Libmonster ID: U.S.-1454
Author(s) of the publication: A. B. MEZYAEV
Educational Institution \ Organization: University of Management (Kazan)

Keywords: political journalism, South Africa, African National Congress, struggle against the apartheid regime, modern history of South Africa

Against the background of a fairly rich range of periodicals in the Republic of South Africa, The Thinker magazine it stands out clearly by itself. And not only because political magazines are far from the best-selling, but because this magazine is really analytical and offers the reader not so much information as reflection. In this regard, the name of the magazine completely coincides with its content.


The magazine was created by Dr. Essop Pahad (b. 1939). The personality of the editor-in - chief of The Thinker attracts attention by itself.E. Pahad is a well-known South African intellectual, historian, fighter against the apartheid regime, member of the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SCCP).

In December 1964, he was forced to leave the country. For many years, E. Pahad represented the Communist Party of South Africa in the editorial board of the well-known magazine "Problems of Peace and Socialism", its English-language version - "World Marxist Revue". Since 1994-Member of the first non-racial Parliament of South Africa, and from 1999 to 2008 - Minister in the Government of President Thabo Mbeki.

As a teenager, at the age of 13, Essop participated in protest demonstrations and distributed leaflets, for which he was repeatedly arrested.

In an interview with the author of this article, Dr. E. Pahad said: "I started to get involved in politics, as I grew up in a family of fighters against the regime. My parents were active members of the resistance to the apartheid government. My mother was thrown into prison three times in the forties and fifties... Many meetings of resistance leaders were held in our house. If you read the autobiographies of Mandela, Sisulu or Kathrada, you will see how much they write about my mother... Conversations at such meetings sometimes lasted all day. That's the kind of atmosphere we grew up in..."

In 1964, he and his younger brother Aziz were subjected to a new round of persecution: they were declared "proscribed persons" - this was essentially the name of outlawing a person.

"The police decree," says Essop Pahad, "contained an interesting provision: a "prohibited" person cannot meet with any other "prohibited" person. But my brother and I lived in the same room and could not fulfill this position in any way! Then the police sent us to court, and the judge, taking into account the circumstances of the case, gave us temporary permission to communicate...".

The brothers ' years of emigration began in London, where ANC activists worked among British students.1 In the 1970s. Essop Pahad arrives in the USSR and becomes a student of the famous "Lenin School" * in Moscow.

"It was a country," says Pahad, " that was at the forefront of the anti-imperialist movement.

* The International Lenin School, which was officially called the Institute of Social Sciences under the Central Committee of the CPSU (editor's note).

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tic struggle... At that time, I couldn't even think of saying anything against the USSR. And not just me. It was simply impossible. From the height of today, I understand that this was probably wrong. But we believed so much in the USSR that any problems that we saw with our own eyes (for example, cases of outright racism) ... we tried to find excuses for them...".


The Thinker's authors are mostly intellectuals. How else can it be in a magazine with such a name? A regular contributor is former South African President Thabo Mbeki (1999-2008), who not only revived the idea of African Renaissance 2, but also made a huge contribution to its practical implementation.

After the resignation of the country's president in 2008, T. Mbeki did not leave the political arena. Currently, he is a mediator (Chief-mediator) African Union Crisis Management Team in several African countries: South Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

In his article "Challenges of the African Progressive Movement"3, T. Mbeki analyzes the current situation on the continent and puts forward the idea of creating a progressive agenda for Africa. T. Mbeki's critical view is merciless: "Today, many state systems in African countries have been reduced to the fiefdoms of predatory elites controlled by a self-serving professional political class." The dominance of these elites and the Comprador bourgeoisie in society "inevitably leads to the creation of corrupt states", the main goal of which is only to enrich the elite.

T. Mbeki emphasizes that these predatory elites are strongly linked to international capital, which leads to the secret and illegal export of national wealth. Thabo Mbeki knows what he's talking about: in February 2015, his report on the illegal export of capital from Africa was officially presented to the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. The most "optimistic" estimates speak of more than $50 billion. annually 4.

The February 2015 issue of The Thinker also features an interview with South African President Jacob Zuma. When asked whether a number of African countries have reason to claim that South Africa has lost its passion for the African Renaissance at the current stage,Zuma said that the main direction of South Africa's foreign policy continues to be the African continent. He noted that South Africa is actively involved in peacekeeping operations in Africa.

