Reading Suggestion-1

Article Name: Leaders like Zuma may be doomed. But they fight every inch of the way
Author Name: Martin Kettle
Source: The Guardian
Category: Politics

Summary for this article:

The article focuses on the dubiousness of politics and political failure giving emphasis on the Former South African president Jacob Zuma and briefly on the future of Theresa May.

The author starts with how political outcomes always have a corner of doubt and uncertainty amongst them thus making people with power try so hard to hold on to it and why resignations are almost always messy and acrimonious.

Political failure is relative rather than being absolute. The author feels that failure can be dodged and deferred like the case of Theresa May while some fought till the end like Zumba to evade it. The attempt to remove an elected leader is the most dangerous challenge that any democracy can ever face and Zuma-style ousting doesn’t always happen when or how it should, or tidily. Such moments matter the most in democratic politics. The author gives various examples to prove his point.

He concludes by saying that Ramaphosa would not have launched his challenge if he lacked the numbers in the party and parliament. But the element of uncertainty at such moments should never be understated as things can go wrong anytime. He further gives the example of various men who went through the same situation as Zumba, fought till the end but lost to failure as nothing is certain in politics.

Words to learn from this article:

Compelling: evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way
Inevitable: certain to happen; unavoidable
Fatalistic: relating to or characteristic of the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable
Epitaph: a phrase or form of words written in memory of a person who has died, especially as an inscription on a tombstone
Pessimist: a person who tends to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen
Nuance: a subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound
Futile: incapable of producing any useful result; pointless

Reading Suggestion-1: Click to read the full article

Reading Suggestion-2

Article Name: Three Keys to a New South Africa
Author Name: Fred Phaswana
Source: Project Syndicate
Category: Politics

Summary for this article:

This article focuses on how South Africa has been mistreated during Jacob Zuma’s rule; it’s current state and the 3 factors New ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa must work on to bring South Africa back on track .

The author starts with how finally Jacob Zuma has resigned as South Africa’s president following the ANC’s withdrawal of support. The author states that the challenges that Ramaphosa will face are almost as daunting as those Mandela confronted.

During Zuma’s rule, there was eminent corruption and other malaise within the state owned enterprise thus weakening SA’s regional and international standing. The first challenge that Ramophosa has to face to turn around this pitiful state of SA is to restore the faith in the country’s rule of law. Secondly, the author states that Ramaphosa’s government should improve the relationship between the state and the SOE’s. And finally, the government needs to invest heavily in the education sector for the overall development of the country.

The author concludes that South Africa is a small country, but with the right reform-minded leadership, it can reassume its regional role as an economic and political powerhouse.

Words to learn from this article:

Mandate: an official order or commission to do something
Daunting: seeming difficult to deal with in prospect; intimidating
Euphoria: a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness
Malaise: a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or unease whose exact cause is difficult to identify
Reinvigorate: give new energy or strength to
Staggering: continue in existence or operation uncertainly or precariously
Egregious: outstandingly bad; shocking

Reading Suggestion-2: Click to read the full article

Reading Suggestion-3

Article Name: The Secret behind One of the Greatest Success Stories in All of History
Author Name: Gareth Cook
Source: Scientific American
Category: Behaviour and Society

Summary for this article:

The article discusses briefly about Steve Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now where he argues that we live in the best of times; elucidates us how it has been better than the time before and that must remain devoted to reason and humanism if this good time has to continue.

The author starts with stating the book emphasises that the people of Earth today are better off now than we have ever been and if we fail to understand this we would jeopardise this very progress. The author interviews Mr. Pinker in this article. When the author inquires that why this world doesn’t seem to be in a good state, Mr. Pinker replies that Improvements are gradual and not much to look at. There’s a market for gloom. Thus people who predict doomsday get their share of publicity while those who believe that the world is getting better no one pays heed to them.

Secondly, Mr. Picker explains to another question that there is no time when pundits don’t say that we are in crisis. They just list all the worst problems taking place anywhere in the world, and things will look direr than they ever have. He states that the past decades were much more economically, socially and financially unstable than today.

The author concludes that (through the explanations given by Mr. Pinker) that it’s not that we shouldn’t be “concerned” about new problems, as if human improvement were driven by a guardian angel or a fairy godmother, but it’s precisely because people are concerned that progress can happen. He finds his hopes in rationality as it continues to be valid regardless of whether people believe in it and the only thing binding together everything is our common humanity which can help us to protect this better world.

Words to learn from this article:

Backsliding: relapse into bad ways or error
Profound: having or showing great knowledge or insight
Dystopian: relating to or denoting an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one
Pollyanna: an excessively cheerful or optimistic person
Pan-gloss: a person who is optimistic regardless of the circumstances
Pundit: an expert in a particular subject or field who is frequently called upon to give their opinions to the public

Reading Suggestion-3: Click to read the full article

[i]
[i]