Skip to main content

Election day!

South Africa voted yesterday in the rough equivalence of midterm elections. To my amazement they actually set up a polling station, complete with official signs, officers and police in my tiny village. It's been an extremely visible campaign with the two main parties putting up signs all over creation in a mess of languages.

The two main parties are the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance.  This was apparently the first election where the DA, traditionally the party of whites and Coloureds (mixed race) made a serious effort to get the black vote.  To my eye they had a much better-organized campaign, with their signs up long before the ANC's and a much larger media buy.  The DA strategy focused on service delivery, going with the slogan "We deliver for all" (or in Setswana, "Re direla botlhe," or in Afrikaans, "Ons leiwer dienste aan almal," or in Zulu...you get the picture) featuring commercials with a bunch of gogos (grandmas) talking about how things had been much better once the DA had taken over.  By the way, they also swiped Obama's famous round campaign logo.  The ANC's slogan was "Together we can build better communities," which was a lot harder to read from the road.  I never saw any ANC commercials, so I didn't get a clear idea of their strategy.

I'm not supposed to comment on local politics, so I won't say who I would have voted for, but I think it's worth noting that this was an utterly routine event procedurally.  Reading The Fate of Africa was grueling, but a great reminder that despite all the problems here, it could be a whole lot worse.  There's no strongman looting the country bare, no genocide, no ethnic civil war, no child soldiers and no invading foreign armies.  Instead it was a pretty garden variety election with parties competing over who can run the government better.  That is a very good thing.

UPDATE: See here for election results, still coming in.  They've got a cool interactive map.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha

Caffeine Is Not a Bioweapon

I got into a discussion with Yves Smith about caffeine here , and somehow my comment got eaten, so I'd like to finish it up here. She said about this Raw Story piece about a girl who allegedly died from drinking two Monster drinks in two days, "The FDA lapse here is terrible. Caffeine is extremely toxic. We just happen to get highly diluted doses in coffee and tea." I commented: Yves, your implication about caffeine is incorrect on several levels. Most Monster drinks have about 10 mg of caffeine per fluid ounce, which is much less than even drip coffee (18 mg/oz) and WAY less than espresso (51 mg/oz). ( Source ) The whole idea of dilution is misguided in any case. The relevant measurement for caffeine intoxication (and most poisoning generally) is the total amount taken, not the concentration. Concentration is something to worry about, as it can make a lethal dose easier to take on, but the main concern there is pure caffeine pills, not energy drinks which are mostl