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Tuareg Blues: A Struggle for Life, Land and Freedom

Tuareg music has exploded in the past decade, ever since the fathers of the scene, Mali’s Tinariwen, released their debut album for Western consumption in 2001. Tinariwen are now the global faces of Tuareg music, having performed all over the world and collaborated with the likes of TV on the Radio and guitar extraordinaire Nels [...]

A Chief Justice Who Doesn’t Write Appointed by a President Who Doesn’t Read

Book Excerpt: Richard Calland’s recently published book, The Zuma Years – South Africa’s Changing Face of Power (Zebra Press, 2013), X-rays South Africa’s body politic: from the cabinet to the ANC to civil society. In Chapter 11, entitled The Judges, Calland focuses on the power play and politics within, and surrounding, the judiciary. He also asks pertinent [...]

The Co-option of Amcu’s Radical Heart?

“It’s not even that the mine bosses liked the NUM [National Union of Mineworkers], they just liked using it.” As he says this, the Socialist Group’s Trevor Ngwane is thumbing through a photocopied, comb-bound recognition agreement signed early this year between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats). The [...]

Farlam Commission: Police Boot Needs Examining

The Marikana commission of inquiry’s terms of reference are wide; too wide for retired judge Ian Farlam to complete his inquiry in the four months he was initially given. With respect to the police, Farlam must investigate the nature, application and extent of standing orders, policy and other relevant legislation that gave rise to the [...]

The Ghosts of a Bloody Past Reach into the Present

  Way Back Home by Niq Mhlongo (Kwela Books, 2013)   Kimathi Fezile Tito, the main character in Niq Mhlongo’s third novel Way Back Home, has a lot in common with South Africa. They are both arrogant, fat – the country registering the second-highest obesity levels in the world after the United States – and have a bloody history. [...]