Africa: Amnesty International's Kumi Naidoo On Climate Change, Populism and Xolobeni


Speaking to Daily Maverick from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Kumi Naidoo, head of Amnesty International, didn't hold back. The discussion was anchored in climate change but took in the related issues of inequality, populist politics and the cognitive dissonance of the super-rich. In terms of world leaders, Brazil's Jair Bolsanaro came in for a special rollicking. It was the issue of Xolobeni in South Africa, however, that got Naidoo properly worked up.

Why was he still there?

This was a question that Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of Amnesty International, had been grappling with himself. The press leading up to the World Economic Forum hadn't been kind to the 2019 organisers, with two of the items perfectly timed for a brutal public thrashing: first, on the day before launch, the global broadcast of Oxfam's annual inequality statistics, which showed that the planet's 26 richest individuals now control as much wealth as humanity's entire bottom half; second, on the morning of launch, the Guardian's publication of a "long read" by Anand Giridharadas, titled The new elite's phoney crusade to save the world -- without changing anything.

Then, shortly after breakfast on opening day -- around 11 am, 22 January --...

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