J. Zuma expressed support for African - continental and regional - crisis resolution. From this we can conclude that it does not support peacekeeping operations from the outside. It is said diplomatically, but quite clearly.

You should also pay attention to the South African President's response to the question of how the years spent in exile outside the country affected him. J. Zuma noted that one of the main ideas that he learned is the need for African unity.

During the events in Soweto in January 2015 (when massive riots and pogroms of foreigners, primarily Somalis, but also representatives of the DRC, Nigeria and other African countries, took place in this suburb of Johannesburg), President Zuma said that those who are hated by South African citizens, calling them outsiders, are their brothers and sisters who were caught in the middle of the war. on the other side of the borders drawn by real outsiders-European colonialists 5.


Thinker is primarily a South African magazine. Some of its issues are almost entirely devoted to certain outstanding events in the history of South Africa or major political figures in the history of South Africa. Paradoxically, as one of the authors of The Thinker, a former ANC fighter, put it, today in South Africa there is a real threat that a significant part of the history of the national struggle against apartheid will be forgotten.

Understanding this threat, the Thinker pays great attention to the preservation, and sometimes restoration of natural resources.-

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to update the history of the struggle of the peoples of South Africa for their liberation from the racist regime. Until now, this story has not yet been written, and therefore the special historical materials of the Thinker are of great importance.

This is, for example, the June (2013) issue dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Rivonia trial*, or the December (same year) special issue dedicated to the memory of the seventh Secretary General of the ANC, Oliver Tambo (1917-1993). Former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe analyzes the trial from a slightly different angle: if most often this trial is evaluated in the context of the elimination of apartheid in 1994, then K. Motlanthe sees it as the result of a previous struggle, which is almost not mentioned in today's South Africa.

Historical issues of The Thinker are not a repetition of what is already known, but always new, previously unknown pages of the struggle of the people of South Africa against apartheid. So, it was on the pages of The Thinker that the famous musician Sipo Mabuse, the leader of the Harari group, which was popular even during the apartheid period, first told about how during his concerts around the country he transported weapons in boxes for musical equipment for the fighters of Umkonto ve Sizwe, the ANC's military wing.

I happened to meet Sipo Mabuse at his home in Soweto. He spoke in more detail about the operations on the transportation of weapons that were carried out with his participation. It was repeatedly on the verge of failure - when police patrols stopped the car for inspection, but its popularity (even among the white population) was such that it allowed it to distract their attention from boxes of "musical equipment".

I have a disc of Harari records in my collection, which I had the foresight to buy on my way to meet S. Mabuse. And on it is his autograph: The Alex "Siphiwe" from Sovieto, in Soweto (the Zulu name Siphiwe** was given to me by S. Mabuse himself immediately after our meeting). And here, once again, I remembered the unique connection that exists between our peoples and countries, between Sovieto and Soweto...


Of course, The Thinker is not so much a historical magazine as it reflects the events of our time. Thus, topical foreign policy issues in The Thinker are often covered by a unique person for South African diplomacy - the younger brother of the editor-in-chief, Aziz Pahad. For 14 years, from 1994 (beginning with the first cabinet of Nelson Mandela) to 2008, he served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa. In his analytical articles, A. Pahad examines the crises in Libya, Syria, and Palestine.

The situation in Palestine is one of the main issues of South Africa's foreign policy. Mandela also said that South Africa will not be completely free as long as there is a Palestinian problem. This approach is understandable: South Africa views Israel's current policy towards Palestine as apartheid and, consequently, Israel as a country where racial discrimination is enshrined in law.

We will not discuss here how accurate this assessment is (and what about" non-citizens " in Latvia?), but we will only note that not only any other country in Africa, but probably no other country in the world, has such a permanent and ideologically meaningful policy on the Palestinian problem. It is no coincidence that the last war in Gaza in 2014.6 became the main topic of the Thinker's issues in 2014. By the way, despite his retirement in 2008, Aziz Pahad's diplomatic experience is still in demand.

In September 2014, he was appointed Special Representative of the President of South Africa on the Palestinian issue. There were strong calls in the country to sever diplomatic relations with Israel, but the wise Aziz insisted that maintaining relations would allow South African diplomacy to exert pressure on Tel Aviv. At the end of 2014, Aziz Pahad's long-awaited book, " The Rebellious Diplomat. Civil negotiations or Civil War " 7 - his memoirs about the diplomatic side of the struggle of the African National Congress, of which A. Pahad was a prominent member.

