world cup 2010: africa’s turn or the turn on africa?

by Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed

The awarding of World Cup 2010 to South Africa was hailed as a great ‘victory’ for the African continent and the cause of much celebration. It heightened expectations not only about the spectacle itself but about the benefits that would accrue to South Africa and the rest of Africa. This essay examines the notion of the successful bid as an ‘African victory’ in the context of global power relations in football, South Africa’s alleged function as a sub-imperialist power on the continent, and xenophobic attacks on African immigrants in South Africa.

After tracing the politics around South Africa’s involvement in FIFA, this essay critically interrogates the benefits touted for South Africa and Africa: development for the SADC region, economic opportunities for ordinary South Africans, increased tourism in South Africa, and football development and peace and nation-building across the continent. Will the World Cup, as Thabo Mbeki would like, be the moment ‘when Africa stood tall and resolutely turned the tide on centuries of poverty and conflict?’ Continue reading “world cup 2010: africa’s turn or the turn on africa?”

terre’blanche, ‘black boers’ and the class war

by Adam Ford

On 3rd April, notorious South African white supremacist Eugène Terre’Blanche was murdered on his farm by two young black workers. It has been claimed that Terre’Blanche (whose French surname ironically means ‘white land’) owed the men months of back wages, and even that there was a sexual element. But whatever the specifics, the political storm surrounding the case has made it clear that social class is the chasm dividing ‘the new South Africa’.

Terre’Blanche gained some infamy in the UK with his appearance on one of ‘Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends’, and Theroux’s fellow documentarist Nick Broomfield also examined ‘His Big White Self’. But in reality, Terre’Blanche had long been a marginal political figure. Continue reading “terre’blanche, ‘black boers’ and the class war”

70,000 strike for 13% pay rise at world cup stadium sites

This week 70,000 workers started an indefinite strike action on the sites of the stadiums being built for the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa. These construction workers are organised by the country’s National Union of Mineworkers, and the union’s spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka spoke to The Commune about the action.

sowetostrike

What are conditions like on the World Cup stadium sites?

Working conditions are dangerous and workers are badly paid although the stadiums are making big profits for the owners of the means of production. Most only get 2,500 rand a month and some only 2,200. We want a 13% increase in the minimum wage for the workers on the sites. The building of the stadiums has been outsourced by the state to private companies, who have expensive contracts for the World Cup but exploit the workers. Continue reading “70,000 strike for 13% pay rise at world cup stadium sites”