South Africa

South Africa is complex and full of interesting social dynamics, tensions and potential. This article helps make it a little more comprehensible. SA is virtually a single-party nation as the ANC’s dominance looks set to continue despite myriad problems such as crime, inequality, weak public services, and corruption. This might make the state of the nation’s democracy seem weak, but it also has a free and vibrant press, which looks to be threatened with the recent development of a government-proposed media tribunal that might be set up, and a thriving civil society, not to mention first-class infrastructure like airports, highways and malls. This article was written well before the recent nationwide strikes that occurred in SA for 3 weeks and that some observers thought signaled a strong threat to the president and the ANC (the unions that engaged in this strike are in an alliance with the ruling party). A really interesting statement is the writer saying that the ANC has done better in the last 16 years than the National Party (the Afrikaaner ruling party during apartheid) did in the last 2 decades of apartheid, and lists what they have done well. I have some doubts about this and I think the writer seems to have some rather rose-tinted glasses on his outlook of the economy, such as with the BEE, Black Economic Empowerment, which has been heavily criticized as inefficient and being beneficial mainly to wealthy or elite blacks and not regular blacks. At the end of it all, the writer may also be a bit too optimistic about the state of political competition, but I don’t doubt the part about an emerging national identity.