(The Root) -- South African President Jacob Zuma began his remarks to the press corps this week with an ode to two men.
The first, predictably, was former President Nelson Mandela, a 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon and Nobel Peace laureate who is seen as the father of modern South Africa. The second man he named, however, is a telling indicator of where Africa's economic powerhouse sees itself -- and how the nation seems to be resisting the tide of American hegemony. It was Cuban Communist leader Fidel Castro.
In that speech earlier this week, Zuma hailed Castro as "one of the revolutionary icons in the fight for freedom and equity in a world free from oppression, exploitation and prejudice."
South Africa has historically leaned left -- Zuma and his cohorts in the African National Congress refer to one another as "comrade," and the ruling coalition counts the South African Communist Party as an important member of the bloc. But one of the reasons South Africa may be pulling back from Western hegemony could be that it wants to distance itself from the current global economic crisis. Also, South Africa pushed for its finance minister to head the World Bank and clearly feels that its economic voice is not being heard.
The United States has close and positive diplomatic relations with South Africa, but this hasn't always been the case. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney dredged up that fact from the past in the third presidential debate, when he equated Iran with apartheid-era South Africa.
"I would also make sure that their diplomats are treated like the pariah they are around the world," he said, referring to Iran, "the same way we treated the apartheid diplomats of South Africa."
"There is a little bit of ideology of not letting the North tell us what to do, but at the same time, our main trading partner is the European Union, and the U.S. is an extremely important trading partner," said Tom Wheeler, a former South African diplomat who works as a research associate with the South African Institute of International Affairs.
Wheeler -- whose first diplomatic posting was to Washington, D.C., in November 1963, the same month as the Kennedy assassination -- said that the ANC leaders' love of Cuba is a relic of the struggle against apartheid. Cuba sided with the anti-apartheid movement by fighting against South Africa's apartheid government in Angola in the 1970s.
"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins
All I can say is "don't bite the hand that's TEACHING you self-sufficiency tools." Remember....the white govt abandoned South Africa....as many European countries to other African nations DID when they SUCKED all the riches and resources outta the INVADED country and being there was no longer necessary or warranted. They left the natives to fend for themselves without social knowledge or business sense ....and a lotta "natives" didn't know what to do after massa was gone. As why it has taken them sooooooooo long to overcome the social rape and cultural dismantlement and come out of the darkness of a backward civilization. So if I were them....I'd just keep my mouth shut and LEARN all I can....until I can not only take care of myself i,e, the country becomes self-sufficent....but the country itself can be a serious competitive part of the international trading process. Get in the game first. Cuz Europeans including America is good about betraying a new ali. Oh...and everything I hear the world order....I can't help but think about the socalled illuminati folks seem to be afraid of but shouldn't be. Just sayin.