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Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective. Winner: Best Political Blog 2012.

Tag: Values

Jacob Zuma: The man who walks in two worlds


JacobZumaSPEECH: This past Thursday I delivered an address on President Jacob Zuma to The Cape Town Press Club. For those interested, a copy of that speech follows below. It speaks to some of the themes identified in my book, “Clever Blacks, Jesus and Nkandla: The real Jacob Zuma in his own words”, and looks at the extent to which the fourth estate meaningfully interrogates Zuma’s various problematic religious and cultural convictions.

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On vision


TheThingAboutSERIES: Very often the link is rightfully made between leadership and vision. Much has been written about leadership, far less about vision. What is a vision? Why is it important and what is its effect? More importantly, what can one tell about a leader by the way in which they relate their vision to an audience, the extent to which it is inspiring or dreary? Today’s column tries to answer those questions.

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On vision


TheThingAboutSERIES: Few things better define a good leader than a powerful vision. And any compelling vision has to it, two component parts: on the one hand, a series of concrete steps – for intent must be realised by action; on the other, those values and principles which underpin and motivate for such action – for every good undertaking has the advancement of freedom behind it, and ideals are the aspirational force behind action. Each part can be abused, however, by ignoring the other. Here is how.

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Appearance and reality: Liberal values in democratic South Africa


FEATURE: The Helen Suzman Foundation (www.hsf.org.za) has just produced edition 65 of its Journal, Focus. The edition is titled ‘On Liberty’ and devoted to exploring some of the challenges, both social and political, which have confronted South African liberalism. You can find a full copy of the edition here (PDF). Among of a range of pieces by the likes of Bobby Godsell, Charles Simkins, John Matisonn and Michael Cardo (I see Pallo Jordan even makes an appearance) is the piece I wrote, below, on liberal values and how they are often the subject of subtle negotiation, almost always to their detriment.

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On cant


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. Today a look at cant – when high ideals are evoked and language used merely to give the impression some grand plan is unfolding when, in truth, there exists a substantial gulf between what is said and what is actually done.

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