Battle for the middle ground | Opinion & Analysis

THE African National Congress (ANC) is marching against itself. It is quite astonishing, Achille Mbembe laughs. The philosopher, based at the University of the Witwatersrand, is talking about the ANCs reaction to last months student march to Pretorias Union Buildings, when it exhorted its members to join in. "If you go to Pretoria, you are going against the government. You are going against the ruling party, but then the ANC turns around and says, we are with you, it is quite astonishing."

His laugh is quite the opposite of President Jacob Zumas. Mbembes might be described as the philosophers laugh, one of wonder: how can this be? There is also a tone of exasperated surrender: I have