Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
18 April 2007

Snuki Zikalala (Phd Bulgaria) on Zimbabwe

Journalist and comedian, Marian Thamm, has written a bitingly funny column for News24 on the musings of Snuki Zikalala, SABC Managing Director of News and Current Affairs about Zimbabwe. Apparently Zikalala announced on the radio on Sunday that the SABC was planning to open a bureau in Zimbabwe in a few months’ time to tell the “real” story of Zimbabwe.

Thamm takes up the story:

At one point Herr Doktor Zikalala told Maggs; “For instance people say there is no food in Zimbabwe but this is nonsense. There is food, it’s just very expensive.”

I waited for Maggs to burst out laughing, as I was about to do. And then my stomach turned as I realised Zikalala was serious, dead serious.

As serious as he was in 2005 after the Zimbabwean parliamentary elections when he told members of his SABC editorial staff that it was a lie that there was no food in Zimbabwe and that people were starving.

Back then he had told a group of journalists (and others) that during his stay in the Sheraton in Harare he had in fact enjoyed freshly baked bread rolls daily. He added that he had also had no trouble ordering Johnny Walker Black and even mineral water. And what’s more, he insisted triumphantly, he had even got room service to bring it to him so what the hell was everyone on about?


Of course, that’s the answer, why didn’t we think of it! Zimbabweans just need to ring the Sheraton’s room service to solve their food problems!

This in the same week that the Star kicked off a series by journalist Fiona Farr, who snuck into Zim as an Irish tourist over the Easter holidays. Talking to ordinary Zimbabweans Farr found deprivation, fear and a deep terror of speaking out against ZANU-PF or Mugabe. “It’s on the brink of becoming a second Ethiopia,” she told Gwala with regard levels of starvation, particularly in rural areas.

I wonder what Zikalala thinks is the “real” story about South Africa and to what extent he thinks the mainstream media gets it wrong?
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