Gareth Setati
Gareth Setati

The decline and fall of the African Renaissance

The Roman achievement was colossal. The Romans knew it themselves hence their belief in Roma Aeterna, the eternal city. But as everybody knows, Rome was not eternal and “the best-known fact” about Rome, remarked Arthur Ferrill, is that “it declined and fell”.

Edward Gibbon was summing up not just the reign of Emperor Antoninus, or Rome, but of all mankind when he lamented: “The reign of Antoninus is marked by the rare advantage of furnishing very few materials for history, which is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.”

Gibbon is perhaps responsible for the best-known work of modern history. His magnum opus, titled The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, captures with unparalleled erudition the slippery slopes that led to the eventual, if not inevitable, collapse of that once mighty empire. Of particular note are the indictments a historian of his stature makes against the whole of mankind. If history teaches us that until now, human history is characterised by “crime, folly and misfortune” then what sort of questions ought we to ask of our current African circumstances? To what extent can we say this foolhardiness reflects on our leaders? And what has been our complicity in it?

Furthermore, Gibbon’s observations raise deeper questions about how this seemingly “inescapable” state of historical affairs is currently impacting on our attempts at an African Renaissance. Is it plausible that due to these follies we shall be waiting for an absolution in an African Renaissance that would never come? Worse yet, assuming that we finally achieve an African renewal of sorts, can we have the peace of mind that Africa will not eventually collapse in the same historical fashion of Rome and the others? How, then, can we conceive of a renewed Africa that is capable of sidestepping Gibbon’s warnings?

Thomas Sankara was no closer to the truth when he said: “I would like to leave behind me the conviction that if we maintain a certain amount of caution and organisation we deserve victory … you cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen … we must dare to invent the future.”

From this vantage point, the answers to the questions raised in this short inquiry must surely be the province of youth, to whom the future remains to shape. Youth must begin to craft a sustainable future for an African renewal that will last. It becomes a question of values. Not so much the values of our leaders but our very own values, for our values will reflect themselves in the leaders we choose to lead us.

Hitherto, the leadership we have sought salvation from has proven impotent with the mandate we have given them. Admittedly, some things were done well under the circumstances, but it has not been enough. As history shows, theirs has been characterised by vainglorious endeavours of crime and cronyism, epic fumbles and ass-kissing of the status-quo.

Let there be no doubt about whether calls for radical change are necessary or not. They are. In the conclusion to his book titled The Black Man’s Burden, historian Basil Davidson, noted: “The pessimists, on this general view of matters may be said to have overstated their pessimism and to have forgotten that peoples can never for long be confined to the cages of any neat scenario. What has remained common cause to optimists and pessimists alike is that the systems in place have failed, whether neo-colonial capitalist in Africa or Stalinist in Europe, and that the prime badge for their failure, as Ikem said, has lain in the brutal divorce between the rulers and ruled.”

On the issue of change, let it be clear, we speak not of farcical change of the sort of political swaps that characterises modern day African power struggles. This sort of change is typically folly, borders on criminality, and has led to misfortunes. No! Instead what is required is real, meaningful change for the betterment of all who live on this continent and otherwise.

Say, to all youth, you must remain obstinate, steadfast, indefatigable, independent and unapologetic about your demands for social justice. In this you should expect that your mandate will expand to other critical areas such as policy. While on the item of crime and other such nuisances, you must press on for radical policy shifts on this front too. You must not be derailed by counter-forces that will try to persuade you that conditions can only change at current pace.

There are better ideas to resolving these issues. Others suggest a complete rethink of how, as a nation, we conceive of public office vis-à-vis amassable wealth by individuals elected to such an office. Public office is an honour and these values of honour must be upheld in the actions of our leaders. The scope for policy reform must not end with limiting the coercion only of those in leadership; it must also make determinations on remedying the coercive aspects of existing socio-economic policies. This must certainly include re-opening discussions around redress policies. Here others have suggested that the time for the shunning of policy suggestions towards legally enforceable redress mechanisms is long over!

