Governance & Institutions

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Civic Charter

Repression of civil society is on the rise all over the world. The charter aims to support civil society organizations as activists throughout the world, to advocate for their rights and freedom of action, and to demand government guarantees.

When you write about Africa, make sure to always include sad and starving characters, advises Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainana in his famously ironic essay “How to write about Africa”, which takes aim at Western prejudices. In the same way that everyday laughter has been excluded from all-too-familiar depictions of the continent, African humour and satire as a form of social and political engagement remains underexplored.

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The results of Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index, released this week, hold mixed news for SA. We are not the most corrupt country on earth, but a short way beneath us the slide becomes extremely slippery.

Darth Vader
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Shrinking – closing – no space: Governments across all continents villainize civil society actors. Where does their sense of threat emanate from?

The articles gathered in this edition of Perspectives capture the complex and plural ways in which Africans are attempting to use ICTs to democratise democracy on the continent, the challenges they face, and the valuable lessons learned.

Two former underground hip-hop turned TV stars are spoofing the Zanu-PF party with their show Zambezi News
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Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is notorious for several reasons. First, as a mouthpiece for the Zanu-PF party, whose 91-year-old president Robert Mugabe recently fell over at a press conference, causing a worldwide avalanche of memes and a more localised effort to suppress the original evidence. Second, for its appalling technical glitches. And, third, for its ingenious spoof by two Harare comedians, Comrade Fatso and Outspoken, who met on the underground hip-hop scene and are risking their lives to make some of the sharpest satire on the continent.

Parliament Buildings of South Africa, Cape Town
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This was initially prepared on the eve of the opening of parliament’s 2015 session.  At the time, our consciousness had been bombarded with phrases like ‘paralysis of parliament’ a ‘disgraceful moment in South African democracy’ and the need to restore the ‘dignity’ or ‘decorum’ of parliament.  These expressions and many more were a reaction to disruptions in parliament in 2014, unprecedented in South African parliamentary history, whether in the post-1994 era or in pre-democratic parliaments.

Land! This land is ours!

Despite making all the right noises, South Africa has done little to correct its legacy of dispossession....on Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. The debate is sponsored by the Centre for Law and Society and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Nomboniso Gasa

HBF partner, the Right2Know Campaign invites everyone concerned by the recent attacks on democracy in parliament to a candle light vigil on Thursday 19 February at 18h00 in the Central Methodist Church,Longmarket Street, Cape Town.

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