There is some media interest in the country. Britain's The Financial Times, sent their editor, Lionel Barber, on a 12-day safari to Southern Africa to key in on today's challenges. He notes that, "20 years after the end of apartheid (sic, its been 24 years) South Africa and its neighboring states, Namibia and Angola, face a second great struggle for progress, prosperity and a better future for all."
He spent a day on the campaign trail with President Jacob Zuma, observing, "he can jive like a man half his age to the old liberation favorite, "Umshini Wami," (In English ("Bring Me my Machine." FT doesn't mention that this is an oft-repeated recycled act for JZ, as he's known, because he beat that song to death in his first campaign five years ago after forcing Thabo Mbeki out of ANC politics.
In the end, Barber is upbeat about South Africa's economy, perhaps because it is still dominated by a multinational privately-controlled Mineral Energy Complex (MEC) with many of its components now based in London. "If you believe in Africa," he writes. "You have to be positive about South Africa."
This is hardly the message of Zuma's many detractors want to hear, including many responding to the call of ex-ANC stalwarts to Vote No by soiling their ballots in a protest against pervasive corruption. Soon, as the South African election in early May comes into focus, the rest of the world media will descend and give local events their attention for a day or two.
Already, a long time supporter of the ANC, the Mail & Guardian newspaper is urging readers to vote selectively, writing:
"A narrower margin means the opposition tightens the leash on the ruling party, and can make better use of legislatures to stem government excesses" Never before has the M&G urged readers to oppose the ANC. But we do so now because the aim is to make the ANC more effective and responsive."
Big Media loves conflict and this story is perfect, complete with bitter charges of looting state resources, defections by long-time supporters of Mandela's ANC and frustration in every community as the economy seems unable to eradicate poverty and distribute wealth fairly. The newspaper that brags "We Live in Financial Times" hints at this downside but is driven by the positive hopes of investors and financiers.
The truth is that 20 years after the country's first multiracial election in which the ANC promised "A Better Life For All," many there are living worse lives with poverty today as deep as it was then. It's not all the fault of South Africans but reflects a globalized world economy that benefits the 1%, far more than the 99 %, especially in traditionally poor and formerly colonized countries.
At the same time, activists in West have also moved on -- or moved off - this political stage as economic failures erupt in Europe and America, and as young people get stuck in a student debt bubbles, with little time for global economic justice movements.