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        Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
        Thursday, March 02, 2006
        I say look to South Africa
        This is going to sound a bit like Marcus Garvey's 1927 "Look to Africa..." sermon. Still, I say to Sub-Saharan Africa, look to South Africa and be inspired. Be very inspired!

        South Africa still has a lot of mess to clean up. However, it must be doing something right and/or clever for it to be considered an important partner of the European Union. The EU's 25 nations are this close to giving South Africa equal trade partnership status as the US, Russia, China and the other biggies. It now has "preferred partnership" with the EU. Whatever "preferred partnership" is, I really don't mind. It sure must be better than nothing, and it sounds intimate enough.

        The development boss of the EU, Louis Michel - the man to impress - is now convinced that Africa is geo-strategically of importance to Europe. Well nothing in life is free! And, he is happy to announce that African countries do not have to deal with individual donors and the European Commission, and.... for developement dealings. Better late than never, and better one gigantic monster than several little ones! If you get tempted to ask whether partnership with the West is a good thing for Africa... I would like to answer that with an Ethiopian saying before you even ask. Either be born of a rich family or make aquaintances with the rich, goes the saying. No options there with globalization and all.

        So again I say to Sub-Saharan Africa, Look to South Africa, where a nation shall be crowned for the day of equal partnership with the West is near.

        You can read the full report here.

        And while you're at it...
        Tsotsi - a South African Oscar nominated movie
        Background info. on South Africa
        See South Africa
        Oprah has said go to South Africa
        posted by Fikirte @ 5:38 PM   Digg!
        • name<="c114145547246227817" id="c114145547246227817">

          At 1:57 AM, Blogger zinzi said…

          A bona fide partnership?
          If I believe that I will believe anything. First, I would like to go on record as stating that I am not a cynic, I am just tickled to bits by news items such as this and by the follies of man.

          Europeans came to Africa and divided it into many little states with borders that often resulted in two neighbours or members of the same family now belonging to two foreign countries.

          African states are replicas of their past colonial masters by ideology, language, dress and more often than not, their habits ( 4 o'clock tea in Kenya).

          A fragmented Europe lost ground to the United States of America because the latter preferred to unite its peoples after the Civil War. To regain its position in the world, unity was the only way. Voila! EU is born!

          Oops! but they broke Africa into small states. They are the big brother so seeing as uniting in the first world has worked so well why not take the lesson to Africa together with the AIDs vaccines, democracy and jobs that can be done at the cost per day what an American or European is paid a half-hour.

          However, if, heaven forbid, Africa should unite, they have a substantial percentage of the world's wealth. They will no longer be dependent on the World Bank, IMF and all the other letters in the alphabet. You have to maintain some control over these third world countries. They will not listen to any reason, case of Korea (north or south, what does it matter) and its Nukes program is a case in point. One minute they are 3rd world then they make some progress and they think they equal partners.

          After the American Civil War there were scandalous tales of masters marrying their former slaves.
          Europe colonized South Africa in one of Africa's most bitter and longest-suffering bondages. She freed herself and now the master wants to take her as a bride and bestow upon her status equal to his own? I am having a difficult time swallowing that one and my sore throat ended with the flu season.

          If EU forms a partnership with the Republic of South Africa (which has more than all the wealth of the rest of Africa combined and then mulitplied by 3) the dark continent does not even have a tunnel let alone the dream of having a light at the end of it...ever!

          You know, Nelson Mandela had no hope of ever being released from Robben Island until probably some bright student of political science had a kodak moment and realized that if Mandela died in prison he would beome a matyr and larger than life...forever.

          Only diamonds are forever...and South Arica has the largest reserves in the world.

          Amandla! Amandla! (power to the people!)

        • name<="c114152405700816864" id="c114152405700816864">

          At 9:00 PM, Blogger zinzi said…

          I read your blog late last night, could not resist making a comment, went to sleep and had a nightmare that the Republic of South Africa was being courted by the EU for a partnership. I woke up and re-read your blog and the link. To my utter disbelief I realized that it is indeed a fact not an illusion, a nightmare or a figment of some imagination. I re-read it again and below is my reaction:

          Partnership, my foot!
          Who in South Africa is the EU partnering with? Is it with the people of the republic or the De Beers, De Who and De So & So?
          RSA makes a bountiful bride, of course she does. In Africa we still believe in bride price but it is the bride groom who pays it but given that RSA was greatly influenced by India (positively, by Mahatma Ghandi) we could reverse it and do it as the Indians do and have the bride bring the gold.The diamonds would be more than acceptable too.

