AFTER THE RAPTURE HOW TO MAKE AFRICA ROAR
On a chilly and cacophonous June night, as hundreds of thousands of his compatriots celebrated the hosting of a great sporting tournament, a young black South African friend found himself in an argument with two white policemen. Words led to blows. He staggered home shaken and thoroughly cynical about the supposed new national spirit so enthusiastically promoted by the world's media.
The organisers of the football World Cup can relax: the 2010 fairy tale is intact. This fracas was at the end of the 1995 Rugby World Cup. But the moral of the story endures. Then, the world delighted in “rainbow” South Africa after Nelson Mandela, a year into his presidency, embraced the sport of his apartheid oppressors. His gesture did help to bond Afrikaners to the fledgling nation, but South Africa soon found itself again wrestling with the challenges still hobbling its potential: socio-economic inequalities; 30-40 per cent unemployment; and the tendency of the ruling African National Congress to conflate party and state. In short the joy was ephemeral and the hangover acute.
Now, once again, South Africa is on a high. There is talk of a turning point for Africa, of the vanquishing of Afro-pessimism and even that the continent's long-derided “lion” economies may finally attract a hard look from investors. At a lunch for fund managers, attended by the ever-ebullient President Jacob Zuma, a Zambian businesswoman all but broke down as she told him of her pride as an African in the tournament. “When we fall we fall together, when we stand together . . . ” she said. The audience burst into applause.
These have been thrilling weeks. South Africa has been more united than ever, far more so than in 1995 or at the first democratic elections in April 1994. The processions of fans to stadiums have had a flavour of the Mediterranean Passeggiata. There was none of the edginess that usually marks gatherings in one of the world's more violent societies.
But, inspiring as this World Cup has been, should investors see South Africa as the conduit to the next great frontier? A prominent Asian visitor was very impressed by the country's infrastructure. But what of the leadership, he asked? Will it lead?
Mr Zuma struck the right tone in his lunch address. Africa should be a new “node of global economic growth” and no longer be seen as a “permanent recipient of aid”. But he now needs to make some brave decisions if South Africa is to help the “lion” economies roar, and the World Cup is not to be an evanescent dream.
In recent years, South Africa's economy has been utterly outstripped by the “southern” giants of China, India and Brazil. It is not just that the ANC needs to apply the same dedication to basic services that it has to building stadiums. It needs fundamental reform: it needs to confront the party cliques who see government as a route to enrichment; it needs to be more open to business; it needs to rethink the economy.
With its economy accounting for 27 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa's gross domestic product, South Africa rightly aspires to be the continent's hegemon. Yet when analysts speculate about the hot emerging markets of the future they tend first to mention Nigeria, with its 170m people. It is not just that the commodity-dependent South African economy is one-dimensional. It also lacks Nigeria's entrepreneurial dynamism. Partly this is the fault of apartheid which kept most business in white hands. But the ANC retains an apartheid-era distrust of the private sector.
足球世界杯(World Cup)的组织者无需紧张：2010年的童话完美无损。上述争吵发生于1995年橄榄球世界杯(Rugby World Cup)即将结束之际。但是这个故事在今天仍有启迪意义。当时，纳尔逊•曼德拉(Nelson Mandela)在就任总统一年后，接过了种族隔离制度压迫者留下的这项赛事，全世界都为“彩虹国度”南非感到高兴。曼德拉的姿态确实有助于羽翼未丰的南非获得南非白人的支持，但南非很快发现，自己又面临一系列仍然束缚着其潜力的挑战：社会与经济的不平等；30%-40%的失业率；执政的非洲人国民大会（African National Congress，简称非国大）将党国混为一谈的倾向。简言之，欢乐是短暂的，纵情后的头痛是严重的。
这是激动人心的几周。南非前所未有地团结，远远超过了1995年或者1994年4月份的首次民主大选。走向球场看台的球迷队伍，有一种地中海漫步 (Mediterranean Passeggiata)的味道。你丝毫见不到任何急躁的行为——作为世界上暴力文化较浓厚的社会之一，急躁常常是南非各种集会的标志性特征。