Newsletter 05/11

Nelson Mandela's testimony on democracy in Africa

Nelson Mandela, in his autobiography, “A Long Walk to Freedom” recalls the democratic upbringing he had as a young teenager, attending meetings of the tribe to which he belonged in Thembuland.

This testimony highlights the findings of consensus while western democracy created the lines of separation, sometimes abrupt, between majority and minority.

" Everyone who wanted to speak did so. It was democracy in its purest form. There may have been a hierarchy of importance among the speakers, but everyone was heard: chief and subject, warrior and medicine man, shopkeeper and farmer, landowner and labourer. People spoke without interruption and the meetings lasted for many hours. The foundation of self-government was that all men were free to voice their opinions and were equal in their value as citizens. (Women, I am afraid, were deemed second-class citizens.) "


" The meetings would continue until some kind of consensus was reached. They ended in unanimity or not at all. Unanimity, however, might be an agreement to disagree, to wait for a more propitious time to propose a solution. Democracy meant all men were to be heard, and a decision was taken together as a people. Majority rule was a foreign notion. A minority was not to be crushed by a majority. "

South Africa joins the group BRIC now called BRICS

The 3rd meeting of leaders of BRIC, the group formed by Brazil, Russia, India and China, was held at Sanya in China on 14 and 15 April 2011. President Jacob Zuma said it was a great honour for South Africa to have been invited to join the group which will now be known as BRICS; he said that this invitation indicated the great respect with which South Africa was held at the international level. This integration of South Africa with BRICS opens a large market for South African goods and services markets and offers a number of opportunities in its industrial policy as well as for its economical growth. The field of cooperation in the framework of the BRICS structure is large and can be carried out on more diverse projects.

Creation by Mozambique, with the help of Brazil, of a plant for the production of Anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs

This plant, located at Matola, will come into operation in 2012. It mainly receives financing from Brazil. Its initial investment was sponsored by the previous president Lulu da Silva. The first public manufacture of ARVs in Africa, allows for the treatment of the AIDS virus with low costs. It is estimated that 11.50% of the population of Mozambique are infected by HIV. The ARVs produced on site can easily be distributed among all the countries of southern Africa.

Moratorium in France and South Africa on the exploration for shale gas reserves

The decision of the French Minister of Interior on 11 March 2011 has suspended all exploration relating to shale gas reserves especially that undertaken at Larzac.

The principal of precaution contained in the Environmental Charter, and having Constitutional value, is applicable here.

In France, as in South Africa, it will raise significant risks of pollution on the water tables and underground waters. Expert reports are now being considered.

Great increase in the number of tourist to South Africa in 2010

About 8 million tourists visited South Africa in 2010. This is an increase of 15% in comparison to 2009.

According to information given by the South African Minister of Tourism, only 309 000 tourists, being 4% of the total, came specifically for FIFA's Soccer World Cup. This alone, therefore does not explain such a strong growth, which can be equally divided through the entire year.

This high figure appears to be very promising for the future of the South African tourism industry.

The South African anthem singing of freedom and unity, in honour of 27 April, Freedom day

The South African languages celebrated in the national anthem include in successive verses: Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Afrikaans and English:

Nkosi Sikelel'iAfrika (God bless Africa)

Nkosi Sikekel'iAfrika Maluphakanyasw'uphondo


Yizwa imithandazo yethu Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho


Morena boloka sechaba sa


O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho

O se boloke (O se boloke) sechaba sa heso

sechaba sa South Africa,

South Afriea

Uit die blou van onse hemel

Uit die diepte van ons see

Oor ons ewige gebergtes

Waar die kranse antwoord


Sounds the call to come together

And united we shall stand

Let us live and strive for freedom

In South Africa our Land