It must be noted that this was not meant to be a treatise on policy per se but more a consciousness-raiser on the veritable mandate handed down to us by history. Whatever the direction our rejuvenated positive values steers us towards, one thing must be clear: we must be blunt and relentless! So come all, stand up and be counted. The time is now.

57 Responses to “The decline and fall of the African Renaissance”

  1. I agree with you here we need a fundamental – not that of swapping of leaders -change that which will be driven by the youth of the country. I support the call that the youth must be in the frontlines in this regard. I think this a brilliant writing, G..

    November 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm
  2. The European Renaissance was a re-introduction of classical Greek thought, art and literature which went hand in hand with the Reformation. It threw off the Middle Ages suppression of the Roman Catholic Church.

    The African Renaissance is an attempt to re-create a mythical Africa which never historically existed and was dreamed up as a fantasy in the Black Diaspora starting in America. It has already failed once as the OAU.

    November 16, 2012 at 7:50 pm
  3. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Gareth, the renaissance in black Africa is live and kicking and not declining. There have been more development in black Africa over the last hundred years then there were over the last three thousandth years. The road might seem long and rugged but, the best is yet to come.

    Speaking of the Roman Empire, this empire lasted over three thousandth years and look what they gave the world. However, the Greeks were the brains of the Roman Empire because without the Greeks the Romans would have been different.

    November 17, 2012 at 12:04 am
  4. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Garath, I used the term black Africa because North Africa has a different history then black Africa. As a matter of facts, North Africa for a long time was ruled by the Romans and later the Arabs.

    November 17, 2012 at 12:10 am
  5. Scenarios on Africa from our recent Strategic Forecast: Aid & Foreign Investment in Management Africa

    Africa enjoys the momentum the emerging powers … The greenhouse effect of a rising and colorful African identity provides Africa with an economic and political environment aglow with possibility.

    Scenario 2: THE AFRICA DESERT
    Africa struggles to position itself appropriately to enjoy the thrust of the emerging powers… The eroding effects of the two extremes of financial downpours and the scorching sun of African poverty see the continent turn to desert.

    November 17, 2012 at 9:25 am
  6. Oldfox #

    Centuries ago, Africa had several powerful and wealthy kingdoms, mostly in West Africa, and at least one in Congo. These were documented by European explorers from around 1500 onwards. In fact, over 2000 years ago, the Phonecians got gold from I think it was Senegal. That these kingdoms had mostly declined by the 19th century is besides the point, the fact is they did exist.

    A few weeks ago, Celebrity Net Worth published their findings of the wealthiest persons of all time. First was emperor Mansa Musa of Mali, with a wealth adjusted for inflation etc. at $400 billion. Second was the Rothschild family at $350 billion. Half of all the salt and gold production in the world around the 1330s, came from Mali.

    November 17, 2012 at 9:33 am
  7. Oldfox #

    As far as I know, the recent concept of the African Renaissance as championed by Thabo Mbeki and other older African leaders, is not what inspires young Africans across the continent. These young Africans, and some older ones like Aliko Dangote, are motivated by factors perhaps not unlike those driving entrepreneurs and business people in China, India, Brazil etc. or white South Africans like Mark Shuttleworth.

    A few days ago, Dropifi from Ghana was voted the world’s best IT startup in 2012, beating some 500 of the world’s top IT startups in the process. It is one of many new companies headed by outstanding African men and women.

    November 17, 2012 at 9:50 am
  8. Oldfox

    Africa does not even have cohesive countries with national identities, let alone any “African” identity. Africa consists of 3000 different tribes, many in 3 different countries.

    It is irrelevant how many tribes were smaller Chiefdoms and how many larger Kingdoms at different periods. There never was one cohesive culture or identity.

