Discussions with people working in the arts,business, academia and civil society in South Africa. Listen to new perspectives on issues of race, gender and transformation.
The host, Nicholas Claude, is a freelance writer based in Johannesburg. He was born in London, raised in Durban and returned to South Africa in 2010 after living in Stockholm for thirteen years.
To support the podcast go to https://www.patreon.com/voicesfromsa
Edgar Pieterse-Director, The African Centre for Cities, UCT
Edgar Pieterse is the director of the African Centre for Cities (ACC) based at the University of Cape Town. He is an urbanist trying to make sense of the sociology, politics, geography and economics of the modern African city.
We discussed the often difficult relationship between city governments and national governments, and the ongoing struggle for policy and financial control o the trajectory of cities across sub Saharan Africa.
Edgar feels it is necessary for the social, political and economic debate at all levels to be re-imagined if cities are to fulfill their true potential as hubs of national economic growth and social transformation.
The bulk of our discussion focused on the Integration Syndicate project hosted by the ACC in Cape Town. The project was an attempt to encourage a different kind of thinking about the issues of urbanisation in Cape Town and which "explores the obstacles and solutions to social-spatial integration in the Cape Town metropolitan region." The five provocations that came out of the sessions, and which we touch on, are relevant to many large cities on the continent.
Download The Integration Syndicate book here (https://www.africancentreforcities.net/isbook/) .
Edgar also had some fascinating and imaginative things to say about the South African taxi industry and how the foundations for an integrated transport infrastructure already exist.
At the heart of our discussion was the shadow the generational impact of apartheid planning casts over our cities at so many levels and that require an imaginative and multidimensional response, beyond a simple residential mix, to resolve.
Goapie Kabe grew up in Soweto, Johannesburg. A school outing to a live recording of a TV show planted a seed that eventually led her to changing plans and studying film instead of engineering. Over the last ten years she has developed into one of South Africa's leading cinematographers.
We had a great chat about the art of film-making, the role of the cinematographer in interpreting a director's vision, the importance of pre-production, her love of shooting hand-held, and always having a plan, or three when on set.
We also spoke about light and framing, cameras and lenses. She loves technology and so we also spoke about the evolution of camera and lens technology.
And we spoke about her role as an inspiration to young black women wanting to break into the film industry.
Vedhant Maharaj is an architect and head of the Rebel Base Collective architecture and design studio.
I recorded this interview a few weeks back and it then got put on the back-burner as I wanted to have some guests on to look at the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on South Africa. Please listen to the recent episodes with Michael Sachs and Prof Shabir Mahdi.
Vedhant and I chatted about a number of things including how he became an architect, the state of South African architecture, the difficulty and challenges of changing the legacy of spatial apartheid and the policy landscape of that debate.
We also spoke about the evolving technology of sustainable materials and design, and touched on his masters thesis design project that confronted the challenge of infrastructural and ecological design in the political and religious context of modern India.
Prof Shabir Madhi-Professor of Vaccinology, and Director of the MRC Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit at University of the WitwatersrandWits.
Prof Madhi has recently co-authored a number of articles about South Africa’s route out of lock down. So we chatted about how this might look. He emphasised the need for people to observe distancing protocols in order to slow the rate of corona virus infection.
We chatted about the changing understanding of how corona virus acts on people. We also discussed the reasons behind the lock down and how some of these reason are no longer valid according to Shabir. Another issue we touched on is the spread of corona virus via asymptomatic carriers.
Shabir is also concerned that many decisions taken by government have not been based on science.
We also discussed the global bun-fight around developing a vaccine. It is clear that we will have to live with corona virus as best we can until a vaccine is available and this process might take years.
Read Shabir's latest article about South Africa's COVID-19 strategy here (https://theconversation.com/south-africas-covid-19-strategy-needs-updating-heres-why-and-how-138368) .
Michael Sachs-Adjunct Professor, Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, University of the Witwatersrand.
My guest this week is Michael Sachs, Adjunct Professor at the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand .
He has recently co-authored a number of articles looking at the impact of COVID-19 on the South African economy. The articles have not only looked at the health response to the pandemic but also suggested paths to ending the lock down.
I spoke to Michael on May 11, 2020.
We had a far ranging discussion that looked at the economic impact of the pandemic on South Africa. There are tough times ahead for sure. We chatted about the role of a state that has been incapacitated over the last decade or more, we discussed the separate roles of the Treasury, the Department of Trade, Industry and Economic Development and the Reserve Bank in this crisis. Michael also suggested the government will be forced to take some tough decisions on its role and involvement in certain sectors of the economy such as aviation and energy.
Erik Esbjörnsson-Africa correspondent, Dagens Nyheter(Swedish national daily newspaper)
Erik Esbjörnsson has been the Africa correspondent for the Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter since 2010. He spent six years in Nairobi before moving to Johannesburg in 2016.
He had an inkling things were about to change in South Africa and Zimbabwe and wanted to be closer to the action.
Over the last decade he has traveled all over the continent. His most recent reporting, before the travel ban came into effect, was from Sudan. A few months ago he tracked down his great-grandparents home in Goma while on assignment in the DRC.
Of course we spent quite a bit of the podcast discussing a number of different aspects to the corona virus pandemic including the South African government's response, and the seeming breakdown in international solidarity that the pandemic has provoked.
We also chatted about Erik's childhood and his path to journalism, as well as some of the highlights of his decade recording events across Africa over the last decade.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Sensitive, nuanced questions
Nicholas Claude is a wonderful interviewer. Start with that mellifluous Durban accent, which seems to infuse the approach and the very questions he asks of his subjects. He is adept at creating an atmosphere in which they, I imagine, feel truly comfortable opening up to him. And we’re the beneficiaries. Bravo, sir!
This guy knows how to handle an interview. He keeps them digging deeper into their lives and doesn’t overwhelm us with his opinions or leading questions.
I learned a ton and will keep listening.