Daily Archives: December 17, 2007

Gideon Rachman

Perhaps I am being a bit literal-minded, but I do not find it reassuring that Jacob Zuma’s "signature anthem" (as the FT describes it) translates as "Bring me my machine gun". As I write, Mr Zuma seems poised to wrest the presidency of the African National Congress from Thabo Mbeki. If he succeeds, he then becomes hot favourite to succeed Mbeki as the next president of South Africa in 2009.

With Zuma as president-in-waiting, South Africa will have a significant PR problem. South Africa’s big challenge – of course – has always been to convince the world that it is not going to be just another hopeless African country. It is bigger, richer, more sophisticated. It has a proper legal system, good infrastructure and world-class companies. To even suggest that there might be a risk that one day South Africa will go the way of Zimbabwe is to invite furious denunciation. How could you be so ignorant? The situations are totally different. The comparison simply demonstrates western ignorance and racism, etc etc

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