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Southern Africa

Southern Africa: Old Treacheries and New Deceits

STEPHEN CHAN
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1npct8
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  • Book Info
    Southern Africa
    Book Description:

    In this timely and essential book, Stephen Chan explores the political landscape of southern Africa, examining how it's poised to change over the next years and what the repercussions are likely to be across the continent. He focuses on three countries in particular: South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, all of which have remained interconnected since the end of colonial rule and the overthrow of apartheid.

    One of the key themes in the book is the relationship between South Africa and Zimbabwe, and Chan sheds new light on the shared intellectual capacities and interests of the two countries' respective presidents, Jacob Zuma and Robert Mugabe. Along the way, the personalities and abilities of key players, such as Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister of Zimbabwe, and former South African president Thabo Mbeki, emerge in honest and sometimes surprising detail.

    InSouthern Africa, Chan draws on three decades of experience to provide the definitive inside guide to this complex region and offer insight on how the near future is likely to be a litmus test not just for this trio of countries but for all of Africa.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-17221-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. ACRONYMS
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. ix-xiv)

    ‘Sold into slavery, but he rose to become the right-hand man of Pharaoh.’ Joseph was thinking about his biblical namesake. The great Pyramids must have seemed like the towers of Johannesburg to him. He trudged among the towers as he had done every day for weeks, pleading for work, not rising to become the right-hand man of anyone. He would have to lower his sights and try in the suburbs and then, like everyone said he would, scavenge a job in the outlying townships. He had his heart set on not having to steal, but he had a family to...

  5. Maps
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. CHAPTER 1 THE GREAT NORTH ROAD
    (pp. 1-29)

    Cecil Rhodes wanted to build a road from Cape Town to Cairo. It didn’t even get halfway but, even now, a Great North Road still snakes out of Lusaka, Zambia – promising much and petering out in the Congolese wilderness. It was the old fox, Henry Kissinger, who realised that Africa was too big to be encompassed by a single vision. In the 1970s he thought he could anchor US interests in three, possibly four, major states: South Africa and Egypt were there, so the Cape and Cairo still featured, only without the road; so did Nigeria in the west...

  7. CHAPTER 2 THE ARMED TREK
    (pp. 30-48)

    Zimbabwe had a peaceful first two years. Robert Mugabe gathered plaudits for what seemed like genuine reconciliation.¹ His country was held up as a model for what Apartheid South Africa might one day become. There was a majority-ruled government that observed procedures, avoided the arbitrary and did not act vindictively to earlier white enemies. It remained in the global capitalist economy and sought foreign investment. It had idealistic ministers – not all of whom knew what they were doing – but a considerable rump of white administration rolled up its sleeves to help with the transition towards expertise. The white...

  8. CHAPTER 3 THE RAINBOW BRIDGE
    (pp. 49-65)

    Harare 1991, and the leaders of the Commonwealth gather for their biennial summit. These summits fall in uneven years, so it was as close as they could get to a ten-year anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence. The motorcades of the presidents and prime ministers swept up the tree-lined boulevards. But all had to come to the air-conditioning-free press shed where, with the sweaty crowd of journalists, the academics were confined. The press conferences of the leaders were, however, usually held in the cool of the evenings. As the revenge of the press pack, the atmosphere would still be fetid from the...

  9. CHAPTER 4 THE FORMATION OF THABO MBEKI
    (pp. 66-81)

    It is easy to contrast Thabo Mbeki’s sober and tailored image as President, all dark suits and grey ties, with the gumboot-slapping younger man – stripped to the waist and grinning his head off while he danced. But even the sober and tailored Mbeki was a highly complex man. He was a true intellectual – more so than Mugabe, who prided himself on being the most learned person in any company. With Mugabe it became a self-fetishisation and, in his old age, he has taken to belittling people and finding fault with their education or manner of expression. Even when...

  10. CHAPTER 5 THE DEGENERATION OF ZIMBABWE
    (pp. 82-98)

    When finally Mbeki became President in 1999 he would have savoured his inheritance. The ANC was still widely popular in South Africa, and economic performance was good. The Western world wanted to invest and other players, notably the Chinese, were beginning to look seriously at his country. The Southern African region seemed stable. Enough for Mbeki’s ‘African Renaissance’ to begin in his own neighbourhood. Take the region’s five most stable economic players – Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, even Zambia, with South Africa as the key – and they could become an integrated economy big enough to be taken seriously by the...

  11. CHAPTER 6 HOW MORGAN TSVANGIRAI FORMED HIMSELF
    (pp. 99-113)

    The first three Zimbabwean elections of the 2000s form a testimony to how Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF approached the question of validation. For them, especially for Mugabe, validation was important. It was an endorsement of their vision and the historical struggle that underlay that vision. It was a generation seeking to use the past as a means to bypass the consequences of its present policies, looking forward to a future when the vision of nationalisation would be completed. How validation was got was less important than the fact that it was got. The means justified the end every time.

