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Blog my beloved country

An overview of what English language bloggers in South Africa are saying about the upcoming general election on 22 April.

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Neil McCartney is a blogger and photojournalist who works in and around Johannesburg.

Picture by Neil McCartney
South Africans are optimistic about the future. Photo: Neil McCartney

18 April:

Overall the feeling around South Africa is optimistic about the future, it seems that many people have put the Jacob Zuma corruption saga behind them [...] and are making themselves available to vote...

The feeling [...] is that no matter what happens, South Africa has turned a cross road and the ANC will for the first time, have a fight on its hands, which is good for democracy.

Overall, it's an interesting time in South Africa, where democracy is still but a teenager that is growing up as the vote is starting to revolve more about what parties can do to make life better, than about race.


Pierre De Vos is a professor of Constitutional Law at the University of the Western Cape and writes Constitutionally Speaking.

Constitutionally Speaking blog
Despite some reservations Pierre De Vos wants to trust Jacob Zuma

Pierre makes a list of things he'd like to see Jacob Zuma do when he becomes South Africa's next president.

While he admits that some of his wishes may not be granted he is mindful though optimistic about the man tipped to be South Africa's next president.

17 April:

It is a remarkable achievement [...] that Mr Zuma will be the fourth person serving as President in just over fifteen years of our democracy.

We must always be grateful to him and the ANC for firmly rejecting the notion that one person has the right to serve as president - even after his two terms [...] has expired.

I will keep an open mind abouty Zuma's abilities
Pierre De Vos
When others cowed and shied away from the fight with then president Thabo Mbeki, Zuma stood up to him...

As a proud and loyal citizen I will keep an open mind about Mr Zuma's abilities as president.

If he manages to govern in a different way than he ran for office he might even come to earn my respect, if not trust.

Gregor Röhrig was at a breakfast meeting in Johannesburg where Jacob Zuma spoke.

Gregor Röhrig's blog

He says the man he saw wasn't the one he was expecting.

31 March:

I saw [Zuma] standing in front of me [and he was] shorter than I expected. He spoke slowly, with a voice so calm and deep that even his bodyguard started nodding off.

Picture by Gregor Röhrig
Gregor Röhrig says Jacob Zuma comes across as humble and courteous
[Zuma's] laugh and smile are addictive, he comes across as humble and courteous, and he seems to be able to humour his previous and current circumstances - even if only perhaps in front of the public.

If I'd met [him] without any prior knowledge of his past and present state of affairs, I would have genuinely liked and believed in him as the character that I witnessed this morning.

This could perhaps mean one of three things:

Jacob Zuma's character has in fact been so misrepresented and distorted by the media that we all have a completely negative misperception about the man.

Perhaps Jacob Zuma is in fact genuinely charismatic and dignified and has been underestimated by the public?

Or maybe he understands very well when to use his charming nature in order to make a positive impression and win people over.


A life-long ANC supporter, Khaya Dlanga switched support to the Congress of the People (Cope), a new party founded by former members of the ruling party.

On his blog he explains why he's switched allegiance...

Khaya Dlanga's blog

20 April:

I want to be able to say to my children that when the time came for me to stand up, I did. And not only did I stand, I walked and ran.

Because standing is not enough; acting is what counts.

I endorse Cope because it will be accountable to the people.

The leadership will not tell the people what to do; it is the people that will tell the leadership what to do. The people lead the movement.

Cope supporters in Cape Town
Cope supporters at a rally on the outskirts of Cape Town

I support Cope because it believes that the highest of the high and the lowest of the low should get equal treatment before the law.

I support Cope because it will be South Africa's first truly diverse political party, where all members of our country will be represented in their numbers.

The enthusiasm for Cope spans racial, religious and class lines.

Cope is not perfect. No political party is. It would be a mistake to believe that there is. Even churches cannot claim that. But what I hope Cope will do, is at least to try to make this country move forward, look ahead and not backwards.

I know that it will give the people of this nation hope that there are better days ahead for us as a nation.

Penny writes Penny's Thoughts and is going to be supporting the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Helen Zille in Cape Town
Penny's Thoughts thinks Helen Zille is the ideal person to have in opposition

April 20:

The DA will be the official opposition, with their strong female leader, Helen Zille (YAY for strong women!) [T]he obvious winner, will be the ANC...

I don't have much hope that my choice for leader will win, but hopefully there can be a bit of a change in parliament, so that one party doesn't have such a total majority.

Strong opposition is the way to go, and a woman is the ideal person to give that opposition!


Some advice from Eye on South Africa after predictions that the ANC will again win decisively:

April 21:

They say the ANC is going to get a two-thirds majority again. Will some one help us please? Will some tell Zille, Holomisa [UDM leader], Lekota [Cope founder] and De Lille [Independent Democrats] that they cannot do it on their own, they must UNITE!

However, Jofi Babobsi on Babobski's blog seems despondent about the situation South Africa, but is hopeful nonetheless.

The next five years will be critical to the Rainbow Nation
Jofi Babobsi
April 21:
Problems have arisen that no political leader has been able to solve thus far.

Crime is out of control, the education system is on its knees, the justice system is being abused by those in power and public heath care is in shambles.

Can South Africa gain the high ground again? Can the country become the catalyst for the African revival? The next five years will be critical to the Rainbow Nation.

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