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While in South Africa, there was a meeting of the World Economic Forum presided over by Presidnt Mbeki.

This was another attempt to sell the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). Only 15 African

Presidents turned up. Jocquaim Chissano, the President of Mozambique and next Chairman of the African Union, was

there. He said, "There is no alternative to NEPAD." Chissano is one African President who rejected Nkrumah's advice



Reporting South Africa

By Lester Lewis


Arriving is South Africa, my first visit is to the Hector Peter Museum. The Young Warrior had died on the battlefield for African culture during the Soweto Uprising in 1976. Then, Black school students in South Africa refused to be educated in Afrikaans, the language of the White colonialist settler apartheid regime.

At the museum, I meet Antoinette Sithole. She is the young girl in the picture with Mpuyisa Makubu, carrying the lifeless body of Hector Peterson. That picture shocked the world and the Soweto Uprising was really the beginning of the end of  apartheid in South Africa. One would have thought that the new ANC rulers would have given Hector's mother generous compensation. But, no, she is a hawker at the museum bearing the name of her martyred son.

The uprising organised by the Pan Africanist Congress has now been hijacked by the ANC. June16, the 27th anniversary, is a public holiday celebrating the Soweto Uprising, but it is now devoid of any political content. The Government plans an event in a stadium in Soweto but ANC youths are publicly critical, calling for a boycott of the event. The accusation against the ANC rulers is that they are promoting drinking and dancing, and hiring artistes who are largely non-political. Even white-owned businesses are getting in on the act of exploiting June 16 and Hector Peterson's name for financial gain.

From the Hector Peterson Museum, I walk to the home of Urbania Mothopeng, the octogenarian widow of Zephaniah Museum. He was sentenced to Roben Island for organising the uprising. Urbania Mothopeng is old but fighting strong. She talks of writing poetry and of her other writings, which are in the custody of her children.

She is collaborating with Ali Hlongwane, the chief curator of the Hector Peterson Museum who is writing a biography of her husband.

Zephaniah Mothopeng, popularly known as Uncle Zeph, was arrested in 1963. He  was banished from Soweto to which he returned in 1975. He was arrested in 1978 as part of the Bethel trial and sentenced to two concurrent jail terms on Roben Island. He had been detained with Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe, the legendary founder of the PAC, after the anti-pass law campaign of 1960. In all, he served three terms of imprisonment.

Commenting on his three prison sentences, Uncle Zeph said that he went to  prison with his contemporaries, he went back with his children, and he went back in 1979 with his grandchildren when he was 74 years old. Then, he was sentenced for ferrying arms to the Azania Peoples Liberation Army, the military wing of the PAC; for recruiting people to go abroad for military training; and for predicting and organising the Soweto Uprising.

For Ali Hlongwane, a PAC activist, "the ANC is treating June 16 like a picnic where people come together to sing and dance. That negates the whole idea of memory as a weapon of struggle. We should remember June 16 so that it can not be repeated, and take stock of the unfinished business of the liberation struggle."

Soweto is a sprawling township. Driving around, one can see that the ANC rulers have failed to deliver any benefits after their take-over from the apartheid rulers. Under the slogan "A Better Life for All," they promised to build one million houses. So far, they have failed to meet this target.

Houses built for Africans during the apartheid regime were called matchboxes. But they are twice the size of those built under the ANC government. The Zulu word Vezunyawo is used to describe these houses. It means that when you lay down to sleep, your leg protrudes outside the house.

Around Soweto, people are building shacks wherever there is open space. There is a pressing need for proper housing for the poor and the failure of the ANC to meet this basic need is an indictment of the ANC's failure. Not only that, it has also failed miserably in its economic development program.

Blacks in South Africa have become poorer under ANC rule while Whites have become richer. The government implemented a poverty-causing IMF-World Bank Structural Adjustment Program, selling off state assets mainly to foreign private companies. This led to large-scale unemployment and poor people in the townships having their electricity supply and water supply cut off. Protesters claim that this is a denial of their basic human rights to electricity and water.

For Mosebjane Malatsi, a PAC member of Johannesburg City Council, "Privatisation of state industries is pandering to free market systems that allow profit maximisation at the expense of jobs. So we have jobless growth. Of the 650,000 new entrants in the Labour Market, only 7 per cent get employment. Of these, 4 per cent are White, 1 per cent Indian and 2 percent Africans, primarily because of training and apprenticeships.