    November 17, 2012 at 9:59 am
  9. Oldfox

    South Africa, for example, is supposedly one country but since the ANC took over it has divided the identities even more than they were before from any cohesive national identity. The first thing the Xhosa/Fingo Nostra of the ANC did is start a war against the Zulu IFP in the mid 1980s; and the second thing they did was to bus unemployed Xhosa into the Cape to subjugate the Browns.

    November 17, 2012 at 10:10 am
  10. Oldfox

    And the ANC then compounded the problem by throwing open the borders to all the unemployed and criminals of Africa – as if we did not already have enough unemployment and crime before. Now added to the existing tribal divisions are Swazis, Sotho, Zimbabweans, Mozambiquans, Somalis, Nigerians et al

    November 17, 2012 at 10:17 am
  11. Oldfox

    Open borders have also contributed to the Economic Collapse in Europe – a politically incorrect cause which is therefore never mentioned.

    Unemployed and criminals from the collapsed Soviet States have flooded west, especially to the warmer countries, and overloaded their welfare systems.

    Luckily for Germany they don’t like the Germans – the Soviet States were all taught that Stalin single handedly defeated Hitler.

    November 17, 2012 at 10:47 am
  12. Momma Cyndi #

    To progress, every revolution requires a renaissance. Africa just seems to be continually stuck in the ‘revolution’ phase.

    France didn’t become utopia the day after they lopped Marie’s head off and western Europe didn’t suddenly become a fun place to live the day after the Romans packed their bags and went home. Freedom is a beautiful but completely useless commodity. It is what you DO with that freedom that makes the world change. That is why I so strongly feel that the writings of Steve Biko should be compulsory reading at every school. Until our continent stops playing according to rules that don’t suit it and starts to (pardon the twist) ‘write what it likes’ so that our OWN ideas can be questioned and examined for a viable solution, we are destined to be stuck in our ‘revolution’ for eternity.

    November 17, 2012 at 10:51 am
  13. Momma Cyndi

    Steve Biko and all the Black Consciousness and Pan Africanist romantics were just copying the “One Europe” idea for a “One Africa”. Neither has worked. If we don’t control both our borders and our currency we will be in the same mess as Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece.

    November 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm
  14. Momma Cyndi

    The reason that Anti Immigration Political Parties are growing in Europe is the same reason that Xenophobia is growing here. No country can afford to allow itself to be swamped with refugees, unemployed and criminals.

    You note that the USA, China and Australia are not as dumb as to lose control over either their borders or their currencies. Even Britain kept its currency and is likely to go to a referendum about whether to pull out of the EU or not.

    November 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm
  15. beachcomber #

    … “we must be blunt and relentless! So come all, stand up and be counted. The time is now.”

    By this I take it that you and the various youth leagues will throw out the current ANC hierarchy at the next general election?

    Bravo! Cicero would have been proud of you!

    November 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm
  16. Momma Cyndi #

    Lyndall Beddy

    To the best of my recollection, Biko never suggested that we have no borders or that tribes lose their individual identities.

    The Biko philosophy that I am talking about is the main issue of being African and not trying to be a second class, hongfong, European. Even the white people of Africa understand that we are not European and we will never be European. We simply don’t think the same way that they do (possibly because language affects the way we think?). Just like the Chinese or the Inuits have a much different way of dealing with life, maybe we need to find OUR individual way of dealing with issues too.

    November 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm
  17. Momma Cyndi

    We White South African had no idea that this false history of “One Africa” had been created in the Black Diaspora. We thought the African States had collapsed post Independence because of Communism, and Black Rule was therefore safe after the Berlin Wall came down.

    November 17, 2012 at 6:37 pm
  18. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Beddy, Steve Biko was copying DuBois ideas about Africa in his book ” Soul of the black folks”.

    You are right about the renaissance was a rebirth of culture inspired by the ancient Greeks. However, the only country in Africa where the arts and science flourished was in Egypt and it was cut off from Africa.

    The financial problems were caused by the absent of one central banking system in the EU. In the US there is one central banking system to control the money supply.