The magazine also paid attention to events in Ukraine. While in South Africa in 2014, just at the height of the Ukrainian crisis and the reunification of Crimea with Russia, I was very actively involved in countering the massive propaganda attack against Russia in the South African press. The newspapers were full of anti-Russian headlines. Although most of the anti-Russian articles were reprints from Western news agencies, the local pro-Western press also took an active part in this.

At one of the seminars on the situation in Ukraine, I had to draw the attention of the audience to the bright headline: "Ukrainian crisis: Russia withdraws its troops." However, when reading the article, it turned out that the "withdrawal" of Russian troops meant their withdrawal from our own border into the interior of the country.

The provocation is blatant, but it does its job: most readers were convinced of Russian aggression against Ukraine. About the fact that the shaft is similar

* The Rivonia trial (1963-1964) is named after the place of arrest of most ANC leaders accused of high treason. Eight people, including H. N. Mandela, W. Sisulu, G. Mbeki, were sentenced to life imprisonment.

** Sipiwe means "child given by God" (common among the Zulu, Xhosa, and Swati peoples).

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This is the result of intense pressure, says one unusual fact. One of the most popular newspapers in South Africa today, The New Age ("New Age"), which was distinguished by constant reprints of Western anti-Russian propaganda in connection with the situation in Ukraine, broke out in one of the issues with an editorial article - "It is necessary to stop the anti-Russian hysteria."

Thus, an objective analysis of the situation in Ukraine in the South African press is not easy. All the more valuable is the article by Ketiv Marais, in which the author qualifies these events as another US imperialist intervention. At the same time, the author clearly points to the main goal - Russia. K. Marais shows the situation in Ukraine in the context of the new world order, which is ruled by a "Sacred Triumvirate" - it, according to the author, includes the United States, NATO and the European Union, which conducts its policy through such creatures as the IMF, the World Bank, WTO and the International Criminal Court.

Among such creatures of the "Holy Triumvirate", and specially created for Africa, of course, is AFRICOM - the African Command of the US Armed Forces. Professor Horace Campbell notes that Africa almost unanimously rejected the idea of AFRICOM when only one country, Liberia, agreed to host the unit in 2007. The author believes that AFRICOM does not ensure peace and security on the continent, but rather the interests of oil companies. The real force that could ensure the security of Africa, according to H. Campbell, is the activation of the work of the African Union Peace and Security Council.


The topic of colonialism in its broad scope (colonialism, neocolonialism, decolonization) is one of the regular topics of the magazine "Thinker", from issue to issue. Professor Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni's article "Eurocentrism, colonialism and myths about the decolonization of Africa" attracts attention. The author suggests that decolonization and de-imperialization are two interrelated processes. That is why, 50 years after the adoption of the UN resolutions on decolonization, colonialism is still a reality today.

By deimperialization, Professor Ndlovu-Gatsheni means "the de-structuring of the modern international system based on the principle of racial hierarchy and the restructuring of the current asymmetric system of power decision-making."

In another article - "Why are we talking about decolonization in the twenty - first century?"-S. Ndlovu-Gatsheni writes that it is necessary to tear off the masks from colonialism of the twenty-first century, resist it and destroy it, because it creates a world order that can exist only through violence, hypocrisy and lies. In this regard, Africans need to avoid the trap prepared for them, which is the normalization and universalization of colonialism as a natural state of the world.

The need for new, alternative ways of development is also a constant theme of the Thinker. The journal pays great attention to the BRICS interstate bloc. Initially, the idea of South Africa's participation in BRICS was met with caution. Chepiso Mfelo in the article " What will BRICS bring to South Africa and Africa?" He views South Africa's participation in BRICS with caution, wondering whether participation in this organization will provide new opportunities for economic growth or, on the contrary, will provide opportunities for other countries to use the continent's mineral resources. The main concern in this context, of course, is related to the very active penetration of China into Africa.

However, over time, the authors of The Thinker have already fully sided with the BRICS. Yazini Funeka April, a researcher at the Africa Institute of South Africa, argues in her article that South Africa should gradually move away from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and actively build the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB).