The quality of schools and skills training is skewed in favour of whites. Consequently, 57 per cent of all youths are unemployed in Gauteng province.

Nationally, this is 65 per cent." In a continent where there is massive employment, state industries are efficient at creating jobs and by selling off state industries, the ANC government has increased the pool of jobless.

On Land Reform, Mandela and the ANC did a deal with the Boers, allowing them to keep all the land they had stolen by force from the Africans before 1913. This amounted to 87 per cent of all the land in South Africa. On a visit to Phumalanga province in 2000, I spoke to Glory Mosibudi Mpiti. She told me, "All this land in the north belongs to the Pedi people. The Whites and took our land and we want our land back."

Councillor Malatsi is scathing about Land Reform. He said, "Up to now, Land reform in terms of redistribution is less than 10 per cent of the land that was supposed to be redistributed to people removed from their land by the apartheid from 1913 onwards. Nationally, 40,000 White farmers own 86 per cent of all agricultural land in South Africa. On average, one white farmer has 1,500 hectares compared to 1.2 hectares for an African farmer. That is not sufficient for subsistence living, he still has to work to gain the minimum means of sustenance.

"The economy is 90 per cent owned by Whites with a fraction owned by Indians. Africans and coloured own the rest. The so-called African middle class who are supposed to be empowered by the Black Economic Empowerment Program is 1.6 per cent of the population. The army and the police are still controlled by whites. Transformation is taking place but not so much."

At the upper echelons, the civil service is still controlled by Whites at  the Director General level then there are Africans. There are Whites in the middle and then there are Africans. It is the same in local authority employment. 

I interviewed Councillor Malatsi in a drive from Midrand to Johannesburg. We stopped at a shopping complex in Midrand. These shopping malls as they are called are dotted all over South Africa, including Soweto. Whites own them all. Blacks own none. So President Mbeki's Black Economic Empowerment program is not working. Still, he persists with it. His stated ambition is to create a Black business class. This means that those at the lower end are suffering Since economic policy is geared towards benefiting this Black business class.

Compared to Zimbabwe where President Mugabe has given economic and political power to Africans through the Land Reform Programme, South Africa has an extremely long way to go. Only White owned businesses seem to be prospering.

Photo left: President Mbeki of South Africa

In a blistering critique of Black Economic Empowerment, the President's  younger brother Moeletsi Mbeki told a seminar at a university in Pretoria, "Only a few people are being enriched." He said, "We are taking political leaders and politically-connected people and giving them assets which, in the first instance, they do not know how to manage." He claimed, "The exercise was undermining value to the economy instead of adding something."

According to the younger Mbeki, the current formula for Black Economic Empowerment had been invented by conglomerates to create a buffer to protect. The interests of big business. "The state has now internalised this model created by big conglomerates."

The business owners have done very well under the ANC government. An unnamed official working in the bureaucracy of the African Union said that the ANC had done a deal with the Boers, promising to deliver the whole of the market in Southern Africa to these White-owned business. But most of the businesses in South Africa are British owned. Now, Anglo-South African and Anglo-American owned companies are penetrating the whole of the continent.

It was this promise to deliver the market to White businesses that prompted the South African authorities to collaborate with the Ugandan-Rwanda invasion of The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after President Laurent Kabila had blocked imperialist exploitation of the vast mineral wealth of the DRC. At the time of the initial invasion, then President Nelson Mandela was said to have been waiting on a ship outside the DRC with Professor Wamba dia Wiamba to install him as President of the DRC in place of Lauent Kabila.

During the whole period of the invasion, arms manufactured in South Africa were paid for by Britain and America for the Ugandan and Rwanda armies to fight what was in reality a proxy war on behalf of United States imperialism. But the proxy warriors were defeated by Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe Defence Forces that were called in by Laurent Kabila. The armies of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo assisted them.

Now, under the peace process forced on young President Joseph Kabila, South Africa is supporting war criminals and perpetrators of crimes against humanity to become Vice Presidents to Joseph Kabila. At a Pan African forum held in London on 14 July 2002, the following resolution was passed.

This Pan African Forum "Condemns the SILENT GENOCIDE IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO which has resulted in the death of between 3.5 - 5 million Congolese people; and calls for the authors of the genocide, Yoweri Museveni, Paul Kagami, Jeane Pierre Bemba (Mobutu's son-in-law), Wamba dia Wamba, Emile Ilunga, Adolphe Onosumba, Bizima Kahara, Azarias Rubera, Mbusa Nyamwisi, Thomas Lubunga,  Etienne Tsisekedi, Katebe Katoto and others to be arrested and tried for 'crimes against humanity'. Now, the death toll in the DRC stands at around 5,000,000. The ANC government of South Africa can not evade its responsibility for its part in this genocide in the DRC."