          The only problem here is that she comes as a package. Remember when you marry the girl (still talking of Africa) you marry the village. Suddenly the extended family is yours and it can stretch from the Cape of Good Hope to the land beyond those hills with its unknown traditions. It includes the ulcers in Soweto and the crime-ridden streets of Jo'burg. While her present is rosy it is part of her yesterdays that are filled by nightmares and the long prison terms of Nelson Mandela and other leaders, the gripping fear by the remnants of the "Olde Rule" that Mandela might have named his young, dynamic wife, Winnie as his Vice President and while he was not likely to rule for long, she had too many years ahead of her and therefore it was necessary to point out her vices which were so horrific her removal was paramount in the interest of national security. Sadly RSA's past includes the Steve Biko debacle that they hope time will dim from our memories yet I feel the anguish of the people as if it was only yesterday.

          It is a new day in the Republic of South Africa. Let bygones be bygones, the EU would have us believe. "Put your hand in my hand and let us take the world by storm".

          The only problem, I fear it is RSA, who is being taken. They would not speak up against apartheid, at least not loudly. It was politically incorrect. They watched us suffer and were quiet because we were a sovereign state. I am not sure but International Law may have evolved since then (otherwise why is the US in Iraq?)

          Well, now I will speak. It is traditionally impolite for EU to court RSA when she is already involved with the AU (African Union). Africa may be notorious for polygamous liaisons but this one leaves a bad taste...

          Oh, Cry the Beloved Country, (Alan Patton), so recently shunned by one and all and now the suitors come from the left and the right.

          Be proud South Africa, be proud for you have been paid for in blood, gold, diamonds and tears!

        • name<="c114156154783461175" id="c114156154783461175">

          At 7:25 AM, Blogger Fikirte said…


          Sorry I gave you a nightmare…, my loyal reader. Still I think that West-Afro courtship/marriage/flirting… is inevitable and necessary in this global day and age. Necessary particularly for trade relations on which my post is focusing. Don’t get me wrong, the townships are not going to miraculously disappear and all the bountiful resources are going to be equally shared by all South Africans. Even the greatest country in the world has not mastered that. The fact of the matter is that, Africa desperately needs to have access to Western markets, and we can’t achieve that without a partnership with the West.

          While I understand your fear of the West breaking SA’s heart AGAIN, its tactics to try and make us forget SA’s dreadful past, and not wanting the baggage that comes with marrying SA…, I think your legitimate concerns are to do with good governance rather than West-Afro relationship. South Africans have paid dearly to get here, and they are now in the position to select partners and make sure the partner accepts the baggage too. The ball is really in their court. I don’t think SA will gain a whole lot by staying single. She’s matured, she’s constantly dusting herself off, she is in control now and it’s up to her to demand equal partnership and make sure that her neglected/illegitimate/abused children are also accepted in the relationship. Think of a single mom with kids who’s looking for a relationship. Whether the guy wants to also inherit her kids or not, it’s up to the woman to decide (or not) what’s best for the children. So, Mama S. Africa has to choose wise.

          Fortunately, South Africans are truly moving on. They don’t even need an international court to help them settle old issues. How genius and civilized was the idea of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission? If only Ethiopia did the same to heal the ethnic wounds…! The 2003 victory of S. African herders winning back their diamond-rich land is another case in point ( These are small steps which are hugely significant for S. Africans, and a huge lesson for the rest of Africa and all the world’s underdogs (and of course a concern for bling bling lovers elsewhere).

          It is in SA’s best interest to keep on dealing with old issues to really move on. And they are, and I wish the rest of Africa is watching and taking notes, and my hat off to SA.

          A light footnote so that you won’t get more nightmares – Clinton’s foundation is advertising to recruit 25 interns who are needed for administrative and “other services”…. OK, if that’s not moving on I don’t know what is.

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