    The US has a lot of immigrants from all over the world and most of them are from
    Latin America. If the educated Africans would leave SA the country would come to a stand still. How come the black South Africans aren’t attacking the Chinese in SA? The blacks in SA are attacking other blacks in SA because they have an inferiority complex against blacks. You will never see blacks in the US attack other blacks from Africa when they move into their communities.

    November 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm
  19. Momma Cyndi

    The White Settlers urged “Education before Liberation or you will bring back the tribal wars”.The ANC countered with “Liberation before Education” – the results of which can now be seen on all the TV screens of the world..

    November 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm
  20. Sterling

    Du Bois was a Black American ex-slave who knew nothing about Africa and whose ideas were all fantasies.

    There was one consistence country with an ancient Black culture in Africa – Ethiopia from where came the Queen of Sheba and whose type of Christianity is very Judaic and based on the early Christian missionaries of the very first century. Ethiopia was the only corridor between Black Sub Saharan Africa and Brown Mediterranean Africa.

    November 18, 2012 at 10:56 am
  21. DNA does not tell the real story of genetics – not if Oprah Winfrey was told she had Zulu Blood by the USA DNA experts, since that is a historical and geographic impossibility. What do you want to bet that they tell all the Blacks of the Diaspora that they have Zulu blood?

    The Zulus migrated out of the Congo Niger Delta in the 16th century under King Shaka’s grandfather, in my opinion to escape the Arab Slave Traders. They did not become a nation until King Shaka, who took no slaves but instructed that all the other tribes be killed so their land could be used for Zulu cattle (mainly the King’s). The refugees from that killing spree became the Fingo (like Mbeki and Tutu).

    The Matabele King, who was originally a Zulu General of Shaka’s did the same thing in the Free State/ Transvaal. The refugees of that killing spree were turned into the Basuto nation under Moshesh. Which is Why the white Voortrekkers told the truth – that they trekked into empty land.

    There were no harbours on the Zululand coast of the East Coast of South Africa; and no slave ships were ever allowed to take slaves from South Africa, where one of the 3 anti slavery fleet of the British Navy was which sent out ships to catch the American and Brazilian slavers.

    There was also a small fleet on the West Coast of Africa, and a bigger one on the East Coast in Zanzibar (in which 17,000 members of the British Navy died catching Arab Slavers).

    November 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm
  22. Sterling

    The American Triangular Slave Trade was by White AMERICAN Slavers – American East Coast Slavers from Africa to the West Indies (including Cuba) in return for spices and sugar.

    November 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm
  23. Momma Cyndi #

    Lyndall Beddy

    The concept of ‘one united Africa’ is a new fantasy and I have no idea where it came from. Tribal areas have always been in existence in Africa (traditional tales tell us that) and crossing those ‘kingdom’ lines was not a healthy option. A large part of the problems that Africa has is due to the competition between ethnic groups and the discrepancy between tribal lines and country borders. The only people who have been successful in overcoming those problems are the Mau-Mau. That is primarily because they do their own thing and completely ignore governments.

    November 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm
  24. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Beddy, we are on the same page but DuBois was not a slave because he was born in the state of Mass. that didn’t allow slavery.

    The mystery of history is how did Ethiopia survive in a sea of Muslim and has the largest population in that region? You are right this country has a form of writing that goes back over three thousandth years.

    November 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm
  25. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Beddy, almost every country have created myth around their history the Greeks Germany,France and England. For a long time the Japanese told their people that there was wind that protected their country from attacks. The English are always talking about the battle of Waterloo but, they never mention the role the Prussian Army played in this battle. The Holiday that most Americans will be celebrating next week to give thanks. However, nothing is mention about the Native Americans that feed them to keep them from starving.

    November 19, 2012 at 9:06 am
  26. Robert #

    Africa is a “continent” not a single country or nation which is evidently without common history and culture, never mind a mass of people who can and quite frankly are willing to be corralled as an homogenous mass under this much vaunted renaissance.