    The...

  12. CHAPTER 7 HOW CAN A CAR GO FORWARD WITH TWO DIFFERENT SPEEDS ON ONLY ONE GEAR?
    (pp. 114-130)

    The acronym, GEAR, simply lent itself to car jokes, and in fact was chosen precisely to express the idea of getting into gear, of going forward – momentum, progress and, above all, increasingly satisfying points of arrival. It actually meant ‘Growth, Employment and Redistribution’ and was launched as a policy in June 1996.¹ Though still Deputy President, it was Thabo Mbeki who drove the policy forward – even though its first public champion was the finance minister, Trevor Manuel. But the non-negotiable nature of Manuel’s announcement of GEAR in his budget speech had Mbeki’s determination stamped all over it. A...

  13. CHAPTER 8 THE LONG ELECTORAL TREK
    (pp. 131-146)

    The elections of the early 2000s in Zimbabwe were set within complicated relationships between Zimbabwe and South Africa. The timelines in Southern Africa were congested. Often it seemed as if the South African and Zimbabwean leaderships, despite being in neighbouring countries with much in common, were determined to act as polar opposites. Thabo Mbeki launched GEAR in 1996. The war veterans made their appearance as a political force in Zimbabwe in 1997. Mbeki became President of South Africa in 1999 and, in the same year, the opposition MDC party was launched in Zimbabwe. The MDC defeated Robert Mugabe in a...

  14. CHAPTER 9 THE RETURN OF THE ZULU KING
    (pp. 147-168)

    Those who were imprisoned with Jacob Zuma on Robben Island remember him as a joker. He was the one who kept their spirits up. There were long philosophical debates. ‘There was no rush to finish these debates,’ Mosiuoa Lekota, who went to Robben Island after Zuma, told me; ‘we were there for years.’ In the midst of such seriousness, Zuma was the one who lightened the mood. He was one of the least educated, and the legend is that his comrades taught him how to read in prison. This is not true, but they did help him to read more...

  15. CHAPTER 10 THE ELECTIONS OF NO ELECTION: THE PRELUDE TO VEXED COMPROMISE IN ZIMBABWE
    (pp. 169-197)

    Alexandra is on the way to the richer part of Sandton in Johannesburg. It’s only a 20-minute fast walk or slow jog from Alex, as it is commonly and almost affectionately known, to Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square. The latter are temples to elite consumerism. One merges into another, and they both become an air-conditioned shopping mall like Knightsbridge under cover. The finest Swiss watches can be purchased there more cheaply than in Knightsbridge. There is a rich local market, but the idea is also partly that foreigners will fly in, buy the watches at a lower price than...

  16. CHAPTER 11 THE LEGACY OF MIXED LEGACY: MBEKI BREAKS THROUGH ON ZIMBABWE, ZUMA BREAKS THROUGH ON MBEKI
    (pp. 198-223)

    The least anyone can say about Thabo Mbeki is that he never had pause to rest. Abroad he was struggling with the intransigence of Robert Mugabe and the battered vacillations of Morgan Tsvangirai. At home he was struggling against the new President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma. He clung even more tightly to his band of loyalists. But it was these very same loyalists who had not seen the momentum Zuma had gathered to depose him at Polokwane. Now, figures in the ANC, such as Blade Nzimande, General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, were plotting the recall of...

  17. CHAPTER 12 A DIVORCE, A FORCED MARRIAGE, AND AN HISTORIC ELECTION
    (pp. 224-254)

    After the recall of Mbeki by the ANC, several ministers refused to serve in Kgalema Motlanthe’s Cabinet. They had nothing against Motlanthe. In many ways he was the best possible person to bridge the gulf between the Mbeki and Zuma factions. But he was seen precisely as a transitional president, warming the post for Zuma – and it was Zuma who was seen by these Mbeki-loyalists as the mastermind behind the recall of their leader.

    There is a tendency of South Africans to see their country as a unique enclosure. But what had happened in the ANC was not dissimilar...

  18. CHAPTER 13 WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF IT ALL?
    (pp. 255-276)

    This book has concentrated on South Africa and Zimbabwe, the two most intimate partners of Cecil Rhodes’ original dream. A road runs through them. There has been little escaping this. Geographical contiguity, historical formation and political complementarity – the two have always been close siblings. Not Siamese twins, but each has always been in the other’s thought as something natural and something done. What one did has always affected the other. Each has always denied this. The closest parallel I can think of is also from the southern hemisphere. Zimbabwe is New Zealand to South Africa’s Australia. There are deadly...

  19. NOTES
    (pp. 277-290)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 291-302)