader Helen Zille that the economic dimensions of the postapartheid settlement must involve racial redress.”
In recent exchanges in the media, some disaffected members of the Democratic Alliance (DA) claimed the former Liberal Party and Progressive Party would have viewed the DA’s endorsement of affirmative action as a “betrayal” of the liberal principle of nonracialism. As former Liberal Party members, we wish to highlight some significant differences between the Liberals and the Progs and to offer some thoughts about how the Liberals might have reacted.
The Liberal Party of the 1960s supported universal suffrage and social democratic policies such as economic redistribution, including of land, and social welfare measures. After Sharpeville, some members joined the African Resistance Movement in resorting to armed struggle. Their ineffective actions were an indication of their despair at the possibility of change through constitutional means and their commitment to overthrowing white supremacy. In 1968, the Liberal Party disbanded rather than comply with the racist Political Interference Act, which required the exclusion from membership of Africans, who comprised a majority of Liberal Party members.
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New from UCT Press, Africa’s Urban Revolution edited by Susan Parnell and Edgar Pieterse:
The facts of Africa’s rapid urbanisation are startling. By 2030 African cities will have grown by more than 350 million people and over half the continent’s population will be urban. Yet in the minds of policy-makers, scholars and much of the general public, Africa remains a quintessentially rural place. This lack of awareness and robust analysis means it is difficult to make a policy case for a more overtly urban agenda. As a result, there is across the continent insufficient urgency directed to responding to the challenges and opportunities associated with the world’s last major wave of urbanisation.
Drawing on the expertise of scholars and practitioners associated with UCT’s African Centre for Cities, and utilising a diverse array of case studies, Africa’s Urban Revolution provides a comprehensive insight into the key issues – demographic, cultural, political, technical, environmental and economic – surrounding African urbanisation.
“Africa’s Urban Revolution provides a fascinating look, both empirically and theoretically, at an eclectic mix of contemporary urban issues in Africa. Promoting long-term planning that directs and informs African urbanisation is the key message of the authors. This book is a must-read for scholars of the urban South.” – Professor Ronnie Donaldson, Stellenbosch University
About the editors
Susan Parnell is an urban geographer in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She is centrally involved in the African Centre for Cities, serving on its executive. Her recent books include A Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South (co-edited with S. Oldfield; Routledge, 2014); Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and opportunities. A global assessment (co-edited with T. Elmqvist, M. Fragkias, J. Goodness, B. Güneralp, P. Marcotullio, R. McDonald, M. Schewenius, M. Sendstad, K. Seto and C. Wilkinson; Springer, 2013).
Edgar Pieterse is holder of the South African Research Chair in Urban Policy. He is director of the African Centre for Cities and professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, both at the University of Cape Town. Recent books include: Rogue Urbanism: Emergent African cities (Jacana, 2013); African Cities Reader I & II (Chimurenga, 2010 and 2011); City Futures: Confronting the crisis of urban development (UCT Press, 2008). In 2010 he co-founded an international biannual magazine, Cityscapes. At present, Pieterse is leading a national policy process to craft the Integrated Urban Development Framework for the South African government.
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The latest issue of The Ashridge Journal features an article by the Steward Leadership: A Maturational Perspective co-authors Kurt April and Kai Peters on why a new leadership model is needed: “The global financial crisis and the rapid pace of globalisation are radically changing the definition of what makes a good business, civic and community leader.”
April and Peters explain what steward leadership is and discuss the nine dimensions that are key to it. They also write about how steward leaders can be developed, saying that ensuring that managers review their personal development plans is crucial.
Competition is intense, economic times are difficult and organisations need leaders who can both deliver results for shareholders and also ensure a sustainable future for the business. At the same time, we are operating in an age of total transparency where unscrupulous behaviour cannot be swept under the carpet and consumers are increasingly vocal about their desire for companies to demonstrate social conscience as well as pursuit of profit.
These changing times call for a radical departure from the leadership styles of the past. We need to break away from the high achieving ‘hero’ leader and move instead towards a model of ‘steward’ leadership. The focus of leadership development needs to shift so that it is not simply about making a difference to an organisation’s economic performance – but also about helping organisations to become sustainable in every sense of the word.
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Nicola de Jager, editor of Friend or Foe?: Dominant Party Systems in Southern Africa says people who believe their vote does not make a difference have an incorrect understanding of the South African electoral system.
De Jager explains that ahead of the first democratic elections in 1994, it was decided South Africa would take on a proportional representation system for elections, meaning that the percentage of votes received by each political party translates directly into the number of seats they are allocated in parliament.
