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This Politician's Responses During an 'Aljazeera' Interview Has South Africans Cringing

The former South African National Assembly speaker showed just how divorced the ruling party is from the country's reality.

Baleka Mbete is the former speaker of the South African National Assembly and a member of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Earlier this year, she stepped down from her position after having been long accused of not holding former president Jacob Zuma accountable for a number of alleged crimes during his tenure. Most recently, she was interviewed by Aljazeera's Mehdi Hasan about several South African political issues. However, her responses were admittedly cringe-worthy, more so among South Africans who feel that the ruling party is divorced from the many realities facing ordinary South Africans.


Mbete was invited to be a part of a conversation that probed into whether the ANC has betrayed the legacy left behind by the late anti-Apartheid veteran, Nelson Mandela. Her responses, which oftentimes failed to answer the questions directly, have left many in genuine disbelief and others angered by her clear lack of accountability.

READ: Why Are We So Obsessed with Making a God of Nelson Mandela?

When asked about the corruption allegations against Zuma's, particularly the infamous R250 million (USD 23 million) he used to build his personal homestead Nkandla, and the swimming pool reportedly built as a fire prevention feature, Mbete responded by saying, "Part of the challenge that we have is that part of that (Nkandla) is actually government property, which is actually for purposes on ensuring that there are health facilities for the president to be looked after or any of the staff." With regards to the 330 000 South Africans who died from not receiving anti-retroviral drugs as result of former president Thabo Mbeki's HIV/AIDS denialism, Mbete said that, "You're saying as if we plotted that people must die, we didn't. Health Committee worked...It wasn't for me, I was busy."

Asked about the tragic Marikana Massacre which saw 34 miners being gunned down back in 2012 and how no arrests had been made as yet, Mbete said quite casually that she would have to go and "look into it". The interview has left many South Africans further despondent about the ANC and their governing of the country.



Watch the full interview below:

Has South Africa's ruling party betrayed Mandela's legacy? | Head to Head www.youtube.com

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Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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