Despite its overwhelming power, the ANC seems desperate to prevent the  political decline that awaits it. It used its majority in Parliament to pass a floor-crossing law that allows Members of Parliament, the Provincial Legislatures, and local Councils to cross over from one party to another. The ANC has been the beneficiary of such floor crossing.

In the process, it almost deciminated Banu Holimisa's United Democratic Movement (UDM). Ten of its 14 Members of Parliament crossed over to the ANC. Centered mostly in the Eastern cape where the ANC organisation seems to be disintegrating under the weight of corruption, the UDM is expected to regain all its members and more in elections due in 2004.

Also expected to make big gains is the Pan Africanist Congress. The PAC's failure to adapt from the politics of armed guerilla warfare to Parliamentary electoral politics cost it dearly. Its newly elected leader, Parliamentarian Dr. Motsoko Pheko referred to the floor-crossing legislation as "political prostitution." The PAC lost one of its three members of Parliament when, encouraged by White liberals, Patricia de Lille set up her own party after first consulting Nelson Mandela.

Predicted parliamentary gains for the PAC is premised on the fact that in local government elections held in 2000, it increased its numbers of elected Councillors by over 600 per cent. Besides that, there is an influx of young people into the ranks of the PAC as disaffection with the ANC escalates.

The fact that the ANC formed an alliance with the National Party of the former apartheid rulers is also bound to further damage their support base at the grassroots level. Then there is their bitter argument with Home Affairs Minister Chief Mangosutho Buthelizi for control of Kwazulu Province. Buthelizi was also deeply critical of the floor-crossing legislation.

The official opposition in Parliament is Tony Leon's Democratic Party which seems to be the main representative of White interests. He is noted for his shrill racist statements attacking President Mugabe and the Land Reform Program in Zimbabwe. Ibbo Mandaza, the publisher of the Zimbabwe Sunday Mirror, is of  the view that the international campaign against Zimbabwe is not really aimed at Zimbabwe, it is aimed at South Africa. It is a pre-emptive strike against much-needed Land Reform in South Africa where the Whites have much more to lose.

Leon recently exposed an oil scandal surrounding President Mbeki. An oil deal he negotiated with Nigeria was meant to benefit the South African economy.  However, not one Rand from this deal entered the South African economy. After promising to investigate the deal, the ANC leaders clamped up and said there would be no investigation.

Surprisingly but perhaps not so surprisingly, Thamie ka Plaatjie, the former General Secretary of the PAC, claimed that there was nothing to investigate.

But his performance at the PAC Congress when he tried to liquidate the PAC leaves some people wondering whether he had done a deal with the ANC. After presenting an award to Mfana Sekaya Gqobose, the 86 years oldest living member of the PAC, Plaatjie and his supporters disrupted the Congress then walked out after it became clear that he did not have a cat in hell's chance of being elected President of the PAC.

Gqobose's life story is interesting. He was born on 7 August 1917 and had been a member of the ANC Youth League. He left the ANC wit Robert Sobukwe who broke from the ANC in 1958 and set up the PAC. He had been arrested and served detentions after 1960. He escaped and went to live in Lesotho.

In 1964, Gqobose was arrested in Lesotho which was then known as Basutoland, then a British colony. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment in 1965 under the Prevention of Violence Abroad Proclamation. He was released from prison in 1967.

He stayed in Lesotho until 1970 when there were general elections. He was arrested by the Basutoland National Party government and detained in Maseuru maximum security prison. He was held under confinement until October 1971. Then, the Lesotho government decided all refugees must leave as they were helping  the opposition Basuto Congress Party.

The first group left in August 1971. He and another person left in November 1971. They were deported to Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. He says, "We were dumped, no one knew us. The police in Kinsasha threatened to send us back to South Africa. They didn't believe we were refugees.

"We told them about the PAC, that the PAC was banned in South Africa, that our leader was Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe. The police then became friendly. They told us that Holden Roberto of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola could help us. Roberto kept us and gave us facilities in a guest house at his own expense. We stayed there for two weeks in 1971. By this time the PAC had established an office in Dar es Salaam.

