Africa News blog
African business, politics and lifestyle
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
The year 1964 was a highly significant one in the fight against Apartheid: Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island and FIFA suspended South Africa from football because of the legalised racist policies of its Government.
If anyone had suggested then that one day FIFA's Executive Committee would meet on the outcrop off the coast of Cape Town on the eve of the draw for South Africa's World Cup, they would have been derided as a fantasist.
But that is exactly what happened on Thursday. FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the 24 most important men in world soccer, plus around 250 members of the media and other helpers, spent a day on the island where Mandela, and current South African President Jacob Zuma were incarcerated for years of their lives.
Thousands of opponents of the Apartheid regime were imprisoned on the island, but for FIFA, and for the world at large, Robben Island is not just a sombre place with a dreadful past, but it is also a symbol of hope.
Activists often say that the world is not paying enough attention to Sudan’s Darfur crisis. But could the opposite be true — that Darfur is actually getting too much attention, from too many organisations, all at the same time?
A rough count shows at least 10 international and local initiatives searching for a solution to the region’s festering conflict. Many of them are at least nominally coordinated by the United Nation and the African Union. But with so many parallel programmes in play, the opportunities for duplication, competition and confusion are legion.
It’s one of the biggest ironies in South African politics — the most loyal ANC voters are often those the party appears to have let down most bitterly.
For millions of poor, mostly black South Africans, life has barely changed since the African National Congress defeated apartheid under Nelson Mandela in 1994.
South Africa votes on 22 April with not only its globally admired efforts to build democracy in tatters, but against the backdrop of many other promising attempts to build viable democracies across Africa now backsliding.