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Very often, when 16 June is discussed or commemorated, the painful experiences, sacrifices and contributions of the young Black women of the 1976 generation in the fight against the white supremacist education are largely downplayed (mentioned in passing), or completely erased and silenced.
It is as though 16 June was the sole initiative of the prominent male students like Tsietsi Mashinini and Khotso Sethloho only (and of course,  the first boy victim, Zolile Hector Peterson); as though no Black women were involved at all in the planning meetings and the subsequent protest on that fateful day and weeks after.

The names and identities of young women rarely appear even when victims of that 16 June massacre are evoked in public dialogues, intellectual discourse or media reports. These Black women are continuously rendered invisible by the entire system; they simply don’t exist; they are not regarded as worthy subjects of his-story.

The judgment has been handed down on Helen Zille, leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance, muzzling her from any party related communications in future. She said that colonialism wasn’t all bad. Her tweet was insensitive but true, the backlash furious and nonsensical. Why? I blame black guilt, which I understand very well, because I’m white.

The old way
‘I grew up in Rhodesia,’ I said out loud recently, whilst taking a walk with my son (he’s 35, I’m 69).
His face soured.
‘Why do you have to say that? Why can’t you say Zimbabwe?’
‘Because they’re not the same thing. Rhodesia was different from Zimbabwe. I never lived in Zimbabwe. Rhodesia is where I grew up.’
There was a tense silence.
‘Why do I still identify with Rhodesia?’ I wondered. ‘Why do I hold onto some old imperialist identity? Is there really a difference, and is that difference important enough to insist on, out loud, in the face of all the damage colonialism has done?’
Rhodesia and colonialism were wrong. Agreed. But why not talk about them? In fact, in a country reeling from a poverty crisis that is only escalating, and will tear this nation apart if something meaningful is not done (and soon), how can we not talk about them?
Because colonialism is not over, not by a long shot. That ‘wrong’ history is repeating itself.

Fiscal space is big right now. It was an important part of the OECD’s policy prescriptions in last year’s Economic Outlook and was high on the World Bank President’s agenda at this year’s Spring Meetings in Washington. It also featured in discussions at the 2017 Forum on Financing for Development in May. Yet the term has a different meaning depending on whether it is applied to a developed or a developing country, and it doesn’t appear to resonate with policy makers at a national level.

So what does fiscal space mean for developed economies? The OECD and IMF view the concept in terms of long-term debt sustainability. By this approach, fiscal space is interpreted as the distance between actual debt levels and a theoretical higher level of debt that is nonetheless safe. Fiscal space suggests how much wiggle-room national governments have to increase growth-enhancing spending, such as infrastructure investment, without raising taxes. This is important in the current context of a sluggish global economy where monetary policy has done all it can to support growth and the pressure is thus on fiscal policy and structural reform to propel the recovery.

States should control corporations across national borders to protect communities from the negative impacts of their activities, UN human rights experts have said in an authoritative new guidance * on the Obligations of States parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in the context of business activities.

“States should regulate corporations that are domiciled in their territory and/or jurisdiction. This refers to corporations which have their statutory seat, central administration or principal place of business on their national territory,” the experts of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural rights say in the guidance*, officially termed the General Comment, published today.

The development of Africa has once again been subject of discussions of the G7 and G20 summits this year in Italy as well as in Germany. In their minds they are occupied with the question of how to address the “root causes of irregular migration” of tens of thousands of Africans to Europe. For both Italy and Germany, it is a question of facilitating investments by their business companies in Africa to create jobs with the illusion of being able to guarantee decent work to the 350 million young people aged 15 to 24 who populate the continent. Ironically, it was the same governments who, through the international financial institutions (IMF and World Bank) and through their Club of Creditor Countries (Club de Paris), pushed African countries to austerity programs called “adjustment” which have hitherto impeded the creation of viable jobs for African youth. It is hard to believe in the good faith of these new saviors of Africa who struggle to find a solution to the unemployment of theirs in Europe.


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