    The ongoing blustering and obfuscation of the “African Union” speaks for itself

    We are struggling to sort and align the disparate views, needs and aspirations in our own rainbow nation, so what is the goal and benefits we expect and can in real and practical terms mico-manage for the benefit of the millions on the ground on this vast land mass?.

    We say with pride we are South Africans – but “Africans” in the context of the name given to a continent, certainly doesn’t fire anyone up!

    This is, I believe, a vain glorious attempt at cohesion of the inhabitants of the second largest continent on earth without any real purpose and goal in mind, other than to say “we are Africa” – so what, and where does it take us in the so called modern world?

    November 19, 2012 at 9:37 am
  27. Momma Cyndi

    Steve Biko was a disciple of Robert Sobukwe who was definately a follower of the Mythical “One Africa” with no borders of the Black Diaspora, and most definately said that Whites and Indians should be thrown out of Africa.


    The problem in the EU is not one banking system but the blind stupidity of basing their currency on the debased American dollar, and not the German Marx or Gold.

    And educated Africans have been leaving Africa as soon as they are educated at the rate of 60,000 graduates a year; and were even doing that before Independence.The reason that the South African White Afrikaner trained up professionals during apartheid was that they would go back to their Homelands and developed them – but they all buzzed off into exile, and came back as the ANC elite decades latter,

    Blacks in America have no tribal identities, so of course one tribe does not attack another.

    November 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm
  28. Sterling

    Why are the ANC sending over 1000 children to learn to be Herbalists in Cuba?
    Because f they train them to be doctors or nurses or social workers in SA as soon as they are trained they leave Africa.

    Cuban “medicine” has been out of touch for half a century, and was decades behind the times then already.

    November 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm
  29. Tofolux #

    @Gareth, this piece is quite confusing. Confusing in the sense that one is at a loss as to what point/s you are trying to make. I think that we must stop putting the western concept of democracy into a ”washing-machine” and recycle and respin this overrated concept and try and make it fit for our purpose. Sometimes, the greatest lesson in life, is that one-size-does-not-fit-all. Let me unpack. The Western democracy is failing, it has failed and it will fail. But because we were so drunk on trying to negotiation a settlement, we clearly forgot that we as blacks in general and african in particular are from the african continent and not from europe or the west. Our african renaissance should be rewriting the concept of democracy and africanise it. We forget that we are a continent with specific cultures, traditions and customs and we forget that there is no hegemony with different cultures. Not only do we have cultures, we have a diverse nation. Let me illustrate this democracy. Notwithstanding common courtesy, certain traditions and cultures dictates that you announce any impending visit on my house privately, and only do so when there is agreement. Also, in some of our cultures painting exposing the elders private parts are taboo let alone drawing pictures of any persons engaging in gang rape. In some quarters these things are democratic. But democracy for whom? Is this democracy designed for 80% of this population or is it designed for minority interests?

    November 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm
  30. Robert

    Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma do not identify as South Africans but as Africans. Mandela also has a Xhosa identity, and Zuma a Zulu identity, but Mbeki, as a detribalised Fingo, only identifies as African.

    Mbeki’s speech was “I am an African” not “I am a South African”

    November 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm
  31. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Beddy, Mbeki has lived in England for a long time and became cultured debased and this is why he says I am an African. While Mbeki was in England, he was exposed to the work of Richard Wright “Native Son” and of course Du Bois “Souls of the black folks” and many other progressive thinkers in the diaspora.

    November 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm
  32. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Beddy, I have been writing about the Cuban medical myth for a long time and I am glad one person is listening. The doctors trained in SA could work in the US but Cuban doctors aren’t properly trained to be doctors in the US.

    November 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm
  33. The Creator #

    The “African Renaissance” as envisaged by Mbeki and others was an Africa which would develop through patriotic and effective governments. This was why the South African government so consistently promoted the idea of stable government (to counter the Western policy of destabilising governments in order to install their puppets) but also promoted concepts like NEPAD (which in its most positive form amounted to Africans trying to promote democracy and accountable government across the continent).