The author emphasizes that the BRICS NDB will provide opportunities for alternative economic development, while neither the IMF nor the World Bank approve loans for certain projects of developing countries, especially those that strengthen the independence of national economies (nuclear energy, biotechnology, construction of hydropower facilities, etc.). This will also strengthen political independence, as it will save African countries from meeting the political conditions that are "attached" to loans issued by Western financial institutions. However, only South Africa is a member of BRICS from the continent, so only South Africa will be able to use the opportunities indicated in the article.


The announced land and agrarian reform in South Africa is analyzed by Professor Vusi Gumede. The fact that land reform in South Africa is delayed is clear to everyone, the problem is different: how should such a reform take place? The author analyzes the experience of land reforms in other countries and believes that taking into account the experience of Zimbabwe, South Korea and Malaysia can be very useful for South Africa.

According to the author, the Zimbabwean experience shows that even with a liberal orientation of the economy, radical agrarian reform is possible. However, warns V. Gumede, if the pra-

page 64

The government will continue to delay further - this will lead to disastrous consequences for the country. The implications are not specified, but they are quite clear: the last elections in April 2014, the African National Congress won with 62% of the vote, but this is almost 10% less than in the 2004 elections.*

It is no coincidence that South Africa's new opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), won 7% of the vote in its first year of creation. At the same time, almost all EFF members are former members of the ANC!

I happened to attend an EFF rally in March 2014, where the party's program was announced. When I asked if the EFF members were sorry that they had to leave the ANC, I heard bitter but very confident responses: "No, we are not. The current ANC has nothing in common with the ANC that we remember in the years of the struggle against apartheid..."

One can argue with this statement, but for 20 years of being in power, the ANC has not managed to solve the land issue - one of the most important problems for the country. The main political opponents of the ANC have their own vision of solving the land issue. For example, the same EFF supports the immediate nationalization of all land without any compensation whatsoever.8 And they are given the shortest possible time to resolve the land issue: "Economic freedom - in our time [in our lifetime]" is the slogan of the EFF. But it is taking into account Zimbabwe's experience that allows ANC leaders to exercise caution.


The Thinker, of course, is primarily a political magazine, but culture plays a prominent role in it. Culture has always been a political issue, especially in South Africa. Let us recall, for example, the musical group "Amandla!", which was the cultural wing of the African National Congress... Against the background of the military wing of the ANC ("Umkonto ve sizwe"), the role of culture was understood (and correctly!) in the context of the South African people's struggle for liberation. And "Thinker" is a magazine where you can read both cultural analysis and excerpts from new literary works of venerable masters and aspiring young authors.

Special attention is drawn to the article about songs of liberation (Freedom songs).

Oh, these songs of freedom! These songs contributed to the victory no less than the armed struggle! These songs have always had a special impact on me. Despite the fact that the struggle of the people of South Africa took place tens of thousands of kilometers away on the other side of the planet, during their sound, this distance disappeared, and it seemed that you yourself were in the thick of protesting people.

You can imagine the impact that this music and these songs had on those who were actually in South Africa, and those who went with these songs in protest marches, and sometimes to certain death. Freedom songs still occupy a huge place in the public life of the country-they are sung by everyone: from ordinary workers to the president of the country.

By the way, despite his 73 years, the President of South Africa, J. R. R. Tolkien.Zuma sings surprisingly beautifully!9 However, this statement of the author may be evaluated by someone as not making much sense - in South Africa, everyone sings well!

No public performance is complete without liberation songs. It is from the universal singing of liberation songs that I have repeatedly experienced this extraordinary sense of unity, and even a kind of spiritual purification, when I found myself in South Africa at meetings of political parties.

An interesting analysis of liberation songs is given in Kgolane Phala's article "The Evolution of Freedom Songs". He analyzes the development of these songs in the context of the development of the national liberation struggle of the people of South Africa against apartheid. The author shows how at first the people relied only on God (the famous song Nkosi Sikel' i Africa**, which was the anthem of the ANC and became the basis for the current national anthem of South Africa***), but then began to rely on active forms: from nonviolent methods of resistance to armed struggle, which is reflected in both music and songs.

Freddy Kunou, a professor at Northwestern University and a lawyer for the Supreme Court of South Africa, writes about the influence of South African culture on the country's legal system. He examines the evolution of the country's legislation on child offenders, primarily through the prism of the influence of African traditional values on this evolution."

The concept of ubuntu comes from a proverb known in the languages of many peoples of South Africa - Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu, which can be translated as " A person is a person through other people** * * [because there are other people*****]". The author notes that the concept of Justice has enabled the implementation of the concept of "restorative" justice instead of "punitive"justice in the country's criminal legislation concerning children.

