11 May 2014

South Africa: Hannibal Elector - From Alexandra to Zuma, Via Malema - Violence, Silence and Nothing Wrong With Nkandla


It all came to an official close this weekend. But as new realities sink in, old ones start bubbling up. Is this a country terminally at war with itself?

I roll into Alexandra with the army. In the gritted-teeth grimness that follows the South African election, and as the results roll out in favour of the ruling party, a small cohort of this Johannesburg township's residents have decided to protest a perceived vote-rigging scandal by murdering Somalis. In the acidic yellow glow of township night, the authorities have responded by supplying army trucks full of soldiers, and more police than I have ever seen anywhere, at one time, ever. They rumble past me in convoy, World War III battle-ready, negotiating the speed-bumps along Roosevelt-like ships in a swell. "Nothing can happen here tonight," a police officer tells me. "Nah-thing. We are over-deployed."

All three photos by Richard Poplak, Alexandra township, Friday 9 May 2014.

But of course something does happen. On 6th Street, which runs along the foot of an open field east of the hostel barracks, barriers have been set alight by local residents, most of them IFP supporters who form the majority in this, the...

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