Historians reviewing the recent short span of history, the past 50 years, or even the longue durée, over 200 years, would agree that national liberation movements fit into a larger pattern of historical change that has not yielded a fundamental break with colonialism and, in the case of South Africa, with apartheid as well.
The movements have brought more of the same, or even degeneration, to their societies. Southern Africa has a litany of examples but President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is considered a classic case of revolution derailed by its own leadership.
|There is a groundswell of opposition to Jacob Zuma’s tight control of the presidency and his increasingly autocratic rule. Photo: Hanna Brunlöf|
One would have expected the oldest national liberation movement in Africa, with its intergenerational experience and strong traditions, to have prevented a single individual from substituting for the nation, the state and the party. Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle inaugurates South Africa's Zimbabwe moment – Mail & Guardian