    In other words, this article is based on the misunderstanding that the “African Renaissance” was not a hands-on operation, and the idea that it should be supplanted by something which focuses on good governance. The grim fact is that the “African Renaissance” fell not because it was a bad idea, but because the West turned out to have enough power to prevent it from ever happening. (Of course, when I say “the West”, we must also remember that most indigenous elites are part of “the West”, at least ideologically.)

    November 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm
  34. Mr. Direct #

    Oh my, here we go again, “The Creator” and “Tofolux” spouting the idea that the big bad westerners have messed up thie little piece of Africa.

    The BRIC countries have become great indicators of growth because of stable government, and low cost labour, Investment is a long term strategy that benefits the country and the Investor. South Africa, with the talk about nationalisation, and the poor reputation on corruption and crime, undermines its membership in this group with short sighted view on governmental self enrichment.

    The rest of Sub Saharan Africa is lagging behind the BRIC countries because there is not enough skilled labour, and no benefit to foreign investors. The local African economy does not produce sufficient tax funds to grow the skill level. This perpetual cycle causes the countries to fall further behind.

    Until African education and industry specialisation takes place, it cannot be taken seriously on the world stage.

    If all African’s want is to sit around their houses, frowing thier own veggies, and hunting wild animals, and dreaming about the stars, then they are generally on the right track…

    November 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm
  35. Tofolux #

    Dear Mr Direct, if you are going to contest my ideas, then at least have the decency to throw facts. Firstly, Brics have very brave leaders eg Lula Da Silva. If you do not know Lula, then let me give you a general insight. Brazil economic conditions, poverty, education, racism, elitism, corruption was one of the world worst. Lula, decided that if he was going to have a turnaround and his most significant focus would be poverty. What he did is now regarded across the world as “the Lula moment”.Every country in Brics except for SA abandoned capitalist dogma and appeasement eg commodity upswing and investment. I cannot understand how you can make a blanket generalisation that “”sub Saharan countries are lagging behind”. I mean what are you saying about Botswana as an eg? I gather that you do not understand the nature or conditions of BricSa but to insult all Africans and accuse them of laziness (now thats blatantly racist) but also to expose your ignorance and declare that we are all stupid indicates that you think that SA is the only country on the African continent. If that narrow mindset forgets that the Egyptian civilisation and mythology is one of the oldest on our planet then I am afraid that the indoctrination of apartheid had more far-reaching impact on the dompkoffness of some. To assist you can I ask, what do you understand by the word ”renaissance”?

    November 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm
  36. Momma Cyndi #

    The Creator

    I partly agree with that. The cold war, however, is over. That particularly horrific chess match doesn’t really affect us anymore. Those to the far north – possibly. Us in the deep south – not so lots. These days, the far east is more likely to be the destabilising power.

    The African Renascence didn’t work because there was nothing to put into the vacuum. We don’t want colonialism, we don’t want post-colonialism, we don’t want pure capitalism, we don’t want pure communism ….. the problem is that we don’t know what we DO want.

    November 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm
  37. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Tofolux, you should go to your library and check out a book on Brazilian History. The man who is given credit for modernizing Brazil is name Vargas and not Lula. Vargas was the dictator of Brazil from 1930 through 1945 and he was elected the president in 1950. In 1954 it has been alleged that he killed himself while in office. However, there are those in Brazil still think he was murdered by the Brazilian military.

    Under Vargas the economy grew and he built large industrial complex and open the country to foreign investment. These large industrial centers drew million of people from the country side to the cities. When Vargas left office in 1945, Brazil was becoming a modern industrial state. In 1950, he ran for president and was elected president and continued the modernization of Brazil. Later, After the military took over the government and ran the country.