"The PAC sent tickets to take us to Dar es Salaam. We flew by air. Tanzania was then the home of all Liberation Movements from Rhodesia, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau. Tanzania became our second home. We used to travel from Tanzania to countries all over the world. We had Tanzanian Travel documents. We traveled to Europe, India, China, and Indonesia. We had representatives in these countries.

"We stayed in Dar es Salaam from 1971 until 1992 when the PAC was declared legal. I got back to South Africa in July 1992 after spending 30 years in exile. Now, I live in Williamstown in the Eastern Cape. On returning, I was still PAC, I attended all the conferences.

"I was given a specific task to organise the formation of the PAC archives, to collect all the history of the movement from its founding in 1959 until the present time. This is not an easy task, it needs money, I am doing my best. The PAC created its own archives for posterity at the university of Fort Hare in the Eastern cape."

Gqobose said that he had come to the PAC Congress in Soweto to "give advice on the history of the PAC." Now that he is very old, he is contemplating writing his memoirs. So the two octogenarians, Urbania Mothopeng and Mfana Sekaya Gqobose are still making their contributions to the African Revolution in South Africa.

While in South Africa, there was a meeting of the World Economic Forum presided over by Presidnt Mbeki. This was another attempt to sell the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). Only 15 African Presidents turned up. Jocquaim Chissano, the President of Mozambique and next Chairman of the African Union, was there. He said, "There is no alternative to NEPAD."

Chissano is one African President who rejected Nkrumah's advice against accepting foreign tutelage. I met him at an OXFAM conference in Oxford in the late 1970s. He seems to depend on the international charities which are agents of neo-colonialism and instruments for the recolonisation of Africa, and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for advice on economic development in Mozambique.

Former poor guerilla fighters, he and his Ministers are now exceedingly rich while the overwhelming majority of Mozambicans are extremely poor. In a local Mozambican newspaper, people were asking how come the Ministers are so rich while the people are so poor. Chissano does not understand that NEPAD, the IMF and the World Bank are intent on impoverishing the vast majority of Africans while Africa's vast wealth is exported to Europe and America.

The South African churches have come out against NEPAD. In a statement issued on June 1, they said, "NEPAD contains some problematic elements that have proven to be ineffective in building peaceful, just, and caring societies in Africa. Its economic strategy is discredited by the harsh impact on the poor in African countries that have already adopted similar policies. It pretends to be unaware of the severe negative social impact that rapid privatisation of basic social services has on impoverished communities in Africa. It fails to address the underlying power relations that constrain Africa's development."

The latest news is that South Africa is lobbying for the African Parliament to be based there. Surely, it would be more appropriate to locate this facility in one of the poorer Central African countries. That would give an economic boost to that particular country and lead to other economic and social benefits in the short, medium, and long term.

South Africa is also preparing to host US presidential election-stealer George Bush, who is busy implementing the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Under this PNAC, the US seeks to dominate the world in this the 21st century. Former South African president Nelson Mandela described George Bush as "A President who does not think."

South Africa opposed the US-British invasion, occupation and colonisation of Iraq. The Secretary General of the ANC stated that South Africa will be the next country to be invaded by the USA. Why? All the minerals that are used for building its vast array of military weaponry come from South Africa. It seems odd that the ANC government of South Africa will be hosting the president of an imperialist country that they think is hell bent on invading South Africa.

Comments to

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Heart of Darkness

By Joseph Conrad

Missing words have been restored and the entire novel has been repunctuated in accordance with Conrad’s style. The result is the first published version of Heart of Darkness that allows readers to hear Marlow’s voice as Conrad heard it when he wrote the story. "Backgrounds and Contexts" provides readers with a generous collection of maps and photographs that bring the Belgian Congo to life. Textual materials, topically arranged, address nineteenth-century views of imperialism and racism and include autobiographical writings by Conrad on his life in the Congo.

New to the Fourth Edition is an excerpt from Adam Hochschild’s recent book, King Leopold’s Ghost, as well as writings on race by Hegel, Darwin, and Galton. "Criticism" includes a wealth of new materials, including nine contemporary reviews and assessments of Conrad and Heart of Darkness [Contents] and twelve recent essays by Chinua Achebe, Peter Brooks, Daphne Erdinast-Vulcan, Edward Said, and Paul B. Armstrong, among others. Also new to this edition is a section of writings on the connections between Heart of Darkness and the film Apocalypse Now by Louis K. Greiff, Margot Norris, and Lynda J. Dryden. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

By Adam Hochschild

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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