No less interesting is the article by the famous South African poet and writer Mongane Walli

* 2004 was the year of the ANC's greatest popularity in the history of democratic elections in South Africa, when the African National Congress received almost 70% of the vote.

** In the Xhosa language: "God save Africa."

*** Currently, the music of this song is the basis of the national anthem of Tanzania. Previously, the song was the national anthem of Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia .

**** A person is a person because of people.

***** People are people through other people.

page 65

Serote - "Traditional African knowledge and traditional institutions of the peoples of Africa". The author notes that, despite the predominance of Christianity in South Africa, about 80% of the country's population turns to the bongaka Institute (traditional healers). Other institutions are also considered: lekgotla (assembly to resolve disputes by peaceful means), bogosi (power and responsibility of traditional leaders), lekolo (family, and as its continuation-society as a whole), lebollo (initiation) and others.

M. Serote notes that the traditional institutions of the peoples of South Africa during colonization and apartheid were violently attacked, but they passed through them, people preserved them and continue to use them. The main idea of the article is that, according to M. Serote, today Africa is ready to become a continent that generates new original knowledge. Mongane Serote's article is not easy, requiring reading with several encyclopedias side by side, but it is worth it because it raises fundamental questions about the functioning of South African society. However, not only South African.

It was unexpectedly pleasant to read the poems of Ghanaian poet Kofi Awunor, who is familiar to Russian readers, on the pages of The Thinker. His poems in Russian translations were included in all anthologies of African poetry published in Soviet times. However, the publication of K. Avunor's poems was timed to coincide with a sad date. In September 2013, he ended up in the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya, which was subjected to a well-known terrorist attack, 10 and died at their hands. He was in Kenya for an art festival and was scheduled to perform on the evening of the day he died at the hands of villains... He was 78 years old.

* * *

Until 2014, The Thinker was published monthly. Now it's a quarterly. Moreover, not exclusively South African, but "pan-African". However, I haven't noticed any difference in the past year. Is it possible to find a country more pan-African (in terms of actual actions, not in terms of rhetoric) than the Republic of South Africa? The Thinker has always been pan-African.

At the same time, The Thinker was and remains a high-level intellectual magazine, interesting not only in Africa, but also for thinking people around the world. I would very much like this magazine to receive its recognition among Russian readers as well.

1 Essop Pahad gave me the book "London Recruits. The secret war against apartheid (London, Merlin. 2012), foreword by R. Kasrils, Minister of Intelligence Services in the last government of T. Mbeki. For more information about this little-known side of AHK's history, please visit:

2 The African Renaissance is understood as the idea (first of all, the revival) of the unity of the peoples of Africa, which should become the basis for overcoming the current problems of the continent. The founder of the idea can be considered the Senegalese historian Sheikh Anta Diop (1923-1986), whose works, written in different years, were published in the book "Towards the African Renaissance" (Diop Cheikh Anta. Towards the African Renaissance: Essays in Culture and Development (1946 - 1960). Red Sea Press, 2000).

3 The article provides an overview of the journal's issues for 2011-2015. The official website of the magazine on the Internet has an archive of issues for the last two years -

4 nancial-Flows-from-Africa-%E2%80%93 - 31-January-2015.aspx

5 TNA Breakfast with President Zuma, broadcast on SABC -

6 For more information, see: Borodina M. Yu., Ermakov A. A., Ryzhov I. V. Summer war 2014 in Gaza / / Asia and Africa today. 2014, N 12. Borodina M.Yu., Ermakov A.A., Ryzhov I.V. 2014. Letnyaya voina 2014 v Gaze // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 12) (in Russian)

Pahad A. 7 Insurgent Diplomat. Civil Talks or Civil War. Pinguin. 2014.

8 See the program of the party "Fighters for Economic Freedom" on the official website of the party on the Internet - election-manifesto/

9 Anyone who wants to make sure that this is not an exaggeration can, for example, watch the speech of President J. R. R. Tolkien.Zuma in February 2015 on the South African broadcaster SABC - u1QkqsJEIbekUePXv5s0-phma

10 On 21 September 2013, a group of terrorists attacked the Westgate Shopping Mall in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Fighting with the police continued until September 24. During the attack, 67 people were killed and 175 were wounded.


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