5 March 2007

Ranaissance

Suddenly yesterday in the S A Sunday papers, or in three of them, there was a blaze of brilliant writing, such that there are at the moment of writing, adding a few others, there are more than 20 items waiting to be archived and linked to the Communist University’sLATEST NEWS” page. This is not counting SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande’s Cape Town speech, which is not yet in, and two great articles from Friday’s Mail and Guardian, by Tumi Makgetla and Virginia Tilley, which are not yet on the M&G web site.

So we will stretch our usual limit from five to seven today, and hope to work the rest in during the week. The first place goes to humour, something we cannot do without. The Karen Bliksem column of the Sunday Independent rejoices with affectionate irony at the “canonisation” of St John Perlman (“L’Ouverture” to the CU). And Andrew Donaldson’s “Eish!” column takes the piss out of the “De La Rey” song in a riotous style not seen on these shores since Tom Sharpe left the country several decades ago. Do not fail to click on the links!

No doubt the satirists will get their wicked hooks into Danisa Baloyi at some stage. But as yet not even Zapiro has been able to get a laugh out of the money-grabbing world of the “Queen of BEE” yet. Julian Rademeyer lays the groundwork with a deadpan contrast between Baloyi, the “buffalo in high heels”, who thinks she is “the only South African left who is law-abiding”, and some of the victims of Baloyi’s Fidentia shenanigans like Nthabeleng Moqhala, Maseabata Kori, and the young people in their care. See the link below.

The City Press’s S’Thembiso Msomi has produced and unusually (for him) balanced and thoughtful (but far from perfect) article about COSATU. He seems to have realised at last that clich├ęs and stereotypes can only get you so far in journalistic life and that sooner or later the requirements of aude alteram parte (see Karen Bliksem) do have to be honoured to some degree. See the third link below.

Duma Gqubule does not claim any “left” credentials. He describes himself simply as a businessman. But in his Sunday Times Business section this week he has brutally demolished the economic policies, or lack thereof, sparing no-one in the government, and least of all the President, and leaving them ruthlessly exposed. This linked article may mark a turning point.

Not to be outdone, Moeletsi Mbeki, the President’s brother, mounts a surgical dissection of BEE, showing that in the form we have it, it is a white-designed and executed policy, for the furtherance of white corporate aims. See the second last link.

Lastly, Kenneth Rexroth, who died 25 years ago, once wrote an excellent and humorous short piece showing why everybody should read Edward Gibbon’s famous and unique “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. Rexroth’s article was reproduced on Counterpunch this weekend. Prepare to be astonished if you have never heard of Gibbon before.

Communists take the long view of history. Gibbon is the ideal guide to the approximately 1500-year history of the Roman Empire from the fall of the Republic to the conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) by the Ottomans. But it is also much more than that. Click on the final link.

Click on these links:

A high five to St John, Karen Bliksem, Sunday Independent (1031 words)

Nation in grip of a liedership crisis, Andrew Donaldson, S Times (649 words)

Trustee Baloyi indifferent, hopes fade, Sunday Times (1087 words)

Left pushes for pact, Sthembiso Msomi, City Press (1335 words)

Mbeki slash-and-burn economics, Duma Gqubule, Sunday Times (1248 words)

How SA kissed redistribution goodbye, Moeletsi Mbeki, S Times (731 words)

Gibbon, Decline and Fall, Kenneth Rexroth, Counterpunch (1324 words)

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