    There are those think that the modernization of Brazil was fine but, the development was unbalanced because of the lack of social reforms. When the civilians took over the government in the early nineties, the civilian started reforming the economy by stabilizing the Brazilian currency. When Lula was elected president Brazil had a vast agriculture sector and industrial sector. Lula was able to continue the social reforms in Brazil because the leaders before him had left something for him to work with that he didn’t build.

    November 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm
  38. Tofolux #

    @Sterling you remind me of opposition politics in this country. Argue or counter-arguing just for the sake of argue. Lula, is recognised throughout the world, for his moment in Brazil’s history. He has not only been favourably judged historically for his contribution to Brazil and humanity but the effect of his contribution is felt throughout the South/North regions. He has shown that he is indeed a servant to his country and that he has significantly changed the lives of many. He therefore has got nothing to prove to you or any other insignificant uncontributing person.

    November 21, 2012 at 11:04 am
  39. michael #

    And locally we have a zuma moment and the trajectory for SA is……….

    November 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm
  40. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Tofolux, in Brazil, Vargas is known as the father of modern Brazil and not Lula. When Lula became president of Brazil all of those big industrial complexes were in Brazil. Brazil agriculture production is one of the largest in the world and this was there before Lula became president. It was Cardoso that was the president that reformed the Brazilian currency that brought an end to inflation in that country. When Lula became president, he had something to work with because of what the people before him had done. The food program that one sees in Brazil wasn’t started by Lula but, it was expanded by Lula. As a matter of facts, nobody in Brazil should be hungry with the mountains of food this country produces.

    Moreover, Lula’s party never won a majority in congress and he had to work with a coalition to get his bills passed. Lula never brought a lot of blacks in his cabinet even though they make up half of the population. Lula was forced to do a lot of things because of the newly formed black civil right groups were pressuring him to do so. Gill was the only black appointed by Lula to his cabinet and he was the minister of culture. He appointed a black to the Supreme court and he is now the president of the Supreme Court. In the State of Bahia, this state is 80% black and there were no blacks in the government of this state.

    November 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm
  41. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Tofolux, Lula was known to talk left and walk right while he was in office. For an example, Lula got Congress to pass laws to reform the pension system and he sold off most of the state run industries. He open the doors for the US oil companies to help develop the offshore oil fields in Brazil. Lula open the door for close trade ties with the US and he went around the world bashing the US. Lula went to Africa talking about the imperialists, when he never mention that Brazil has taken territory from almost every country in South America. Almost all of the people in Lula’s government were trained in the US at some of the best universities in the world.

    COSATU is talking about Lula’s moments, however, they should send people to
    Brazil and look at what’s going on in Brazil. The government in Brazil is setup on the order of the US and all of the officials are elected in this country.

    The M&G is a good paper but, this paper should sent reporters overseas to report on activities in these countries. Brazil isn’t a left wing paradise like many people think in SA.

    November 21, 2012 at 8:41 pm
  42. michael #

    Sterling, good context

    November 22, 2012 at 10:54 am
  43. Tofolux #

    @Sterling/Beddy, yip in your mind the cow did indeed jump over the moon.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm
  44. Mr. Direct #


    I referred to “Africans” as people of Continent Africa (including those pesky colonialists that did not leave), which is not a statement of colour, also “sitting around” is used in context of ambition, not lazyness, but I guess a life afflicted by apartheid has caused you to believe that every statement is a racist statement. I will try be more specific next post.

    My understanding of the term “african renaissance” was a notion where Africa would transform in all aspects of life into . I use the word “something” here because I am afraid to offend, as all of my previous attempts were too strongly linked to western values.

    I must confess, I did not have any further information, so decided to look this up in the web. Apart from a vague wiki page, there is not much else other than Mbeki’s original speech and institute. I cannot find a web page for the “African Renaissance Institute” that was created in Botswana.

    If you have a link for this institute, I would really appreciate that you post it for me to feed my curiousity.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm
  45. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Tofolux, Lula ran for president with a promise of land reforms. However, he never did anything about the vast estates in Brazil owned by the growers in Brazil. The landless people in Brazil are still landless in Brazil and many of them have moved into the favelas in the cities.