According to De Jager, this system allows smaller parties the chance to participate in the legislative processes of government.
‘Your vote does count,’ says Dr Nicola de Jager from the Department of Political Science.
‘The proportional representation system applied by South Africa at provincial and national level means that your vote does count unlike a majority electoral system where the winner takes all.’
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- Friend or Foe?: Dominant party systems in southern Africa – Insights from the developing world edited by Nicola de Jager, Pierre du Toit
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Marie Huchzermeyer, author of Cities with ‘Slums’ and professor at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Architecture and Planning, took part in an online discussion titled “Making slum upgrading work in urban Africa” last month.
Organised by urb.im, the discussion featured panelists from Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa. It was sparked by urb.im’s Katy Fentress who asked whether governments have a role to play in the upgrading of Africa’s urban “slums”, what this role should be, and who the other stakeholders playing a role should be.
Huchzermeyer highlights the importance of recognising how different informal settlements can be across southern Africa and even within the same city and so warns against promoting specific stakeholders. She says that the starting point for her would be to follow two principles: Firstly to establish what organisations are active in an informal settlement and what politics there are surrounding it and what trust, or lack thereof, there is towards government structures. Secondly, she says that the trust needs to then be built, “as government is indispensable in an upgrading programme”.
Read the full discussion:
The starting point for me would be principles. One principle is to understand what organisations are active in an informal settlement, what the politics are around these, what inclusions and exclusions manifest in these settlements, and coupled with this what trust or distrust there is of relevant government structures and why. A second principle would be to work towards building the necessary trust, as government is indispensable in an upgrading programme. Ultimately, and indeed cemented through a growing number of Constitutions in southern Africa, government has the responsibility to progressively realise a qualified right to housing, and nowhere is this more urgent than in informal settlements. If the corruption that Shadrack talks about is the cause of distrust, corruption will have to be dealt with before an upgrading programme can be successful. At all costs, another failed upgrading programme must be avoided. Usually communities are very good at predicting wastage of government funds, and they need to be listened to very carefully.
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New from UCT Press, In Search of Equality: Women, Law and Society in South Africa edited by Stefanie Röhrs and Dee Smythe:
Just over 50 years ago several African countries drew up new Constitutions which included protocols such as the Protocol on the Rights of Women. Decades later, has constitutional reform brought gender equality to women in Africa? And what does gender equality mean in the everyday lives of women on the continent?
The contributors to this volume provide insights into women’s rights in seven African countries – Cote d’Ivoire, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda. Each looks at the causes, context and consequences of the struggle to uphold women’s rights. Their case studies illustrate property-grabbing in Malawi, women’s citizenship in Nigeria, and the rise of hate crimes and sexual violence against black lesbians in South Arica, among other issues.
Drawing from empirical research in coastal communities across South Africa and Mozambique, this book provides cutting-edge analyses of and new conceptual approaches to these issues. It aims to enhance an understanding of why benefits are distributed in the way they are, the main blockages preventing greater equity, and strategies for more equitable benefit-sharing. The findings have relevance and application for coastal livelihoods, rural governance and resource sustainability, not only in these countries but across the world in a context where community rights are increasingly undermined by land-grabbing, unequal power relations and externally driven development interventions.
Acronyms and abbreviations
Table of cases
Table of legislation
Introduction: In search of equality: women, law and society in Africa – Dee Smythe and Stefanie Röhrs
Chapter 1: Challenges in litigation on gender issues in Namibia – Dianne Hubbard
Chapter 2: Constitutionalism and the law of inheritance: Recent experiences from Uganda – Florence Akiiki Asiimwe
Chapter 3: Gender equality in customary marriages in South Africa – Mikateko Joyce Maluleke
Chapter 4: Enforcing women’s rights in Malawi – Maureen Kondowe
Chapter 5: The justice system and women’s rights in Côte-d’Ivoire – Marie Agathe Bahi
Chapter 6: Ending impunity for hate crimes against black lesbians: An opportunity to create feminist jurisprudence – Wendy Isaack
Chapter 7: Strategic litigation of women’s constitutional rights in Rwanda’s changing judicial landscape – Eugene Manzi
Chapter 8: Associational life and women’s constitutional rights in Africa – Ada Okoye Ordor
About the editor
Stefanie Röhrs is senior researcher at the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit at the University of Cape Town.
Dee Smythe is Professor and Director of the Law, Race and Gender Unit in the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town. She is also senior lecturer in the Department of Public Law. She is the author (with Pithey, B, and Artz, L) of Commentary on the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007, (Juta, 2011), and (with Artz, L) Should we consent? The politics of rape law reform in South Africa (Juta, 2008).
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