« Previous | Main | Next »

Crystal clear

Nick Ericsson Nick Ericsson | 11:09 UK time, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Never underestimate the importance of a crystal ball in putting together a quarterly Africa magazine. It's indispensable actually. How else would we be able to produce over 70 pages of fresh copy that would sit on newsagent shelves easily for three months and not go stale? It's a challenge, but not impossible. Seriously, we couldn't have forseen that Tunisia and Egypt would have exploded in the way they did (much like Kenya in early 2008). It's just unfortunate that our press day was the end of November. But that doesn't mean that the January to March issue doesn't have anything to say to the situation in Tunis and Cairo. The key I suppose is getting hold of top writers, which - mostly - I think we do. Critically, their words repeatedly inform or 'speak to' current events. For instance, we have a brilliant piece by the Zimbabwean author and writer Blessing Miles-Tendi on prospects for the unity government in his country. He writes that despite all the stresses, strains and figurative firing above heads, Mugabe and Tsvangirai are not about to give up on each other. Crudely put, despite massive personal differences and a relationship that has completely broken down, in an election year they need each other.
So what do the rumblings of revolution in North Africa have to do with Zimbabwe? Well, there's been a lot of speculation recently about the chances of this spreading south. Some say it can't happen in Zimbabwe. Others point to Zimbabwe's neighbour Mozambique as an example of what mass protests can achieve.
Perhaps what the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have shown definitively is that for change to happen, the political opposition is not as critical as it may think it is. An important lesson for a year ahead that will see so many elections on the continent.
What do you think? And, just a final note - our April to June issue will be packed to the brim with North Africa.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.