    The problem with you, every times the ANC comes out with anything, you tow their line. About two years ago it was China the future of the world and now the ANC has gone sour on China and the focus is now on Brazil. The ANC and COSATU should send delegates to Brazil to study their system to see what Brazil is doing right that they may copy. The Blacks in Brazil are sending people to the US to study what the blacks have been doing in the US and setting up their system in Brazil.

    November 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm
  46. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Michael, in Brazil, the president doesn’t have a lot of power like the president has in SA. It is the Congress in Brazil that’s elected by the people that have all of the power. If Lula would have ordered the spending of state money on his home, he would have been impeached by Congress. As a matter of facts, all of the money is controlled by the Brazilian Congress like in the US.

    November 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm
  47. This really is quite typically African; placing the cart WELL before the tatty old nag that insist you on calling a horse. Mbeki claimed the African Rennaisance and waxed lyrical on it at his African Congress, without any actual examples, clues or hints at an ACTUAL rennaisance taking place on the continent. But this is what these folk do: call for a rennaisance at a congress, whose groundwork will be gazetted at a workshop, where these minutes will be refined at a Lekgotla, which will then further be dissected at a ‘jamboree’ (as once described by an M&G reporter) whose framework will be outlined at an Indaba. All populated with the usual puffed-suits with the complimentary 5-star treatment complete with buffet and blue-label.

    The Romans described their period DURING their actual conversion. Africans ANNOUNCE their alleged forth-coming turn-around, then insist that we all recognise it. You see, not to accept it, or even – Shiva forbid – question it (using evidence and the continent’s deplorable record on anything civil) is to be labelled an Afro-pessimist, but usually something stronger, and the race-cryptologists will be all over you.

    But in this make-believe African world where phrases are more important that action, it is impossible to have an honest discussion over your values, your path to progress let alone your cultural failings which play a large part in your self inflicted misery. So until then, pretend all is well and that rhetoric will mend the day.

    November 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm
  48. Sterling Ferguson #

    @Beddy,Zulu and Xhosa are both Nguni language and these two groups can understand each others. This is like a Northern German talking to a Southern German.

    November 23, 2012 at 5:38 am
  49. Frank Talk #

    @Guiness. You are wrong, and this is betrayed by the tone of your comment which falls short of vitriol. You start by saying “This really is quite typically African; placing the cart WELL before the tatty old nag that insist you on calling a horse.” I mean what kind of generalised nonsense is this? “Typically African” meaning it is innate in the african to put the cart before the horse? You are out of your wits mate.

    Your point about “typically African” is no more to the point than the enlightened arabs, during their enlightenment, saying it is typically european to fall into Dark Ages every now and again- get a grip. There is nothing like it is typically african or european or whatever to put the cart before the horse – in fact this is a european phrase! Not to mention the origins of the cart can be traced not in europe but middle east and europe. You have no idea what you are talking about except your latent prejudices against africans and their struggle to rise from the monster that was colonialism.

    It is not typically african to be on the backfoot, there were polities and principalities that exhibited significant sophistication but this was all taken away with the advent of the atrocities of the settlers. Most societies, save for the Easter Islanders, when they develop organically unhindered by the cultural rape such as colonialism, they emerge on the better side of things.

    The rest of your misplaced diatribe cannot be dignified with a response. Sit down.

    November 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm
  50. Tofolux #

    @Sterling, for the record, there are no blacks in Brazil, there are only Brazilians. There are no blacks in America, but African-Americans. When you get your head around that then hopefully you will remember that Brazil and China is part of BRICSA. If this does not ring a bell then clealy nothing will.
    @Guinholic, you clearly have no concept of the word or meaning. In fact, I am convinced that when you people read, see the word “African” you seem to have an immediate mental block. Guess we can put it down to the intense programming of the mind.

    November 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm

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