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South Africa

It is hard not to be depressed about the news over the last couple of weeks. I am writing from South Africa where I am visiting some colleagues at the University of Cape Town. Last month the media was dominated by the xenophobic violence that has resulted in the deaths of seven people and the injury of many more. Hundreds of foreign-owned shops and businesses have been destroyed, and thousands of people have been displaced. It is unclear exactly what triggered this first wave of attacks on people from other African states, which spread from Durban to the country’s economic capital, Johannesburg.

The institutions of the United Nations are slaves to the objectives of Western powers, and these powers are determined to make Africa an appendage to the West. Or so Thabo Mbeki claims. Mbeki, the former president of South Africa and the founding chairperson of the African Union, made these comments in a recent speech deploring what he termed the ‘re-colonisation’ of Africa. Mbeki went on to suggest that recent armed interventions in Africa were representative of the West’s willingness to exploit the universal principles of democracy, human rights and good governance to further their material interests. Re-colonisation is an idea that by now suffers from severe intellectual fatigue. The harshness of Mbeki’s terms of reference is reminiscent of the ramblings …