Thabo Mbeki is no hero. Neither is he the worst leader to emerge from the ranks of the African National Congress. A son of the liberation movement to a fault; an idealist who is romantic about Africa, and a vessel of complexity – now, that he is. As Mbeki celebrates his birthday, we reflect on his leadership. Will he cringe as he recalls some of his missteps or remain grandiose about his unfinished African Renaissance chapter?
The image that classically characterises 16 June 1976 is that of a tearful Mbuyisa Makhubo carrying a slain 12-year-old Hector Pieterson, flanked by a hysterical Antoinette Sithole, Hector’s sister, taken by Sam Nzama is a marker of history. Nzama’s image is unambiguous and intact. The role of the visual image has ceased to be iconographic. In these hyper-visual times, digital technology has lent greater complexity to our relationship with images writes Kagiso Mnisi.
Africa’s chief challenge is corruption, says Kagiso Mnisi. But while we naturally respond to acts of corruption with outrage, we need to move on from shock and start analysing dishonesty from an economic perspective. This is possible through a reliance on data.
Telecommunications companies need to pay attention to the development of their video products because this is fast becoming their greatest source of revenue, states Huawei’s Reiner van der Merwe.
Kagiso Mnisi reflects on the power of documentary film in South Africa and its ability to capture the country’s political rise and fall.
How language relates to time is a philosophical humdinger. In his remarkable essay, ‘Midnight,’ South African novelist Imraan Coovadia writes that ‘science has yet to create a satisfactory description of time, an account of why it exists and how it progresses…the physical time of the cosmos, expressed in the changes of subatomic particles and forces and billion sun galaxies, differs from historical time, with its emphasis on economic and cultural processes, and also from the psychological time of human beings.’
It’s been quite interesting to see how creative industries within the continent have surpassed mainstream politics in advancing the ‘newness of Africa’, but on the flipside are also vulnerable to the stranglehold of neocolonial agendas operating through the language of ‘development’, ‘sustainability’, ‘Africa rising’ and all these other vacuous references.