Editor's note

Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe for 30 years until he was deposed in 2017, has died. He was 95 years old and had been battling ill health for some time. His death has elicited mixed reactions: some have paid tribute to Mugabe the pan-Africanist and liberation hero, while others consider him a “monster” who failed his people. Roger Southall reflects on Mugabe’s complex, contested legacy.

The past week has seen a wave of attacks on foreign-owned businesses in three South African cities. Other African governments have responded with official condemnation. There’s even been some retaliatory violence – several South African companies and the country’s embassy in Nigeria were closed because of attacks. Steven Gordon examines the attitudes that drive anti-immigrant sentiment among many South Africans.

Thabo Leshilo

Politics + Society Editor

Top Stories

Robert Mugabe during his swearing-in ceremony in Harare, 2008. The former Zimbabwean president has died aged 95. EPA-EFE

Robert Mugabe: as divisive in death as he was in life

Roger Southall, University of the Witwatersrand

Where should we place Mugabe among the pantheon of African nationalists who led their countries to independence?

Violence directed against migrants from elsewhere in Africa flares up frequently in South Africa. Kim Ludbrook/EPA

What research reveals about drivers of anti-immigrant hate crime in South Africa

Steven Gordon, Human Sciences Research Council

Beliefs about the role played by foreign nationals in South Africa clearly influence how people think about anti-immigrant hate crime.

Politics + Society

Lessons from the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda, 25 years after the genocide it failed to stop

Samantha Lakin, Clark University

Learning from what actually worked during the United Nations' infamously ineffective 1994 peacekeeping mission in Rwanda may save lives in the future.

Kashmir: how Modi’s aggressive ‘Hindutva’ project has brought India and Pakistan to the brink – again

Abdullah Yusuf, University of Dundee

Roughly translating as 'Hindu-ness', Hindutva reframes the majority religion more as an identity, stoking tensions and intolerance of Muslims.

South African teachers switch languages in class: why policy should follow

Michael M. Kretzer, Rhodes University

A much more flexible and open teaching and language policy would help teachers and pupils to enable a meaningful learning environment in a multilingual and diverse classroom setting.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe: a man whose list of failures is legion

David B. Moore, University of Johannesburg

Robert Mugabe's years of playing one group off against the other to favour himself finally wore too thin in 2017.

Science + Technology

Genetic engineering and human-animal hybrids: how China is leading a global split in controversial research

David Lawrence, Newcastle University

A growing international divide over cutting-edge medical research could worsen predatory practices, medical tourism and health inequality.

How buildings in Johannesburg could benefit from green roofs

Anne Fitchett, University of the Witwatersrand

South Africa needs to develop low-cost housing solutions that are inherently comfortable and environmentally sustainable. Green roofs could be part of these solutions.