5 May 2014

South Africa: A View From Abroad - Mandela, Zuma and What South African Multiculturalism Means for Europe


Last week influential Dutch author and essayist, Bass Heijne, accompanied a group of students from that country on a pre-election visit to South Africa. In a column that appeared in the daily NRC Handelsblad on Sunday, Heijne concludes that while South Africa is an extreme country, there are echoes of contemporary European politics locally including "corruption, political lies, rabble rousing, radicalism, group madness, hatred of critics and whistleblowers, persistent ethnic divisions and resentment".

While South Africa will be going to the polls next week with a predicted landslide victory for the centre left ANC, analysts in Europe are forecasting that right wing groupings in the EU could capture at least 20 percent of seats in European parliamentary elections that are due to take place from 22 - 25 May.

In November last year, in what the Guardian described as "a chilling echo of the 1930s", the launch of a pan European alliance of far-right wing populist parties, led by Marine le Pen's French National Front and Geert Wilder's Dutch Freedom party, posed "the most serious threat" to the European project initiated after the Second World War.

Wilders and Le Pen have vowed to conquer "the monster in...

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