Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Does Zuma’s polygamy matter?


SAFRICA-ZUMA/During the run-up to South Africa’s election last year, there were plenty of jibes about which of Jacob Zuma’s wives would become first lady once he was president.

But Zuma’s local critics largely kept silent this week as he married for the fifth time, taking his third current wife. While outside the country, his polygamy was very much still a talking point, in South Africa the wedding was treated more as being a colourful society event than being controversial.

His new wife was not that new – she is already the mother of three of Zuma’s 19 children and already attends official functions – but the president is also engaged to another woman and there is no indication that will be the last wife.

In the past, critics suggested Zuma, 68, was portraying the wrong image through multiple marriages. Local AIDS activists had said that having several partners sent a poor message in a country with the world’s highest HIV caseload. Some South Africans had argued that polygamy did not fit well with a modern society. Some questioned how he could keep such a large household on a state salary.

Africa’s year


SOCCER-WORLDAll too often the Year of This or the Year of That fails to live up to the expectations of whatever we’re supposed to be highlighting or celebrating.

There is no doubt that 2010 is going to be a big year for Africa.

The question is whether in a year’s time we’ll be looking back and saying it was big in the right ways.

Support slumps for rival to South Africa’s ANC


SAFRICA-ELECTION/CELEBRATIONIt would be hard for the leaders of South Africa’s COPE party to put a positive spin on its latest poll rating of just over 2 percent. If the breakaway group from the African National Congress gave the ANC a bit of a jolt before elections in April, the ruling party doesn’t seem to have much to worry about from that quarter now.

In terms of electoral success, it hasn’t been a good year for parties trying to challenge the former liberation movements that run most of southern Africa.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Back on Robben Island — the men who changed the game

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.

Out of Africa — and into China


At a meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh this month, China promised to double the aid it gives to Africa and even forgive the debt of some of the continent’s poorest countries.

We’ve known for some time that Chinese are migrating to Africa to exploit business opportunities. But it’s perhaps less known that growing numbers of Africans are also moving to China to live and work.

African clues to dinosaur evolution


A huge dinosaur discovered in South Africa is a previously unknown species that sheds light on the evolution of the largest creatures ever to walk the earth, a scientist said on Wednesday.

Adam Yates, a palaeontologist at Johannesburg’s Wits University, said the seven-metre-long Aardonyx Celestae occupied a “very significant position in the family tree of dinosaurs”.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

UPDATE: Should South Africa have gone local?

(Updates after Parreira appointed)

Joel Santana arrived for what he thought was a routine review of his work with his South African Football Association bosses on Monday and within hours was packing his bags for a return to Brazil, ending his tenure as the 15th coach employed by South Africa in the last 17 years.

The run of poor results in recent internationals plus last year's early elimination from the African Nations Cup qualifiers, had left Bafana Bafana in deep crisis, a team without any confidence or direction and running out of time before hosting the 2010 World Cup finals.

from Global Investing:

Africa’s property laws (or lack of)

Africa's emerging commercial real estate markets may look tempting from the outside, but will remain the preserve of those with the highest appetite for risk. A vendor carries newspapers for sale along the streets of Uganda's capital Kampala September 12, 2009.  REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Even the CEO of Growthpoint, South Africa's largest listed property firm, feels the continent (excluding South Africa) is not for the faint-hearted.

What is COSATU fighting for?


South Africa’s largest trade union federation was quick to break into stirring songs of class struggle during its recent congress and COSATU members showed an impressive ability to sign along in unison.

But the question of what it is fighting for these days and its role in the ruling tripartite alliance with the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party has never been under such great scrutiny as it has since President Jacob Zuma took office in May.

Nigeria’s image problem


For anyone who has seen the hit film District 9, it’s no surprise a Nigerian minister would be upset by it.

The science fiction film, set in South Africa, is an allegory on segregation and xenophobia, with alien life forms cooped up in a township of the type that grew up under apartheid and victimised and despised by humans of all descriptions.