South Africa’s Pravin Gordhan: Grace Under Pressure

WASHINGTON: South Africa’s finance minister Pravin Gordhan is at the center of a political storm.  Four months ago he was brought back to head the finance ministry when his successor was abruptly fired by president Jacob Zuma and replaced with a little known lawmaker. That move shook investor confidence and sent the currency tumbling.  Four days later business leaders and senior ruling party leaders forced … Continue reading South Africa’s Pravin Gordhan: Grace Under Pressure

Remembering Mozambique Independence

My, how the world has changed.  Mozambique independence in 1975 was a kind of high water mark of communism. Fresh from victory in Portugal’s 1974 military coup and its triumph in Vietnam, ‘world revolution’ arrived in southern Africa on June 25, 1975 with the People’s Republic of Mozambique. In the days before the Portuguese handover, pundits in what was still Lourenco Marques wondered whether the … Continue reading Remembering Mozambique Independence

South Africa’s Nuclear Agreement with Russia Raises Questions

WASHINGTON: On the sidelines of a conference in Vienna on September 22d, South Africa signed an agreement for Russian nuclear power plants to be built in the country. The deal could be worth $50billion. Signing ceremony in Vienna: South African Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Rosatom CEO Sergei Kirienko (photo: Rosatom) Assuming the deal goes forward, they would be the first Russian nuclear reactors in … Continue reading South Africa’s Nuclear Agreement with Russia Raises Questions

The May 7th Vote in the New South Africa

To understand the new South Africa, look no further than the red-robed female jurist presiding at the televised trial of blade runner Oscar Pistorius. “My lady,” as she is addressed in court, is Thokozile Masipa, a 67-year-old lawyer from Soweto. In 1998 she became only the second black woman appointed to a South African high court. Judge Thokozile Masipa (photo: SABC)  Here is a judge … Continue reading The May 7th Vote in the New South Africa

Remembering Portugal’s Revolution That Changed Africa

Forty years ago a brave band of junior officers overthrew Portugal’s dictatorship. On April 25th, 1974 thousands poured into Lisbon’s plazas in celebration. Flower sellers did a brisk trade in red carnations that poked from the barrels of soldiers’ rifles. Marcelo Caetano, the despot who headed the fascist government in power since 1932, fled to Brazil. The young captains behind the coup had seen for … Continue reading Remembering Portugal’s Revolution That Changed Africa

Up Against the Wind in Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA The 65-mile Argus bicycle tour has been an annual fixture in Cape Town since 1978. A charity event run in part by the local Rotary Club, the Argus has evolved into the world’s biggest timed bicycle race. This year’s event on March 9th drew 35,000 cyclists, 90% of whom were South African. This year’s winners completed the scenic circuit winding around … Continue reading Up Against the Wind in Cape Town