Un uomo impossibile.

Il sogno sudafricano ha perso la rotta 09.01.12

In un lungo articolo Time racconta come l'African National Congress abbia perso la sua spinta riformatrice e abbandonato la guida morale del paese, lasciando praterie a nuovi partiti e a più fresche idee democratiche di rinnovamento e riconciliazione.

I'm in Bloemfontein to measure that against reality. Because while South Africa has seen steady economic growth in the 17 years after apartheid, it has also experienced an abiding racial divide. That partition is expressed in enduring prejudice on both sides and persistent economic segregation. Remarkably, income inequality rose after apartheid ended: redistribution programs have mainly benefited a politically connected elite. Most whites and a few blacks live in the first world. But out of a total population of 50 million, 8.7 million South Africans, most of them black, earn $1.25 or less a day. Millions live in the same township shacks, travel in the same crowded minibuses (called taxis in South Africa) and, if they have jobs, work in the same white-owned homes and businesses they did under apartheid — all while coping with some of the world's worst violent crime and its biggest HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The ANC blames apartheid's legacy and, as party spokesman Keith Khoza describes it, "the reluctance of business to come to the party." But 17 years is almost a generation. The government's failure to transform South Africa from a country of black and white into a "rainbow nation," in Archbishop Desmond Tutu's phrase, means black poverty is still the key political issue. A second, related one, however, is the ANC's dramatic loss of moral authority. At 93, Mandela is still among the most admired people on earth. But his party has become synonymous with failure — and not coincidentally, arrogance, infighting and corruption. Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and, at 80, still the nation's moral conscience, encapsulated South African political debate last year when he came out of retirement to give two speeches. In the first he asked whites to pay a wealth tax in recognition of their persistent advantage. In the second he called the ANC "worse than the apartheid government."

[...] As the Arab Spring showed, ruling parties that fail to distinguish their interests from those of the nation may also not spot their approaching fall. And the signs of the ANC's decline are there. The party is fragmented. Its support peaked at 69% at elections in 2004 and fell to 61% at local elections in 2011. And in December it lost three previously safe seats in local by-elections. Meanwhile, the DA is growing. Its support rose from 1.7% in a general election in 1996 to 16.7% in 2009, when it also took Western Cape province, and to 23.8% in 2011. Zille says her ambition is to take two more provinces in the next general election in 2014 and the government in 2019. Like any other politician, she wants power. But she insists that removing the ANC is essential if South Africa is to finally enjoy genuine democracy. "Loyalty is a great trait, but if you are to hold political leaders to account, you can't be loyal to a political party," she says.

In a previous life, Zille was an antiapartheid journalist. Her ultimate goal, she says, is to make good on Tutu's vision of a Technicolor nation. But in South Africa's black-and-white present, Zille is only too aware that she has a "melanin deficit." Hence moves by the DA to recruit to its leadership a black-struggle legend of its own: Mamphela Ramphele, a former World Bank managing director and long-standing ANC critic. If the name is unfamiliar, that's because Ramphele never married her partner: Steve Biko.

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