I am going to try and post to Inside Politics more often. One way of doing that, relatively easily for me, is to post some of the many archives I have produced over the years, perhaps with a bit of analysis upfront. Here follows an example: a collection of quotes from the commentariat on the DA’s 2009 ‘Stop Zuma’ posters, which were widely derided as evidence of fearmongering, poor strategy and the unfair personalisation of the election. With the benefit of hindsight, of course, the campaign and the message were clearly both important and prescient. The DA’s message is often overlooked in favour of such considerations as style and tone. Nothing makes the case better than the story of the ‘Stop Zuma’ posters.
FEATURE: There are many parallels between the ANC’s particular brand of African nationalism and the nationalism practiced by previous governments in South Africa’s past. It is a comparison not often made but one which holds many lessons. Consider Johannesburg in the late 1800s for example: under the control of a nationalist administration it faced and created numerous problems which we face today and a description of the city back then, which follows below, sounds eerily familiar.
FEATURE: There is a strong case to be made that contemporary South African history – post 1994 – is subject to some kind of collective memory block. So horrific was apartheid, we have lost the ability properly to put current affairs in their full perspective. Inevitably any event is gauged, not against the principles that define freedom, but those gross violations suffered in the past. Remembering the past is vital but it should never blur our ability to recognise those contemporary threats to our civil liberties.
ARTICLE: What is the relationship between history and propaganda, and propaganda and secrecy in turn? It is an interesting question. History is often taken for granted. It is assumed that it exists somewhere out there, and it is the business of an eccentric few to define it. But in truth it is a contemporary business and a society’s attitude towards it say much about us. In the article below I look at this relationship and how these two ideas – history and propaganda – relate.